SAN JOSE -- Somebody forgot to tell rookie Tomas Hertl that Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith owns the Sharks. Or maybe it was the language barrier.
Either way, two goals by the 19-year-old forward from the Czech Republic early in the first period sparked San Jose to a 4-1 victory Saturday night over the Coyotes to keep the Sharks undefeated in this young season.
"Language barrier maybe," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of what may have helped Hertl beat Smith. "But to score on the first shot against him, that kind of gives him a little more confidence that you can beat him. He certainly had our number so we're happy with that."
Patrick Marleau added his second goal of the season shortly after Hertl's pair to stake the Sharks to a 3-0 lead that held up until Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat San Jose goalie Antti Niemi late in the second period. Logan Couture scored into an empty net for the final Sharks goal with 24.6 seconds remaining in the game.
Hertl has a perpetual smile on his face, and it was even wider after the game. That might have been because the goals came on his girlfriend's birthday and she, along with the rookie's mother, had traveled from the Czech Republic to see him play.
That was his girlfriend, in fact, that Hertl was pointing to in the crowd after he scored.
"It's crazy, I'm very happy," Hertl said in his limited English.
Hertl has shown quickly why the Sharks used the 17th overall pick to make him their first-round choice in the 2012 draft.
That his two goals came against Smith gave them added weight. The Coyotes netminder was 6-0-1 in his past seven starts against the Sharks and had a .985 save percentage in two games against them last season.
English skills aside, it didn't take Hertl long to communicate that he wasn't cowed by Smith's reputation as the rookie's first goal came on his first shot just 46 seconds into the game.
The play developed as defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic stopped a Coyotes rush through the neutral zone, then delivered the puck to Hertl as he was about to cross into the Phoenix zone.
"He was completely open," Vlasic said. "Their d-men changed, so I gave it up right away. Good things happen when you do that."
Hertl headed straight to the net before the Coyotes defense could recover, then shoveled a backhand shot past Smith.
The rookie's second goal came on a Sharks power play that came to life with two goals Saturday night after going 0 for 8 in San Jose's opening game.
This time, Hertl was simply in the right place at the right time, stationed in the slot where he could deflect Matt Irwin's shot from the blue line over Smith's glove at 7:23.
About five minutes later, the Sharks were on their second power play when the rebound of a shot by Joe Pavelski caromed to Vlasic, who put it on Marleau's stick just outside the crease.
"He was square right in front of me," Vlasic said of Marleau. "Patty scores 40 goals a year. I might as well give it to him, right?"
San Jose continued to dominate play in the second period before the Coyotes took advantage of a lapse that let an unchecked Ekman-Larsson fire a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Niemi at 16:47.
But the Sharks defense stiffened, allowing Phoenix just six shots in the third period while San Jose threw 17 pucks at Smith. The Sharks outshot the Coyotes for the game 51-23.
N.Y. Rangers (0-1-0)
at Sharks (2-0-0),
7:30 p.m. CSNCA