Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers

Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers


SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski’s two late goals forced overtime, but Jonathan Huberdeau converted in overtime to push the Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Sharks on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

Pavelski scored twice in the final three-and-a-half minutes of regulation to salvage a point for San Jose.

The first came when he was looking for Kevin Labanc cutting towards the net, and the puck directed in off of Michael Matheson’s stick at 16:39, to make it a 5-4 score.

Then, with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, Pavelski fired in his 20th of the season from between the circles with just 38 seconds remaining, finding a puck that ricocheted off the post. Roberto Luongo was hurt on the play, and former Sharks backup James Reimer was forced to relieve him in net.

In overtime, Huberdeau slipped in a pass from Aleksander Barkov to give the Panthers the extra point at 1:38. Huberdeau pressured David Schlemko into a turnover deep in the Sharks' defensive zone before ending the game.

The Sharks have just one win in their last six games (1-1-4), and remain four points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division.

Nick Bjugstad broke a 3-3 tie early in the final frame, chipping in a pass from Alex Petrovic at 2:15 after Timo Meier turned it over in the defensive zone. It was his second of the night, after he began the night with just two goals in 26 games.

Barkov gave Florida some breathing room at 12:41, pushing over a dish in the slot from Jaromir Jagr. The play began when Petrovic kept a Chris Tierney clearing attempt in at the blue line.

Some early defensive miscues by the Sharks helped the Panthers jump to a 3-1 lead.

At 4:20 of the first period, Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring on a two-on-one, finishing off a pass through the seam from Reilly Smith after Brent Burns was caught too high in the neutral zone.

Burns tied the game just 31 seconds later on a wrist shot from high in the zone, but Bjugstad got behind Brenden Dillon and finished off a breakaway at 5:35.

Barkov’s one-timer at 7:12 gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s defensive zone giveaway preceded Barkov’s 12th goal.

San Jose got one back before the end of the first, when Joe Thornton and Joel Ward each got a piece of a Burns low wrister at 15:25. Ward was credited with his seventh, making it a 3-2 score after the first.

The Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting Florida 14-3 and getting the equalizer on a Vlasic score at 6:27. The defenseman’s blast deflected off of Barkov and through Luongo.

San Jose could have had more, but Pavelski couldn’t convert on a penalty shot midway through regulation, and a pair of power plays were squandered.

Burns, with one goal and one assist, is now tied for second in the NHL with Sidney Crosby, just two points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

The Sharks and Panthers split their two-game season series.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play, and are just 2-for-21 in their last six games.

The Sharks have five of the NHL’s 30 penalty shots this season, and are 1-for-5 (Melker Karlsson, Jan. 24 at Winnipeg).

Florida was 0-for-2 on the power play. San Jose is 7-for-7 on the PK in its last three games.

In goal

For the second time in his last three starts, Jones gave up three goals in the first period. He was pulled last Thursday in Boston, but stayed in against the Panthers, finishing with 16 saves on 22 shots.

Luongo made 29 saves on 34 shots before he had to leave the game. Reimer turned away both shots he saw, and recorded the win.


The Sharks honored forward Patrick Marleau in a pregame ceremony for recently scoring his 500th career goal. Marleau also became just the 10th player in NHL history to appear in 600 consecutive games.

Jagr, the oldest player in the league, was celebrating his 45th birthday. His assist on Barkov’s third period goal was the 1900th point of his career.

Former first round pick Nikolay Goldobin was recalled by the Sharks on Wednesday morning, but did not play. He still has yet to make his NHL season debut.

Up next

The Sharks conclude the season series with Arizona on Saturday in Glendale. The last place Coyotes are 3-0-1 in the season series, while San Jose is 1-2-1, with its lone win coming in overtime on Nov. 29.

A home game with Boston on Sunday is the Sharks’ final before their bye week from Feb. 20-24.

Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


Couture scores in OT, helps Sharks make up ground on Golden Knights


SAN JOSE -- Logan Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime to send the San Jose Sharks to their season-high sixth straight victory, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

Brent Burns also scored and Martin Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks move within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season. San Jose also opened a four-point lead over third-place Los Angeles in the Pacific Division with a game in hand as the Sharks close in on home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Golden Knights, who were kept in the game by a sterling performance by goalie Malcolm Subban. He stopped 42 shots but it wasn't enough for Vegas to come up with the win.

After Jones made a big save early in the overtime, the Sharks came up with the puck in transition and Couture beat Subban with a backhand for his 31st goal of the season.

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when Jonathan Marchessault found Tatar cutting through the slot ahead of Justin Braun. Tatar skated past Jones and backhanded the puck into the open net.

Vegas has been dominant when getting off to a lead, posting an NHL-best 31-5-1 record when scoring first heading into this game. But the Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting the Golden Knights 18-4 and getting the equalizer on a blast by Burns from the point after another strong shift by San Jose's fourth line.

But Vegas managed to keep it tied despite the lopsided shot totals, killing off a four-minute penalty to Colin Miller and another late power play that started late in the second.

That penalty carried over until the third period and the Sharks got 25 seconds of a two-man advantage after Brayden McNabb was called for throwing his stick but still couldn't get anything past Subban.

The Golden Knights squandered a power-play chance later in the period when Colin Miller was called for cross checking with the man advantage. That nearly led to a power-play goal for San Jose but Subban appeared to get a piece of a shot from in close to Joe Pavelski to keep the game tied at 1.

NOTES: Vegas G Marc-Andre Fleury didn't make the trip to San Jose with an undisclosed injury but is expected to join the team for Saturday's game in Colorado. ... Burns became the 15th player to play 500 career games with the Sharks.

Golden Knights: Visit Colorado on Saturday.

Sharks: Host Calgary on Saturday.


How the Sharks can catch the Golden Knights and win the Pacific


How the Sharks can catch the Golden Knights and win the Pacific

About a month ago, the Sharks appeared locked into the Pacific Division's second, third, fourth, or fifth spot. At the end of trade deadline day, they were 12 points back of the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights, and only two points up on the fifth place Calgary Flames.

24 days later, thanks to an 8-2-0 record over the last 10 games (second-best in the NHL), San Jose's still in second place. Now though, those margins are eight points and 11 points, respectively. 

The latter's pretty much locked the Sharks into a playoff spot, while the former's created a path for a late run at the Pacific Division crown. Beginning Thursday night, they will play the Golden Knights twice over both team's final nine games. 

What does the path look like to the Sharks' first division title since 2011? To start, they'll have to beat the Golden Knights twice in regulation to even have a shot. 

That is the foundation of any run at the Pacific's top spot. If the Sharks win both remaining games in regulation, they'll trail the Golden Knights by four points, leaving aside results against other teams for now.

They have to win in regulation, however. A win in overtime or the shootout on Thursday would only cut the gap to seven, and a subsequent win in regulation would leave it at five. Two losses, in any situation, would create a gap of 10-12 points, which would be nearly impossible to overcome this late in the season. 

One point doesn't seem like a lot, but this late in the season, it makes a world of difference. A five-point gap means they'll need to earn six more than the Golden Knights in those other seven games, while a four-point gap means they'll need to earn five in order to pass them. 

The simplest way to five extra points, is for the Sharks to have a record that's two wins and an overtime loss better (2-0-1) than the Golden Knights in the seven games where they don't play each other. That's impossible if Vegas earns at least 10 points in those seven games, so a 5-2-0 or 4-1-2 record would ensure a division banner raising in Sin City.

Taken all together, then, the Golden Knights' 'magic number' is 10 points. Even if the Sharks win on Thursday, their path to a Pacific title remains difficult, if not improbable. 

If a season with an expansion team leading their division has taught us anything, though -- it's that improbable is not impossible.