Instant Replay: Sharks complete comeback, blow past Panthers

Instant Replay: Sharks complete comeback, blow past Panthers


The Sharks fought back from an early hole and Tommy Wingels netted the game-winner in the third period in a 4-2 San Jose win in Florida on Thursday night.

In a 2-2 game, Chris Tierney took an offensive zone faceoff and Wingels corralled the loose puck. He stickhandled through defenseman Michael Matheson and cut to the net before sliding a backhand over the line at 8:53 for his second of the season.

The Sharks (8-6-0) improved to 2-0 on their season long six-game road trip.

Florida took an early two-goal lead, thanks to a couple goals from a former Sharks defenseman.

Jason Demers opened the scoring with a goal a little more than five minutes into the game. Martin Jones turned the puck over behind the net, and puck ended up on Demers’ stick at the top of the circle. His blast nicked Wingels’ stick before fluttering over Jones’ shoulder.

A little more than two minutes later, Demers poked home a rebound of a Jaromir Jagr shot at 7:26. Jagr avoided Paul Martin in the Florida offensive zone and put the puck off of Jones’ pad before Demers increased the Panthers’ lead to 2-0.

A great effort by Brent Burns cut the Florida lead in half. The defenseman got in front of a Keith Yandle slap shot, and tracked down the loose puck while plowing ahead. He held off Demers and drove the net, flipping it past James Reimer at 16:18 for his team-leading sixth of the year.

San Jose scored the only goal of the middle frame, courtesy of Joe Pavelski. Joel Ward hustled to a loose puck along the wall, shoveled it to Pavelski, and the captain flipped it over Remier’s glove hand at 1:53 to knot the score at 2-2.

San Jose improved to 6-5-5 all-time in Florida. The Sharks and Panthers meet once more on Feb. 15 in San Jose.

Logan Couture added an empty net marker with 56 seconds remaining in the game. It was his first goal in 11 games.

Special teams

The Sharks’ penalty kill remained strong, but their power play continues to scuffle in what was a limited special teams game.

San Jose was 0-for-2 with a man advantage, including 34 seconds of five-on-three time after consecutive penalties to Demers and Aaron Ekblad in the second period. The Sharks are 1-for-16 over their last five games on the power play.

Florida failed on its only advantage. The Sharks are 22-for-22 over their last nine games, and 28-for-29 in their last 11 on the PK.

In goal

Coming off of his first shutout of the season on Tuesday in Washington, Jones made 22 saves. He has started 13 of the Sharks’ 14 games.

Reimer took the loss with three goals allowed on 28 shot. He was facing the Sharks for the first time since signing a five-year contract with Florida in the offseason.

Reimer played eight games in the second half of last season for the Sharks, posting a 6-2 record, 1.62 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. He’s now 2-2-1 with Florida, sharing the net with Roberto Luongo.


The Sharks made no changes to their lineup from Tuesday’s game in Washington, as rookie Kevin Labanc remained in for his second career game.

Sharks coach Pete DeBoer is 10-3-1 against the team that gave him his first NHL head coaching job in 2008-09.

Florida’s Jussi Jokinen returned after missing nine games with a knee injury.

Up next

The Sharks will stay in the state of Florida, where they will play Steven Stamkos the Lightning on Saturday.

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 -- Seconds after almost costing the San Jose Sharks a game with a turnover, Logan Couture ended it with his backhand.

Couture scored 39 seconds into overtime after getting bailed out by goalie Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks won their season-high sixth straight game, 2-1 over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

"I was able to make a move on their guy," Couture said. "(Marc-Edouard Vlasic) did a good job of driving their backchecker back and I was able to go far side."

Couture's goal came at the end of an opening shift of the overtime that started with him losing the puck in his own zone, giving Jonathan Marchessault a chance alone in front. Jones got enough of the shot to stop it, and then Vlasic sent the puck ahead to Couture for the winning goal that moved San Jose within seven points of first-place Vegas with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Brent Burns also scored and Jones made 24 saves to help the Sharks open 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.

"For us to get a win tonight was important," captain Joe Pavelski said. "Plus, just plant that seed. If we stay hot, you never know, we might be able to catch them and get home ice. We took care of business tonight and we'll try to keep playing well."

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, although he helped earn a point that gave the expansion team 100 this season.

"It's impressive," forward James Neal said. "It's a great season for our guys. Guys came together real quick. A great job so far but we're not done yet."

The Golden Knights struck first on a pretty passing play early in the first period that ended when 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 carried the play in 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.

"We want to be playing really good hockey this time of year and heading into the playoffs. I think that's the goal," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Whether we would have won tonight or lost, I like how we played for most of the game, so that's what I'm concentrating on."

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 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.

"He's the main reason we got the point," coach Gerard Gallant said. "He looked comfortable."

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.