Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-3 matinee loss to Panthers

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-3 matinee loss to Panthers

The Sharks couldn't bring their winning ways back from the road to San Jose, losing 5-3 to the Florida Panthers in a Presidents' Day matinee. 

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was on the case, stopping 29 of 32 Sharks shots. San Jose cut Florida's lead to a goal two different times in the third period, but the Ice Cats pulled away and doubled their lead in both instances. 

Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' loss in their final home game before the trade deadline. 

Too little, too late

The Sharks entered the third period trailing by a goal. They allowed a Panthers goal before getting a single shot on net in the final frame, and Bobrovsky didn't have to make his first save until there was 6:37 remaining in regulation and Florida had a two-goal lead. 

Kevin Labanc -- on the power play -- and Timo Meier -- with goaltender Aaron Dell pulled -- got the Sharks within one, but San Jose never generated much of a third-period push at full strength. Florida ultimately held a 10-5 advantage in 5-on-5 shots and a 6-4 edge in 5-on-5 scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. 

The Sharks applied pressure after Meier's goal, but the push needed to come much sooner. The Panthers instead set the tone from the start of the third period onward, and Florida took two points as a result. 

True chemistry

Dylan Gambrell and Alexander True appear to be developing some solid chemistry. The pair were on the ice for a 5-on-5 Sharks goal for the third straight game, when True's forechecking allowed linemate Antti Suomela to set up Gambrell's second goal in as many games. 

Suomela left in the second period with an injury and didn't return, but Gambrell and True were strong together. The duo posted a 60 percent corsi-for percentage in 5:34 of 5-on-5 time, according to Natural Stat Trick, out-chancing the Panthers 4-2 during that time. 

True has played in just six NHL games, but he and Gambrell have brought the best out of one another in their short time together. It's worth keeping the pair together in the bottom-six once Evander Kane returns from his suspension. 

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End of an era? 

Monday was the Sharks' last home game before the trade deadline, and they could look much different when they next play in San Jose on Feb. 27. Pending free agents Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson could get shipped to Stanley Cup contenders in need of depth, but the real question is whether or not the Sharks will trade franchise legends Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. 

Both are 40 and nearing the end of their careers. Could the Sharks give them the Ray Bourque treatment, and trade them to a team with Cup aspirations? The Sharks want to be back in the mix in 2021, but this spring might represent the last real chance for the No. 1 and No. 2 selections in the 1997 NHL Draft to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in their careers. 

Thornton, for his part, told reporters Sunday that he didn't think Monday would be his last game as a Shark at SAP Center. The call should be Thornton and Marleau's alone, given all they've done for the franchise, and we'll know a week from Monday if they'll finish out the season -- and potentially their careers -- in San Jose. 

Sharks' Joe Thornton joined Hall-of-Fame company with 400 career goals


Sharks' Joe Thornton joined Hall-of-Fame company with 400 career goals

Programming note: Watch the re-air of Joe Thornton's 400th career NHL goal tonight at 8 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.

Joe Thornton picked a great time to notch his 400th career goal.

Back on Nov. 13, 2018, the Sharks welcomed the Nashville Predators to SAP Center, who led the NHL with 27 points at the time. At first, San Jose appeared to be more than up to the task, opening up a 3-0 lead in the first period, which easily could have been larger.

Then, it all started going south.

The Sharks were held scoreless in the second period while the Predators climbed all the way back to tie the score. Less than three minutes into the third, Nashville took its first lead of the night.

For the next 10 minutes of game action, it sure seemed like San Jose would end up kicking itself for blowing a three-goal lead. But then Joe Pavelski tied the score at 4-4 with a goal with just under seven minutes remaining. 13 seconds later, it was Thornton's turn to play the hero.

Before the Predators had a chance to catch their breath, Justin Braun found Marcus Sorensen with a stretch pass from San Jose's own defensive zone. As Sorensen broke into Nashville territory, he made a Thornton-like cross-ice pass to the former Hart Trophy winner, who promptly fired the puck into the back of the net to retake the lead.

The Sharks would hold on the rest of the way to secure the thrilling 5-4 victory over a conference rival, and while the two points surely came in handy, Thornton's 63rd career game-winning goal stood out for another reason.

It was the 400th of his career.

[RELATED: Why Couture thinks Jumbo would be bad quarantine partner]

Don't remember? Don't worry. This memorable game will be re-aired Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

While there have now been 99 players throughout NHL history to accumulate at least 400 goals, there are only 13 who have totaled at least 1,000 assists. By scoring the game-winner that night, Thornton became the 11th player in NHL history to accomplish both feats.

Of the 11 players included on that list, only Thornton and Jaromir Jagr have not been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Jagr called it a career in 2017-18, so it's only a matter of time until he joins the group. Thornton says he feels like he has multiple seasons left in him, but the same goes for him.

Why Logan Couture believes Joe Thornton would make bad quarantine partner


Why Logan Couture believes Joe Thornton would make bad quarantine partner

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has restricted most of us to our homes, as the country and world attempt to mitigate the drastic effects through social distancing. Hopefully, you're surrounded by the people that make you feel better about the situation, and not ones that drive you up a wall. However, it's likely you didn't have much of a choice as to who you've been quarantining with. In times like these, safety takes priority over preference, and rightfully so.

Sharks captain Logan Couture has remained in the Bay Area ever since the NHL season was indefinitely paused on March 12. He is holed up with his girlfriend, who apparently makes for a much better quarantine partner than one of his longtime teammates.

As part of a video call with the NHL and a few Pacific Division rivals Friday morning, each of the participants was asked which of their respective teammates they would most and least want to be quarantined with, and why. Couture had no trouble coming up with his answer for the latter.

"The least one's easy," Couture said. "[Joe Thornton]. I don't know how he's surviving right now. The guy has ADD, for sure. If he can't go to the rink, he's lost."

Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf, who has played with Thornton on Team Canada, agreed with that assessment.

"That's 100 percent true," the longtime Sharks nemesis chimed in.

"I don't know what he's doing," Couture continued. "I've texted him a couple times throughout this just to check in on him, see how he's doing."

At last update, Thornton, 40, insisted he has multiple seasons left. As in, plural. Maybe he is going a little stir crazy.

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As for who Couture thinks would make for a great quarantine partner, he took a bit longer to arrive at an answer, but ultimately landed on someone who, technically, isn't his teammate.

"I'll say Barclay Goodrow, even though he was just traded," Couture responded. "I think him and I have the most in common, and I still count him as being a Shark. He's only been in Tampa for a little bit, so he'd be my guy."

It has been just over a month since Goodrow was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a first-round draft pick, nearly half of which has occurred since the league halted play. He and Couture spent five-plus seasons as teammates in San Jose, so one would imagine they know what makes each other tick.

Best of luck to you and yours as we each do our part to help flatten the curve. If you're anything like Thornton, hopefully there's a socially-distant rink nearby.