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Sharks put up 5 spot on Panthers
Rebound win for San Jose
11/5/15 - By Mike Lee -

The on again, off again Sharks clicked on Thursday night to rebound from their abysmal loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers at SAP Center on Thursday night. Five different players tallied goals for San Jose and backup goaltender Alex Stalock made 31 saves to earn his first win of the season. Rookie Joonas Donskoi had arguably his best game as an NHLer, scoring a goal, and adding what should have been a highlight reel tally if not for an offside challenge that negated a gem of a play by the youngster.

Florida was a team the Sharks needed to beat if they want to keep pace in the Western Conference, which is stocked with teams that never seem to lose. The road weary Panthers were coming off a shoot out loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night, and limped into San Jose with a mediocre 5-4-3 record.

"I liked our energy," said Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. "We had a good jump right from the start. We got the first two goals which was key. We wanted a good start and we did a lot of good things. Our special teams are still a work in progress. All that said, I really liked how we played."

The Sharks built an early lead then kept the Panthers at bay. Brent Burns opened the games scoring with a blast from the right point that beat Panthers goaltender Al Montoya. The goal was Burns' 4th of the season, but more importantly it gave San Jose the game's first goal, breaking a streak that has plagued the Sharks during their topsy-turvy October.

Donskoi scored his 2nd of the season 3 minutes later on a wild scrum in front of the Panthers net. The young foward tipped a Joe Pavelski shot that Montoya stopped, then followed up on a flurry of misses as bodies were flying around the crease by crashing the net and get his stick on the puck to punch it home.

"You fall behind 2-0 and then try to catch up," lamented Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant. "We didn't play our game tonight. We played a loose game and gave them too many opportunities. They could have had more than five goals."

Vincent Trocheck converted off a faceoff 88 seconds later grabbing a loose puck in the slot and whip the puck past a sprawling Stalock to cut the Sharks lead in half.

Patrick Marleau pushed the Sharks lead back to a pair of goals early in the 2nd period with a goal that was Bobby Orr-esque. Marleau grabbed a loose puck at center ice before storming in to the Panthers zone. The Sharks forward zipped around defenseman Alex Petrovic on the left side before cutting back across the slot and whipping a shot past Montoya's left pad. Marleau went completely horizontal as Petrovi tried to haul him down, but it wasn't enough to stop the goal reminiscent of Orr's famous Stanley Cup winning goal against the St Louis Blues.

The one big bruise on the Sharks evening was yet another goal allowed on special teams. Donskoi was sent off for interference at 13:26 of the period and Brandon Pirri capitalized with a power play goal. The Panthers centerman ripped a Brian Campbell feed with a one-time chance that got past Stalock in the blink of an eye.

"They have two good power-play units and you saw how quickly they can work," said Stalock. "They get the puck to the net in a hurry. We knew we needed to tighten up on our defensive zone draws. We did a great job with that in the third period and you saw the result."

Donskoi appeared to bag his second goal of the night late in the period, but it was overturned after the Panthers challenged and won on an offside infraction by Joe Thornton.

The Sharks answered with a little bit of resiliency by scoring moments later, when Nikolay Goldobin threaded a needle with a pass through the slot to Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the left side for a one-time chance that beat Montoya top shelf. The goal was Vlasic's second of the season, but the play was made by Goldobin's pass. That goal also came with a minute left in the period. It essentially buried the Panthers, who could muster nothing in the 3rd period.

Stalock was the model of consistency, by stopping 10 shots in each of the first two periods, then finishing things off with a perfect 11-fof-11 in the save department in the 3rd period. It was a moment of redemption for the netminder who had struggled in his two previous starts.

Florida had their opportunities in the 3rd period, aided by a pair of Sharks penalties early in the frame. The Sharks special teams held on to preserve the two-goal lead until the Panthers elected to pull Montoya with 2:50 to play in regulation.

Joe Thornton whiffed on a wide open chance on an empty-net opportunity, but Chris Tierney followed up with a shot from outside the blueline to push the Sharks 5th puck across the goal line.

"We looked like a very young hockey team tonight, not a mature hockey club, added Panthers captain Willie Mitchell. "San Jose has been to the playoffs a number of years. Teams like San Jose put pucks in the right places. It enables you to get a good forecheck. The result is you get yourself out of your own end."


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1 2 3 T
FLA 1 1 0 2
SJ 2 2 1 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Burns 4 (unassisted), 6:37. 2, SJ, Donskoi 2 (Pavelski, Thornton), 9:26. 3, FLA, Trocheck 5 (unassisted), 10:54.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 4 (Ward, Hertl), 3:46. 5, FLA, Pirri 2 (Campbell, Jokinen), 14:06, (pp). 6, SJ, Vlasic 1 (Goldobin, Wingels), 19:00.
3rd period - 7, SJ, Tierney 2 (Thornton, Burns), 18:54, (en).
1st period - Thonrnton, FLA (fighting major), 2:48; Haley, SJ (fighting major), 2:48.
2nd period - Kulikov, FLA (slashing), 10:47; Donskoi, SJ (interference), 13:26.
3rd period - Wingels, SJ (roughing), 1:33; Ekblad, FLA (hooking), 3:56; Dillon, SJ (tripping), 12:20.
Shots Saves
FLA - Montoya 31 27
FLA - empty net 1 0
SJ - Stalock 33 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
FLA 11 11 11 33
SJ 11 11 10 32
Power Play Conversion
FLA 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Joonas Donskoi
Tomas Hertl
Micheal Haley
Referees: Walsh, Chmielewski. Linesmen: Gibbs, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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