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Sharks come back to earth
SJ falls flat in 4-2 loss to Panthers
3/14/19 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks play 15 games in the month of March, and had won their first six entering play on Thursday night. The Sharks looked like a team that is letting that heavy schedule take its toll as the Florida Panthers took a 4-2 decision from San Jose who returned home to start a three game home stand. The Panthers came back from a 2-1 deficit by scoring three straight goals on a Sharks team that ran out of gas in the second half of the game.

Every pass was off. Every bounce seemed to go the other way. With tired legs and an opponent that was playing loose, the deck was stacked against San Jose. The Panthers are far enough out of playoff contention that they cleared the decks at the trade deadline, so they had nothing to lose.

The Sharks looked like the Sharks for 20 minutes, then the wheels fell off.

Melker Karlsson staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead 7:22 into the contest by snapping a shot from the bottom of the right circle. Karlsson carried the puck up the right win, but was checked to his knees by defenseman Keith Yandle. The Sharks forward regained his feet, before whipping a shot that beat rookie goaltender Sam Montembeault.

Former Sharks Jamie McGinn tied it 4 minutes later after the sharks failed to clear their own zone. The Panthers pressed with a strong forecheck, that ended when Aaron Ekblad sent a shot in from the right point that Martin Jones knocked down, but couldn't control. McGinn was in the vicinity as the rebound landed in front of him for the put back goal.

Kevin Labanc helped San Jose reclaim the lead with 5:24 remaining in the period. The Sharks forward one-timed a Justin Braun feed from the top of the left circle, scoring his 13th goal of the season. Braun was setup on the right point, where he sent a diagonal pass to Labanc. The shot knuckled on Montembeault, who allowed it to cross in front of him and into the net.

Dryden Hunt was gifted his 2nd career goal 1:25 into the 2nd period by Jones who simply misjudged the path of the puck. Dryden uncorked his shot from the high slot that Jones made little attempt to defend. The puck tucked in between Jones' right shoulder and the left post to knot the game at 2-2.

A massive disparity in penalty calls for Florida would catch up with the Sharks later in the period. San Jose allowed 5 power play chances, including a too many men infraction at 18:26 of the period. The Panthers 2nd ranked power play would eventually bite the Sharks.

Mike Hoffman converted on the San Jose bench minor with a blast from the blueline that evaded Jones. The goal would give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish.

The Sharks didn't do themselves any favors by allowing the Panthers to take a 2-goal lead 8:16 into the 3rd period. Frank Vatrano collected a Hoffman feed en route to the net, before lifting a shot past Jones. Brent Burns didn't help by giving up on the play, floating behind Vatrano with stationary skates.

A late power play by the Sharks failed to pull them any closer and the game ended, as did the win streak.

Game Notes:

* Evander Kane revealed over social media that his unborn daughter had passed away last weekend. Kane's wife miscarried the couple's daughter Eva at 26 weeks. Kane is expected to rejoin the team on Saturday.

* The Panthers are 7-1-0 in their last 8 games at SAP Center.

* The Panthers have a league worst -21 goal differential in the 3rd period, but they have scored the Sharks 5-0 this season.

* Melker Karlsson is one goal from matching his career high of 13 set when he was a rookie in 2014-15.

* Logan Couture would probably like to forget this one. Couture was a -2 with 6 penalty minutes and did not record a point. He was also 2 of 6 on faceoffs.







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Scoring
1 2 3 T
FLA 1 2 1 4
SJ 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, M. Karlsson 12 (Vlasic, Heed), 7:22. 2, FLA, McGinn 4 (Ekblad, Hawryluk), 11:45. 3, SJ, Labanc 13 (Braun, Dillon), 14:36.
2nd period - 4, FLA, Hunt 2 (Brouwer, Sheahan), 1:25. 5, FLA, Hoffman 32 (Yandle, Barkov), 18:49 (pp).
3rd period - 6, FLA, Vatrano 22 (Hoffman, Trocheck), 8:16.
Penalties
1st period - Couture, SJ (tripping), 0:18.
2nd period - Braun, SJ (hooking), 7:35; Trocheck, FLA (slashing), 9:48; Couture, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 10:54; Bench, SJ (too many men), 18:26.
3rd period - Hawryluk, FLA (interference), 1:41; Trochek, FLA (tripping), 18:53.
 
Goaltending
Shots Saves
FLA - Montembeault 28 26
SJ - Jones 27 23
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
FLA 7 15 5 27
SJ 8 8 12 28
Power Play Conversion
FLA 1 of 5
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Aaron Ekblad
Mike Hoffman
Melker Karlsson
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,388
Officials
Referees: Kozari, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Alphonso, Berg.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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