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Sharks grind out win in Florida
SJ takes 2-1 shootout decision
2/18/15 - By Mike Lee -

The road warrior San Jose Sharks scratched and clawed their way to a 2-1 shootout win in South Florida on Thursday night, capturing their 20th road victory of the season. San Jose and the Florida Panthers played one of the tightest games of the season, trading goals in the 3rd period in the low scoring affair. The Sharks beat Panthers goaltender Al Montoya with a pair of goals in the shootout to beat the second best team in the Eastern Conference.

The Panthers have vaulted to the top spot in the Atlantic Division with physical play and a focus on quality defense. The Sharks were exposed to both, generating little in the scoring chance department through the first 49 minutes of the game. San Jose was limited to 7 shots in each of the first two periods, do in part to Florida's smothering defense.

The Panthers did their homework, taking away the Sharks cycle with coverage on trailing players throughout the game.

San Jose had a single shot on goal in the 3rd period, but that shot found its way past Montoya.

The Panthers had taken a 1-0 lead early in the 3rd period, when Jaromir Jagr ent a put-back chance past Martin Jones. Vincent Trocheck carried the puck up the left wing boards before cutting across the slot, with Jagr overloading on the right side. Trocheck tried getting a shot off, but Tomas Hertl blocked the shot with his stick blade. The puck kicked out to Jagr who easily deposited his 18th goal of the season.

San Jose answered with a textbook display of puck movement and vision. Joe Pavelski started a tic-tac-toe sequence by hitting Joe Thornton behind the net from the right corner. Thornton saw Logan Couture cutting across the slot from right to left, hitting him with a touch pass from behind the right post. All Couture had to do was receive the puck and whip it home, as Montoya failed at the shot with no effect.

The Sharks 4th ranked power play unit had four chances to convert on the evening, but they failed on each attempt. An interference penalty to Panthers winger Garrett Wilson almost turned disastrous for San Jose after the Sharks surrendered a pair of short-handed breakaway chances for the Panthers.

Jones was solid on those chances, and came up even bigger in the overtime when he stoned Trocheck on another breakaway chance up the right wing. The Sharks netminder flashed the leather to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

The Sharks found their legs in the later half of the 3rd period, which carried over into that overtime frame where they dominated Florida. Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic just missed ending the game with a shot that rang off the crossbar in the fist minute of the extra session.

San Jose out-shot Florida 2-1 in the overtime, but that statistic didn't do the Sharks justice. The Panthers had to do everything to keep the puck out of their net as San Jose went on a tear.

Florida wouldn't be as lucky in the shootout. Joonas Donskoi and Pavelski both slipped pucks past Montoya via the five-hole. Nick Bjugstad snapped a shot past Jones, but the Panthers failed on chances by Jonathan Huberdeau and Olli Jokinen.

Game Notes:

The Sharks lost Tommy Wingels to an apparent injury midway through the 1st period when his skate was clipped, sending him head first into the boards in front of the Panthers bench. The Sharks winger skated off on his own power, but he did not return to the game.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer made a change in the 3rd period that led to his team's only goal in regulation. DeBoer elected to stack his top line with centers, moving Couture onto a line with Thornton and Pavelski. That moved proved critical, as the Sharks got the tying goal that would eventually lead to overtime and the shootout.

Defenseman Brendan Dillon was a scratch once again as he nurses his upper body injury.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
SJ 0 0 1 0 1 2
FLA 0 0 1 0 0 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 1, FLA, Jagr 18 (Trocheck, Smith), 2:23. 2, SJ, Couture 6 (Thornton, Pavelski), 8:56.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - FLA: Huberdeau (miss), Bjugstad (goal), Jokinen (miss). SJ: Donskoi (goal), Pavelski (goal).
1st period - Marleau, SJ (interference), 18:16.
2nd period - Kampfer, FLA (hooking), 4:51; Wilson, FLA (interference), 9:44; Kulikov, FLA (high sticking), 18:45.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - Trocheck, FLA (slashing), 3:32.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 20 19
FLA - Montoya 17 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 7 7 1 2 17
FLA 11 4 3 2 20
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
FLA 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Pavelski
Jaromir Jagr
Logan Couture
Referees: Dwyer, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Murchison, Racicot.
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