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Sharks gift Panthers a win in Jumbo's return
3rd period and OT all Florida
3/15/2022 - By Mike Lee

The grand Joe Thornton reunion finally happened on Tuesday night at SAP Center. The Panthers seemed destined on winning it for Jumbo. The Sharks seemed destined to lose it as a gift to their former heart and soul. The Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit in the 3rd period, tying it on a Frank Vatrano goal, then winning it when the Panthers centerman blasted his second tally of the game in overtime.

It was nothing new for the Sharks. A lack of attention to details cost them, and a lack of firepower took them out of it when it mattered the most.

The Sharks jumped on a Panthers penalty 8:19 into the game after Radko Gudas was sent off for hooking. San Jose was working the puck in the Florida zone when Erik Karlsson ripped a shot that caught Gustav Forsling in the ankle. That hobbled the Panthers defenseman, essentially giving the Sharks a 5-on-3 advantage. Tomas Hertl gathered a feed from Timo Meier behind the end line before sliding a pass to Logan Couture out front for a put back that lifted over goaltender Spencer Knight's right shoulder for the power play goal.

San Jose went back on the power play 2 minutes later when Aleksander Barkov, but this time things went in the opposite direction. An errant pass by Meier in the offensive zone turned into a 2-on-1 break for Florida, which ended with Jonathan Huberdeau picking a corner from point blank range to beat James Reimer who was making his return after a four game absence.

Nicolas Meloche made it a 2-1 Sharks lead with 6 minutes to play in the opening period. The defenseman snapped a shot from between the circles, beating Knight to the low stick side.

The Panthers served up a series of golden opportunities to the Sharks in the middle period, by taking 3 more penalties that resulted in power play chances. 7 minor penalties were handed out to the two teams in the period.

Florida tied the game 3:29 into the 3rd period after Logan Couture decided that a lazy backhand clearing attempt was the right choice in his own zone. It wasn't. Noel Acciari intercepted Couture's meek attempt at a clear, then sent it to Frank Vatrano, who pumped a shot from the slot past Reimer for his 9th goal of the season.

Timo Meier missed on a chance from the left side on the ensuing faceoff.

Mason Marchment, son of former Shark Bryan Marchment, appeared to put the Panthers up at 8:52 of the period, but the Sharks successfully challenged for goaltender interference. Marchment plowed into Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who in turn fell into Reimer, so the goal was overturned.

Florida out-shot San Jose 16-3 in the 3rd period and probably should have won it in regulation, but a series of shots off the post and some timely goaltending from Reimer allowed San Jose to earn the lone point for reaching the extra period.

That 20 minute stretch just exposed the obvious. The Sharks aren't in the same class as Florida, and are miles from contending for a playoff spot. Florida was just a dominant team that turned on the jets when they needed to.

Vatrano ended it in the overtime period with a shot from the slot that Reimer never had a chance to stop.

Game Notes:

* Joe Thornton received a lengthy standing ovation before Tuesday's game. Only 12,276 were in attendance to see Thornton's return, which is more than 5,000 less than capacity.

* Erik Karlsson was a -3 on the night. Logan Couture was a -2.

* Florida finished the game with 34 shots, 19 missed shots, and had 25 shots blocked.

* Sergei Bobrovsky was supposed to start the game in net, but he needed 17 stitches to close his upper lip after taking a puck to the face while sitting on the bench in Los Angeles on Sunday.

* Thornton had several family and friends in attendance, including his wife Tabea.


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1 2 3 OT T
FLA 1 0 1 1 3
SJ 2 0 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Couture 20 (Hertl, Meier), 8:19, (pp). 2, FLA, Huberdeau 19 (unassisted), 11:21, (sh). 3, SJ, Meloche 2 (Hertl, Vlasic), 13:58.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 4, FLA, Vatrano 9 (Acciari), 3:29.
Overtime - 5, FLA, Vatrano 10 (Forsling, Reinhart), 1:11.
Shootout - SJ: (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss). FLA: (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss).
1st period - Gudas, FLA (hooking), 7:10; Barkov, FLA (high sticking), 10:20.
2nd period - Gadjovich, SJ (roughing), 6:19; Marchment, FLA (roughing), 9:38; Meloche, SJ (roughing), 9:38; Bennett, FLA (holding), 11:11; Weegar, FLA (delay of game - puck over glass), 12:50; Huberdeau, FLA (roughing), 15:14; Barabanov, SJ (roughing), 15:14; Weegar, FLA (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:26.
3rd period - Cogliano, SJ (tripping), 11:37.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
FLA - Knight 26 24
SJ - Reimer 34 31
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
FLA 7 9 16 2 34
SJ 11 12 3 0 26
Power Play Conversion
FLA 0 of 2
SJ 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Frank Vatrano
Tomas Hertl
Mason Marchment
SAP Center - 12,276
Referees: #34 Brad Meier, #31 Michael Markovic . Linesmen: #93 Kilian McNamara, #60 Libor Suchanek.

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