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Tough lesson for Sharks at SAP
Sharks get schooled on managing 3rd period leads in 5-3 loss
11/14/2023 - By Mike Lee

If the 2023-24 NHL season is supposed to be a series of lessons for the young Sharks, Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Florida Panthers will go down as the one that covers how not to play with a lead. San Jose grabbed an unlikely 3-2 lead in the 3rd period, then immediately went on tilt and allowed the Panthers to turn the final 10 minutes of play into a painful dose of reality. Chalk it up to a young team that forgot to finish the game after grabbing a lead. A harsh loss, but hopefully one they don't forget.

It was almost scripted how quickly the game turned. The Sharks seemingly rolled up into a ball and curled up into a corner as the Panthers dismantled them.

The game was back and forth for the first two periods, which was uncharacteristic for a Panthers team that many are picking to win the Stanley Cup this season.

Ryan Lomberg scored his 2nd goal of the season 12:34 into the contest on a shot from the right dot. Defenseman Ty Emberson skated between Lomberg and the Sharks goal, but he couldn't impede the shot that sailed over MacKenzie Blackwood's right shoulder.

Mike Hoffman introduced himself to Sharks fans by scoring his first goal in teal at 15:58. The former Panther was lurking outsied the right post when a Jan Rutta shot hit Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz and carromed over to Hoffman. The Sharks centerman gathered the rebound and lifted a shot top shelf past Stolarz for the 1-1 tie.

Blackwood may have felt out of place, having only faced 8 shots in the opening period. his 40.1 shots per 60 minutes of play leads the NHL, so it was unusual to see such a pittance of rubber thrown his way.

Givani Smith took a roughing penalty 11:29 into the 2nd period, which setup a go-ahead goal by Sam Reinhart on the ensuing power play. Oliver Ekman-Larsson put a shot on goal from the point, but Blackwood could not control it. Reinhart was perched at the top of the crease and was able to easily slide it home for the 2-1 lead.

Former Shark Steven Lorentz was called for hooking at 5:40 after he was forced to haul down William Eklund on a scoring chance in front of the net.

San Jose capitalized on the power play when Tomas Hertl redirected a Fabian Zetterlund feed from the doorstep. Zetterlund threw the puck to Hertl from the bottom of the right circle as Hertl lurked out in front of the left post.

A delayed penalty on Florida a minute later allowed the sharks to take the lead. Luke Kunin wound up with the puck at the top of the crease, then jammed home his 3rd goal of the season to give San Jose the 3-2 advantage.

The Sharks inability to stay out of the penalty box was the death sentence for a team that doesn't have the talent on special teams to stay out of trouble. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for tripping at 9:28, and the Panthers would take advantage 30 seconds later when Cater Verhaeghe scored his 7th goal of the season.

Florida grabbed the 4-3 lead 63 seconds later when Kevin Stenlund tipped an Uvis Balinski shot from the high slot. Stenlund got a stick blade on Balinski's shot, deflecting it on a downward trajectory, slipping between Blackwood's pads.

Reinhart appeared to give the Panthers a 2-goal lead moments later, but the Sharks challenged the play for offside. San Jose won the challenge, which kept the game at 4-3 and prevented a penalty to San Jose.

The Sharks pulled Blackwood with 2:45 to play. That allowed Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov to score his 6th on the empty net.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks placed LW Oskar Lindblom on the injured reserve with a lower body injury.

* San Jose recalled LW Danil Gushchin, who played in 2 games for San Jose last season where he recorded a goal and an assist. Gushchin tried a fancy between the legs shot in the 2nd period, but it sailed high.

* Jan Rutta recorded his 1st point as a Shark with the primary assist on Mike Hoffman's goal. It took the defenseman 16 games to get on the scoreboard for the first time in teal.

* The 2 goals allowed on the power play drops the Sharks penalty kill to 69.4% which ranks 31st in the league. Only the Minnesota Wild's 63.5% is worse. The inability to kill penalties has killed the Sharks this season. They are averaging 1.07 power play goals allowed per game, which is also 31st in the league.

* San Jose blocked 22 shots in the game. Florida blocked 5, which is more indicative of the fact that the Sharks don't generate many offensive chances to begin with. Florida out-shot San Jose 31-22 in this one, which was actually a light night for MacKenzie Blackwood.


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1 2 3 T
FLA 1 1 3 5
SJ 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, FLA, Lomberg 2 (unassisted), 12:34. 2, SJ, Hoffman 1 (Rutta, Carpenter), 15:58.
2nd period - 3, FLA, Reinhart 12 (Ekman-Larsson, Tkachuk), 12:09, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Hertl 3 (Zetterlund, Granlund), 6:11, (pp). 5, SJ, Kunin 3 (Granlund, Gushchin), 7:21. 6, FLA, Verhaeghe 7 (Tkachuk), 10:06, (pp). 7, FLA, Stenlund 4 (Balinski, Lorentz), 11:09. 8, FLA, Barkov 6 (Verhaeghe, Reinhart), 17:$7, (en).
1st period - Bennet, FLA (tripping), 8:02; Labanc, SJ (tripping), 9:47.
2nd period - Smith, SJ (roughing), 11:29; Cousins, FLA (tripping), 19:41.
3rd period - Lorentz, FLA (hooking), 5:40; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 9:28.
Shots Saves
FLA - Stolarz 22 19
SJ - Blackwood 31 27
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
FLA 7 9 16 32
SJ 9 7 6 22
Power Play Conversion
FLA 2 of 3
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Sam Reinhart
Mikael Granlund
Mathew Tkachuk
SAP Center - 10,108
Referees: #31 Michael Markovic, #14 Trevor Hanson. Linesmen: #57 Justin Johnson, #74 Trent Knorr.

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