|@ Sharks (7-6-0)||2||2||1||5|
The game started off with a prompt fight between Shawn Thornton and Micheal Haley. Thornton got a couple of good shots in and could easily be argued as the winner of the fight. Welcome back to the lineup Shawn Thornton. Nonetheless, they each got 5 minute fighting penalties. However, Brent Burns lit the lamp first for the Sharks and gave San Jose a one goal lead. Then, after a questionable play by the Sharks, Joonas Donskoi was able to score to give the Sharks a two goal lead halfway through the first period. After review due to possible interference, the play was indeed ruled a goal. Oh man, here we go. Now, this is not to say that the Panthers have not had any good shots so far because they have had a few, but they seem to be falling victim to the same issue that they faced last night. If you don’t shoot often, and I mean really often, you are putting your team at risk of falling behind. It seems that right after I typed that, the Panthers began to listen. Vincent Trocheck scored right off the face off to cut the Sharks’ lead to one. The goal was unassisted. Now, the Panthers began to generate some offense. However, this offense was not enough to tie the game up. The Panthers did end up tying the Sharks in shots on goal at 11, but the Sharks led in goals 2-1.
The Panthers started the second period with a lot of energy. Yet, the Sharks once again came out on top and Patrick Marleau scored an admittedly incredible goal. The issue that the Panthers seem to be having is the fact that they are able to get a few shots on goal but they are unable to keep the puck in the offensive zone for long enough periods of time. The rest of the first half of the period yielded little action but then the first minor penalty of the game was called and of course, it was on the Panthers and more specifically, Dmitry Kulikov for slashing. Thankfully, the Panthers were able to kill the penalty to prevent the Sharks from widening their lead. Then, the Panthers found a stroke of luck when Joonas Donskoi got called for interference right after the Kulikov penalty ended. This stroke of luck proved to be true as Brandon Pirri, who had been very unlucky recently, sniped Stalock. Maybe Pirri is finally finding his stride for this season. The goal was assisted by Brian Campbell and Jussi Jokinen. Joonas Donskoi proved to be a very prevalent force on the ice after getting his second goal of the game to give the Sharks a two goal lead once again, or so we thought. Gerard Gallant challenged the goal because he said the Sharks were offside and after praying to the hockey gods, Gallant found that he was correct in thinking that the play was offsides and the goal was overturned. Now, it is time for the Panthers to take advantage of their recent luck and to tie the game up but of course, that did not happen at all. In fact, Mark-Edouard Vlasic scored and essentially reversed the effects of that successful coach’s challenge. At the end of the period, the Sharks led the Panthers 4-2 and the shots on goal were once again locked, this time at 22.
This period started off with a penalty, surprisingly on the Sharks and not the Panthers. Tommy Wingels was called for roughing and the Panthers had two minutes of a much needed man advantage. The Panthers could not score but it was definitely not for lack of opportunity. Then, the Sharks got their chance on the power play because Aaron Ekblad was sent to the box for hooking. The penalty was killed but things were still not looking good for the Panthers. With 7:40 left in the period, the Panthers got a power play after Garrett Wilson drew a tripping call on Brenden Dillon. The Panthers could not take advantage of this power play though because the Sharks continued to play with the same confidence they have had the whole game. Chris Tierney scored on the empty net to add salt to the wound and the Panthers lost 5-2. The Panthers had 33 shots on goal and the Sharks had 32. Oh, how I wish the goals could have followed the same pattern as the shots. This should have been an interesting game seeing as the Panthers have not lost in San Jose since 2005 but tonight, that pattern was sadly broken.
Brandon Pirri finally found his stride and scored his second goal of the season. Vincent Trocheck also had a great shot to put the Panthers on the board and showed the fans why his line, consisting of Jussi Jokinen, Reilly Smith, and him, is the top scoring one on the whole Panthers team. Other than that, the rest of the team was lacking in redeemable qualities tonight.
The Florida Panthers will finish off their Western conference road trip on Saturday, November 7th at 4 pm ET against the Los Angeles Kings. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.