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Sharks vs Panthers Preview: San Jose looks to win consecutive road games

Sharks have an opportunity to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season.

NHL: Florida Panthers at San Jose Sharks Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks (13-8-2) will face the Florida Panthers (10-12-2) tonight, in the team’s second game of their four-game East Coast road trip. San Jose has an opportunity to get their first consecutive road wins this season and extend their win streak to three games.

This will be the second, and final, time these teams face off this season.

The first matchup was a couple of weeks ago on November 16 with the Panthers taking the low scoring affair in a 2-0 victory at the SAP Center. Veteran goalie Roberto Luongo stopped all 35 shots garnering his 74th career shutout, while San Jose dealt with two unfortunate disallowed goals.

Both teams struggle to score offense, as the Sharks rank 28th in the NHL in goals per game (2.6) and the Panthers see themselves middle of the pack at 15th overall (2.9). The lack of goal scoring could be a factor, which means special teams chances could be crucial and that could work in San Jose’s favor.

Florida possesses one of the worst penalty kill (28th) and power play (27th) units in the league, while San Jose has the second best penalty kill and the 24th power play group. But it’s good timing for the Sharks, as their power play has been effective lately, scoring four goals in the past five games.

San Jose comes into this game with momentum, playing what was probably their best and most consistent hockey, following two dominating performances over the Central Division’s second place Winnipeg Jets and the struggling Philadelphia Flyers, who have lost nine straight.

Logan Couture has begun to heat up, collecting back-to-back multi-point games for the second time this season. However, the team is dealing with injuries to two essential players, with one being Joonas Donskoi. The second year winger left the Flyers game after a cross check during the second period and is listed day-to-day.

Star goalie Martin Jones suffered a lower-body injury against the Jets in the third period and though Jones ended up finishing that game he didn’t play against the Flyers. He’s also listed as day-to-day, but Antoine Bibeau was sent back to the Barracuda last night, meaning Jones is in for now.

Fans can expect Aaron Dell (3-3-1, 2.06 GAA), who picked up a win in the last start, back in net against the Panthers after two days of rest, leaving Martin Jones to square off against the scorching Tampa Bay Lightning offense tomorrow night.

Puck drop is is at 4:30 p.m. PT (7:30 p.m. ET) at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. Should be a fun Friday night, as Sharks look to win three in a row!