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Quick Bite: Sharks come back twice, fall in OT

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Joe Pavelski led a furious comeback, but the Panthers held on for a win on Jaromir Jagr’s 45th birthday.

NHL: Florida Panthers at San Jose Sharks Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Pavelski scored twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes of regulation as the San Jose Sharks overcame two two-goal deficits to send the game to overtime, but the Florida Panthers earned the full two points with a 6-5 win at the SAP Center on Wednesday night. Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad scored twice for Florida, as Jaromir Jagr picked up his 1900th career point.

The game opened with a lot of scoring. In a span of 2:52 in the first period, Florida and San Jose combined for four goals. Three of those ended up in the back of the Sharks’ net.

4:20 in, the Panthers opened the scoring after Jussi Jokinen buried Reilly Smith’s drop pass. 11 seconds later, Brent Burns tied the game, ripping a shot from the point after Joe Pavelski intercepted an errant Keith Yandle pass.

Nick Bjugstad broke the tie 44 seconds later, and put the Panthers up 2-1. Aaron Ekblad split the Sharks’ defense with a pass, finding Bjugstad open behind San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon.

Florida took their biggest lead of the first period, thanks to Aleksander Barkov’s second goal since his return from injury. Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned the puck over in his own end, leading to a tic-tac-toe sequence that Barkov capped off.

After allowing three goals on the Panthers’ first four shots of the game, San Jose limited Florida to two shots on goal for the remainder of the period. Gradually, the Sharks began to sustain more time in the Panthers’ zone.

That puck possession was rewarded with 4:35 left in the opening frame. Joel Ward deflected Joe Thornton’s redirect of Brent Burns’ point shot past Luongo, and the Sharks trailed by one headed into the second period.

The Sharks controlled play for the duration of the second period, and held the Panthers without a shot for just over the first 13-and-a-half minutes. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s point shot tied the game 6:27 into the second, thanks to a nice feed from Kevin Labanc and a fortuitous bounce off of Barkov in front of the net.

Joe Pavelski had two opportunities to tie the game, but the puck stayed out thanks to the crossbar and the play of Roberto Luongo. Two minutes after he found iron on the power play, former Shark Jason Demers held Pavelski as he was in on a partial breakaway, and the Captain was awarded a penalty shot.

Pavelski patiently skated in, attempted to wait out Luongo, but the Florida goaltender closed his five hole, and forced Pavelski to botch his deke with a poke check. Luongo stopped 13 of his 14 shots in the second period, while his teammates only mustered three shots on goal. Nonetheless, the score was tied going into the third period.

Nick Bjugstad scored his second of the game just 2:15 into the third period, as Florida took a 4-3 lead. Bjugstad won a loose puck in the neutral zone, dumped it in, and one-timed a wobbling, deflected puck past Jones on Florida’s 12th shot of the game.

The Panthers doubled their lead with 7:19 remaining in regulation, as Jaromir Jagr made history. Jagr, Barkov, and Jonathan Huberdeau created havoc in the Panthers’ offensive zone, capitalizing on a Sharks turnover as Jagr tapped a pass to Barkov for his 1900th career point. Jagr became just the second player in NHL history (and the first not named Wayne Gretzky) to score 1900 points.

Joe Pavelski gave the Sharks life a hair over four minutes later. Pavelski demonstrated his eye-hand coordination as he batted a puck out of mid-air, gathered it, and centered a pass to the front of Luongo’s net. The puck bounced off of Mike Matheson’s stick top shelf, and the Sharks trailed 5-4.

With 38 seconds left in regulation and Martin Jones pulled, Pavelski struck again and tied the game. Seconds after Hertl’s tip deflected off of Luongo’s pad and then the post, Pavelski shot the rebound past a sprawling Luongo, who was in serious pain.

Luongo left the game moments later, and former Shark James Reimer took over in Florida’s net as the game headed to overtime. Reimer was tested immediately in the extra frame, robbing Joe Thornton in the slot.

Jones denied defenseman Mike Matheson on a breakaway, but the Panthers maintained possession. Barkov dished past a stick-less David Schlemko to Huberdeau, who pushed it five-hole past Jones to give the Panthers the 6-5 win.

Fear the Fin’s Three Stars

  1. Aleksander Barkov
  2. Joe Pavelski
  3. Jaromir Jagr

Game Notes

  • You can’t say enough about Jaromir Jagr. At 45, he remains an incredibly dangerous player in the offensive zone. He’s older than the combined ages of his linemates, and manages to keep up with them. I hope we get another chance to see him play against the Sharks beyond this season. If not, he’s been a pleasure to watch, and had plenty of success against San Jose.
  • Martin Jones has allowed three or more goals in three of his last four starts. The coverage in front of him was poor, given the number of odd-man rushes and partial breakaways allowed. With a back-to-back this weekend and a bye week immediately following, Jones has an opportunity for rest coming up, and he appears to need it.
  • Kevin Labanc has a goal and four assists in his three-game return to the NHL. He’s fit in nicely alongside the Joes Thornton and Pavelski, and deserves an extended look.
  • The Sharks’ three best possession players at even strength? Micheal Haley, Chris Tierney, and Melker Karlsson. I was a little disappointed not to see Nikolay Goldobin make his way into the lineup after getting called up this morning, but the fourth line played well together.
  • The division lead is down to four points, and earning a full four on the upcoming back-to-back would be a nice addition to the division lead ahead of the bye week.