Panthers 4, Sharks 2: Hoffman, McGinn triumphant against former team

Trap game (noun): Sharks versus Panthers, March 14.

After the Dallas Stars made short work of the Minnesota Wild on Thursday afternoon, the Sharks just needed to do their part to punch their ticket into the playoffs: beat the Florida Panthers in any fashion and they’d be in.

Seemed simple enough, but tonight just wasn't their night.

The Sharks started the game hot with a crafty goal from Melker Karlsson in the first period, fighting off Keith Yandle to put it past rookie goalie Sam Montembeault. The Panthers' offense was not to be denied, however, as former Shark Jamie McGinn stuffed home a rebound to tie the game. Kevin Labanc was set up by Justin Braun and capitalized on the one-timer to give the Sharks the 2-1 lead.

That’s where the fun ended for the Sharks.

Early into the second period, Dryden Hunt sent a wrist-shot from past the faceoff circles past Martin Jones to tie the game. After a slow power play and some careless penalties by the Sharks, Mike Hoffman, on a Panthers power play, sent an absolute laser from the point into the back of the net for the Panthers’ first lead of the game.

Down 3-2 heading into the third, the Sharks couldn’t storm back with the fire they showed Tuesday night in Winnipeg. The Panthers made the best of that as Frank Vatrano buried an insurance goal off of a give-and-go with Mike Hoffman for a 4-2 lead and the Cats never looked back. The Sharks had their chances late into the third, but when they didn’t miss the net entirely, they were stopped by Montembeault, who was absolutely clutch for the Panthers en route to a 4-2 loss for the Sharks, snapping their six-game winning streak.

Hello Sharks fans near and far! It’s me, it’s me, it’s that kid BD, and I’ll have your liveblog tonight!

The Stars just beat the Wild 4-1, so if the boys can take care of business tonight, there’ll be a nice, shiny X next to our names!

First Period

20:00: Off we go!!!

19:42: Oh boy, that’s a bad call. Logan Couture is called for tripping, but he barely touched Sasha Barkov, who fell on his own. Sharks now have to handle the second-ranked Panthers power play.

18:27: A magnificent effort by the first penalty-kill team and Martin Jones to deny the Panthers offense!

18:42: And this penalty kill is ... (Hawk Harrelson voice) ovah!

15:48: Montembeault denies Tomas Hertl. I think this guy is gonna become a problem for the rest of the league soon. Hopefully we get to see him and Josef Korenar duel in the nets soon.

13:15: You get Jumbo Joe on the ice, good things happen. He dished a nice pass to Vlasic, who nearly got his third goal in two games.

12:39: THE MELKMAN DELIVERS! Melker Karlsson fights off a check by Keith Yandle and shoots it past Montembeault’s blocker side to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead!

10:48: Tim Heed with a cannon, but Montembeault traps it in his pads.

8:24: Brenden Dillon gets in the way of a Jayce Hawryluk shot!

8:15: The Cats answer back. It’s former Shark Jamie McGinn, capitalizing after an errant tip by Timo Meier on his own goalie by slamming home the rebound.

I honestly wish we had never traded him; I loved his play as a Shark.

7:37: That’s a great poke-check from Brent Burns to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He’s been a lot better defensively this year. Kudos.

6:27: The birthday boy, Frank Vatrano, is denied by Martin Jones at the far side of the crease.

5:24: CHA-CHING! Kevin Labanc makes it 2-1! Justin Braun gets a good look, and sets up Labanc with the one-timer, and the Sharks take back the lead!

2:53: Brenden Dillon levels Vincent Trocheck at the trapezoid.

1:47: Meier rings the post!

1:00: According to trusty PA man Danny Miller, there is “ooooooONE” minute left to play in the period.

:2: A near-opportunity for the Sharks just as time expires.

END FIRST: Sharks 2, Panthers 1

Other than that unfortunate Timo deflection, that was a good period for the Sharks. Justin Braun has looked solid tonight, as well as the entire third line.

Second Period

19:34: Great work from Donskoi to get it out of the defensive zone and take it into the offensive zone. If, somehow, he ends up scratched when all of the forwards are healthy, I’m gonna ... I’m gonna ... I’m gonna tweet my displeasure.

18:34: Panthers score. It’s Dryden Hunt, fresh off his first NHL goal, who rips it past Jones to tie the game. That’s one Jones should have had.

16:47: Hertl turns and shoots with Donskoi on the doorstep, but no dice.

16:04: Sharks have looked trapped in their own zone for a while.

15:04: Henrik Borgstrom ices it. The Sharks needed that break.

13:43: We have an F bomb caught on audio! Randy and Jamie snidely comment on it.

12:25: Justin Braun is sent off for a hold. It looked pretty obvious. Sharks back on the penalty kill.

11:23: Yandle’s shot rings off the crossbar and out of play.

11:08: Tomas Hertl cleans up in the defensive zone, and the Sharks’ penalty kill continues to fend off the Panthers’ lethal power play.

10:12: Now it’s the Sharks’ turn for a power play. Vincent Trocheck slashes the stick out of Timo Meier’s hands and he’ll go to the box and feel shame.

9:06: And now the Sharks go back to the box. Logan Couture inadvertently high-sticks Jonathan Huberdeau and draws blood, so he’ll serve four minutes.

7:00: Martin Jones somehow keeps an Evgenii Dadonov shot out of the net!

6:32: And another great stop by Jones, this time with the pad! I think that sequence deserves an appreciation tweet from the main Sharks account.

5:05: Hertl clears the puck and the double-minor is killed! A fantastic effort from the penalty killers and Martin Jones!

4:04: Jones stops a breakaway from Henrik Borgstrom. Joakim Ryan was nowhere to be seen after having been very far up in the offensive zone.

1:48: Sharks could use a goal right now. Things have been seeming to tilt the Panthers way.

1:34: Another penalty against the Sharks. It’s a too many men call. The Sharks bench is pissed, but this was clearly the right call, as Burns was way too early to get on the ice.

1:11: And the Panthers finally capitalize on the power play. Mike Hoffman rips one from the point that gets past Jones and the Panthers have their first lead of the game. That penalty kill situation could have been easily avoided.

END SECOND: Sharks 2, Panthers 3

The Sharks had seemed trapped in their own zone for the majority of that period. The constant penalties that the Sharks took did them no favors. Jones looked really good on the kill, for the most part.

Third Period

19:09: Joakim Ryan’s shot from the slot is blocked by Mackenzie Weegar.

18:22: It seems as if the Sharks have started the third period the way they started the second: as flat as a two-day-old soda.

18:18: But Jayce Hawryluk takes an interference penalty and the Sharks will head back to the power play!

17:00: This doesn’t feel like a power play at all. The Panthers have dominated possession of the puck so far.

16:18: Penalty killed. To say that power play had nothing of interest would be an understatement.

14:42: A big shot from Tim Heed, but it’s no pressure for Montembeault.

13:24: Labanc misses the net after being right on the doorstep.

12:26: Ryan has an excellent look, but he fires it over the net.

11:42: Panthers goal. Frank Vatrano makes it 4-2 with a give-and-go from Mike Hoffman. All of the sudden, the Panthers have full control of this game.

8:08: Ryan blows a tire trying to get a shot off. He’s been unlucky all night.

6:01: Tim Heed ... misses the net with a slap shot.

4:54: Hertl cuts in and tries to sneak the puck past Montembeault, but he’s able to control it.

3:52: Burns steps into a shot, but misses. This is becoming a pattern as the Sharks are just searching for answers.

2:50: Two-on-one the other way for the Panthers and Barkov ... does make a mistake. He couldn’t get the shot off.

1:58: Jones has left for an extra attacker.

1:07: Vincent Trocheck trips Couture trying to block a shot from him. The Sharks will take their timeout.

Couture might have been tripped up by Pavelski’s stick, so I’m not entirely sure if that’s the right call or just a make-up for the Couture trip on Ekblad.

6-on-4 now.

:47: Hertl gets a back-hand shot on but it’s Montembeault again there to make the stop.

:20: Vincent Trocheck clears it out and that’s gonna be the game.

FINAL SCORE: Panthers 4, Sharks 2


The much-anticipated return of 15-minute San Jose Sharks legend Mike Hoffman will take place tonight as the Sharks, seeking their seventh win in a row, get set to take on the Florida Panthers.

It hasn’t exactly been a pretty day for the Sharks in the news. This morning, General Manager Doug Wilson revealed that defenseman Radim Simek would undergo surgery on his knee after a nasty collision with Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp on Tuesday night. Hours later, Evander Kane revealed that he and his wife had lost their child of 26 weeks. While he did participate in morning skate, Kane will not play tonight.

The Panthers have been trying to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference, but they currently stand nine points out of the second Wild Card position, currently held by the Columbus Blue Jackets. While they did thrash the Detroit Red Wings on home ice on Sunday afternoon, their last ten games have been not really convinced anyone of being a playoff-caliber team, going 4-2-4 over that stretch. They’ve recently benefited from the emergence of Quebec City-born goaltender Sam Montembeault, who will start his third straight (and overall) game tonight.

On the other end of the ice, the Sharks keep rolling. They swept their back-to-back road trip on Monday and Tuesday night, first with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild that gave Martin Jones his third shutout of the year, then with a wild finish over the Winnipeg Jets, where Joe Pavelski put a shot past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck with four seconds left in regulation to give the Sharks a 5-4 victory. The Sharks have won six in a row and currently sit atop the Pacific Division with 92 points.

The Sharks can also clinch a playoff spot tonight. They will need to beat the Panthers by any fashion, and hope that the Dallas Stars pull off a regulation win over the Wild, as well.



Expected Scratches: Evander Kane (bereavement), Dylan Gambrell (healthy), Jacob Middleton (healthy)

Injured Reserve: Radim Simek (knee), Erik Karlsson (groin)

Panthers (via Daily Faceoff)

Jonathan Huberdeau — Aleksander Barkov — Evgenii Dadonov
Frank Vatrano — Vincent Trocheck — Mike Hoffman
Dryden Hunt — Riley Sheahan — Troy Brouwer
Jamie McGinn — Henrik Borgstrom — Jayce Hawryluk

Mike Matheson — Aaron Ekblad
Keith Yandle — Mackenzie Weegar
Mark Pysyk — Josh Brown

Sam Montembeault
Roberto Luongo

Expected Scratches: Denis Malgin, Ian McCoshen (healthy)

Injured Reserve: Derek MacKenzie (shoulder), Colton Sceviour (wrist)

Where to Watch

Puck drop from SAP Center is at 7:30 p.m. Pacific/10:30 p.m. Eastern and broadcast on NBC Sports California in the Bay Area Market and Fox Sports Florida in the Florida area (where you can listen to the greatness that is Steve Goldstein). As always, audio streaming will be available on 98.5 KFOX and on the Sharks app.