Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers

Instant Replay: Sharks battle back in third to force OT, still fall to Panthers

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski’s two late goals forced overtime, but Jonathan Huberdeau converted in overtime to push the Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Sharks on Wednesday night at SAP Center.

Pavelski scored twice in the final three-and-a-half minutes of regulation to salvage a point for San Jose.

The first came when he was looking for Kevin Labanc cutting towards the net, and the puck directed in off of Michael Matheson’s stick at 16:39, to make it a 5-4 score.

Then, with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, Pavelski fired in his 20th of the season from between the circles with just 38 seconds remaining, finding a puck that ricocheted off the post. Roberto Luongo was hurt on the play, and former Sharks backup James Reimer was forced to relieve him in net.

In overtime, Huberdeau slipped in a pass from Aleksander Barkov to give the Panthers the extra point at 1:38. Huberdeau pressured David Schlemko into a turnover deep in the Sharks' defensive zone before ending the game.

The Sharks have just one win in their last six games (1-1-4), and remain four points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division.

Nick Bjugstad broke a 3-3 tie early in the final frame, chipping in a pass from Alex Petrovic at 2:15 after Timo Meier turned it over in the defensive zone. It was his second of the night, after he began the night with just two goals in 26 games.

Barkov gave Florida some breathing room at 12:41, pushing over a dish in the slot from Jaromir Jagr. The play began when Petrovic kept a Chris Tierney clearing attempt in at the blue line.

Some early defensive miscues by the Sharks helped the Panthers jump to a 3-1 lead.

At 4:20 of the first period, Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring on a two-on-one, finishing off a pass through the seam from Reilly Smith after Brent Burns was caught too high in the neutral zone.

Burns tied the game just 31 seconds later on a wrist shot from high in the zone, but Bjugstad got behind Brenden Dillon and finished off a breakaway at 5:35.

Barkov’s one-timer at 7:12 gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s defensive zone giveaway preceded Barkov’s 12th goal.

San Jose got one back before the end of the first, when Joe Thornton and Joel Ward each got a piece of a Burns low wrister at 15:25. Ward was credited with his seventh, making it a 3-2 score after the first.

The Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting Florida 14-3 and getting the equalizer on a Vlasic score at 6:27. The defenseman’s blast deflected off of Barkov and through Luongo.

San Jose could have had more, but Pavelski couldn’t convert on a penalty shot midway through regulation, and a pair of power plays were squandered.

Burns, with one goal and one assist, is now tied for second in the NHL with Sidney Crosby, just two points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

The Sharks and Panthers split their two-game season series.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 0-for-3 on the power play, and are just 2-for-21 in their last six games.

The Sharks have five of the NHL’s 30 penalty shots this season, and are 1-for-5 (Melker Karlsson, Jan. 24 at Winnipeg).

Florida was 0-for-2 on the power play. San Jose is 7-for-7 on the PK in its last three games.

In goal

For the second time in his last three starts, Jones gave up three goals in the first period. He was pulled last Thursday in Boston, but stayed in against the Panthers, finishing with 16 saves on 22 shots.

Luongo made 29 saves on 34 shots before he had to leave the game. Reimer turned away both shots he saw, and recorded the win.

Lineup

The Sharks honored forward Patrick Marleau in a pregame ceremony for recently scoring his 500th career goal. Marleau also became just the 10th player in NHL history to appear in 600 consecutive games.

Jagr, the oldest player in the league, was celebrating his 45th birthday. His assist on Barkov’s third period goal was the 1900th point of his career.

Former first round pick Nikolay Goldobin was recalled by the Sharks on Wednesday morning, but did not play. He still has yet to make his NHL season debut.

Up next

The Sharks conclude the season series with Arizona on Saturday in Glendale. The last place Coyotes are 3-0-1 in the season series, while San Jose is 1-2-1, with its lone win coming in overtime on Nov. 29.

A home game with Boston on Sunday is the Sharks’ final before their bye week from Feb. 20-24.

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

After requiring a visit to a local hospital in Nashville due to being struck in the face with a deflected puck on Saturday night against the Predators, Logan Couture was able to fly back with the team to San Jose on Sunday morning.

The severity of his injury is still unknown, although his father, Chet, said on Twitter that it was “an ugly injury sadly.”

Another source close to the situation told CSN the injury is “brutal.”

Couture, who lost several teeth, visited with Sharks medical personnel on Sunday and a further update is expected on Monday. 

Perhaps the best-case scenario is that the injury looks a lot worse than it actually is, such as when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was sidelined for one week when he took a puck to the face from the stick Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere in late December.

Losing Couture for any period of time would be a difficult blow to the Sharks, who have lost their last six in regulation, including Saturday’s 7-2 defeat to the Predators. Couture is third on the team in scoring with 52 points, and has a team-leading 11 power play goals. He entered Saturday’s game with four goals and five assists in his last 10 games, and has arguably been the team’s best player since mid-January.

"You can't replace him, so it would be really tough,” Patrick Marleau said after the game Saturday. “But if that is the case, then guys are going to have to pull up the slack. Definitely we hope he's back sooner.”

Couture was set up just outside the crease in the third period when a Brent Burns point shot late in the second period hit a stick before squarely smacking into the 27-year-old’s mouth. He quickly skated to the dressing room under his own power with just 14 seconds before the intermission.

The Sharks have seven games remaining in the regular season, hosting the Rangers on Tuesday and visiting Edmonton and Calgary later this week. They are tied in points (91) with Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division.

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. Lately, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck. He is scoreless in his last 12 games.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of emotion in the game, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers, or at least remove Boedker and Donskoi and put Hertl back on the wing. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?