Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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29-shot period can't save Sharks in loss to Panthers

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[March 19, 2014]  SAN JOSE, Calif.  Getting outshot 29-2 in a period isn't a recipe for success, but the Florida Panthers made it work Tuesday night.

San Jose failed to convert on 7:09 of power-play time in the third period against the league's worst penalty killers, and the Sharks came away with a 3-2 loss to the Panthers at the SAP Center.

"The effort overall in the third was desperate," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. "I guess that's one of the good things you can take out of it, but a loss is a loss."

Sharks right winger Brent Burns scored his 19th goal at 16:57 on the third, but San Jose could not gain the equalizer during an incredible period in which it outshot the Panthers by 27.

"You get fortunate once in a while, and that's the way it is," Florida coach Peter Horachek said. "You deal with it and move on. We have to feel good about the situation."

San Jose put 15 shots on goal during the four failed third-period power plays. In all, the Sharks peppered Florida goalie Roberto Luongo with 54 shots, but they failed to take advantage of Anaheim's loss. The Sharks and Ducks remain tied atop the Pacific Division, and the two teams meet Thursday in San Jose.


"I've always enjoyed playing in this building," Luongo said. "I have mostly good memories here. When we went to the (Stanley Cup) final, we won a big game here. We always seem to have great games against these guys."

The Sharks (45-18-7) broke on top when left winger Martin Havlat snapped an 0-for-30 power-play drought at home dating back to Feb. 3. He collected his eighth goal at 4:02 of the second period. However, the hosts reverted to their early-game doldrums, allowing Florida to take over.

The Panthers (26-35-8) scored twice within 17 seconds just past the midpoint of the period, and they got a goal with 14.8 seconds left to take a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.

"It's an opportunity here, and when you get those opportunities, you have to make them count," Florida center Brandon Pirri said. "We created some speed down the wings and maybe they didn't cover the gap as well as they would have liked."

Perri's wrist shot deflected up and over Antti Niemi at 11:23, and right winger Quinton Howden tapped a weak-side rebound past the Sharks' hard-luck goalie at 11:40.

"You see that all the time  a team scores, they get right back at it and score again," said center Joe Thornton, the Sharks' captain. "It took our push away."

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Florida right winger Scottie Upshall capped the second-period rally with a one-timer that slipped under Niemi's pads with in the final seconds.

"We gave them two points there," Sharks defenseman Jason Demers said. "That's unacceptable the way we've been playing."

San Jose started the night looking every bit the team that was fresh off an Eastern road trip playing its fourth game in six days. The Sharks outshot Florida 10-8 in the opening 20 minutes but looked disjointed and out of sorts.

"I don't think anyone's going to be too happy with our execution and effort through 40 (minutes)," Boyle said. "We had some chances, but overall we could have stepped it up a little better."

Luongo finished with 52 saves. Niemi stopped 21 shots.

NOTES: RW Raffi Torres missed his fifth straight game due to what San Jose coach Todd McLellan described as "bumps and bruises." Torres has not played since appearing in four of six games Feb. 27-March 8 after missing the first 59 games of the season while rehabbing from knee surgery. ... Sharks D Brad Stuart (upper-body injury) practiced with teammates Tuesday for the first time since leaving the lineup Feb. 7. Stuart will play again once his physical conditioning returns. ... Tuesday marked the opening of a four-game trip for the Panthers, who visit Phoenix on Thursday before playing Los Angeles and Anaheim on back-to-back nights Saturday and Sunday. ... The Sharks play eight of their final 13 games at home. ... RW Mike Brown and D Matt Tennyson were healthy scratches for San Jose. Panthers LW Sean Bergenheim, LW Jonathan Huberdeau, C Jesse Winchester and D Erik Gudbranson all sat out due to injuries.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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