The San Jose Sharks sent the reeling Florida Panthers to a fourth straight defeat, posting a 5-2 decision at SAP Center.
The Sharks got off to a quick start, pumping two shots past Al Montoya before the midway point of the first period.
Brent Burns opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at the 6:37 mark and Joonas Donskoi, a former Panther draft choice, followed up 2:49 later, cleaning up a loose puck after a goalmouth scramble. Donskoi's second of the season was assisted by Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.
Vincent Trocheck quickly replied with a unassisted goal to get the Panthers on the board at 10:54. Trocheck grabbed the puck after it popped free following a face-off in the Sharks end and deposited it past a down and out Alex Stalock.
San Jose restored its two-goal advantage early in the second period on a beautiful effort from Patrick Marleau. The speedy Shark collected a contested puck in the neutral zone and blew by Alex Petrovic before beating Montoya with a nifty backhand move. Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl were credited with the helpers on the goal.
Brandon Pirri kept the Panthers close with a power-play marker at 14:06 of the middle stanza. After Jussi Jokinen won the draw back to Brian Campbell, the veteran defender loaded the gun for Pirri, who unleashed a lethal one-timer past Stalock for his second goal. Jaromir Jagr drew an interference call on Donskoi to give the Cats the man-advantage.
The Sharks would strike again with one minute left in the period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic got the goal, capping off some pretty give-and-go work with Nikolay Goldobin. Tommy Wingels picked up the secondary assist.
The goal came right after Donskoi had one taken off the board due to a successful offsides challenge by Gerard Gallant.
Florida would out-shoot San Jose 11-10 in the third period, but Stalock, who finished with 31 saves, shut the door on a potential Panthers comeback to post his first win of 2015-16.
The only goal of the final frame was Chris Tierney's empty-netter with 1:16 left in the game. Thornton and Burns were credited with the assists for their second points of the night.
Up next for the Cats are the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. The Panthers will need to start turning the red light on more often if they want to snap out of this frustrating funk.
Tales & Fins
- It was night to forget for defenseman Alex Petrovic, who was on ice for all five Sharks goals. Petro will get plenty of TV time for getting beaten soundly on Marleau's highlight reel goal.
- In addition to Petrovic's ugly -5 rating, Florida's top troika of Nick Bjugstad (-3), Jaromir Jagr (-4) and Jonathan Huberdeau (-3) went a combined -10 on the night and produced just four shots on goal. When is Aleksander Barkov coming back? Speaking of minuses, Dmitry Kulikov went -4.
- Al Montoya made 27 stops and took his first loss in regulation time this season.
- Brandon Pirri's bullet drive ended a seven-game drought for the winger. The Cats need Pirri to get hot and start scoring in bunches, like he did at times last season.
- Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Tommy Wingels led the San Jose shot parade with four apiece.
- Quinton Howden provided some energy and dished out a game-high five hits.
- Stop by Fear The Fin for the other side of this one. You just might need a bigger boat.
- war-on-ice has the advanced stats recap for you here.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)