Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Panthers Outscore Sharks

     Jaromir Jagr celebrated his 45th birthday by getting his 1,900th NHL point as the Florida Panthers topped the San Jose Sharks 6-5 in overtime at SAP Center on Wednesday night. Jagr is the oldest active player in all four North American professional sports leagues.
     The Panthers won for the fifth time in their last six games. It was the second game of a five-road trip for the Panthers who have scored 13 goals in their last two games.
     Both clubs combined with five goals during the first period. Florida(25-20-10) took a 1-0 lead at the 4:20 mark when Jussi Jokinen powered a slapshot in from the slot following a feed from Reilly Smith.
     San Jose(34-18-6) responded quickly as they tied the contest just 31 seconds later. Keith Yandle gave the puck away to Joe Pavelski in the middle of the zone. He dropped a pass to the blue line and Brent Burns snapped a shot by Roberto Luongo.
     The Panthers regained the lead immediately at 5:35. Aaron Ekblad threaded a long lead pass from his own zone to Nick Bjugstad at the Sharks blue line. He skated in on a breakaway and scored on a wrist shot from the slot area.
     It became a two-goal margin for the Cats when Aleksander Barkov ripped a one-time slapshot from the high slot past Martin Jones at 7:12. Yandle and Jonathan Huberdeau were involved in a three-man weave play to set up the goal.
     The Sharks cut the gap with 4:35 left in the first to make it 3-2. Burns put a shot from the right point which was deflected twice toward the net by Joe Thornton and Joel Ward. Florida scored three goals on six shots in the first period.
     Once again San Jose was able catch up to the Panthers and tied it again 3-3 at the 6:27 mark of the second period. Kevin Labanc made a pass from the left wing to the top where Marc-Edouard Vlasic found the cage on a snap shot.
     In the third period, Nick Bjugstad scored his second goal of the game at 2:15 to give the Panthers a 4-3 advantage. The Sharks turned the puck over at the top of their zone. Alex Petrovic skated down the right side, connected a cross-ice pass and Bjugstad smashed it in for a tally from the slot.
     Jagr got his milestone assist at 12:41 when he placed a pass from the low left circle to Barkov in the slot area and he put in his 13th goal of the season. The Panthers regained a two-goal cushion and were unable to hold it for the second time.
     San Jose pulled off a comeback in the final minutes of regulation. Pavelski streaked through the left circle and lifted a backhand shot with 3:21 to go. He would add another tally, his 20th of the year, from close range when the Sharks had an extra attacker with 37.4 seconds left in the third.
     Florida bottled up San Jose in their end and got the game-winning goal in overtime at 1:38. Barkov centered a pass from the right-wing wall and Huberdeau converted on a snap shot.

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