If the 2023-24 NHL season is supposed to be a
series of lessons for the young Sharks, Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Florida
Panthers will go down as the one that covers how not to play with a lead. San
Jose grabbed an unlikely 3-2 lead in the 3rd period, then immediately went on
tilt and allowed the Panthers to turn the final 10 minutes of play into a
painful dose of reality. Chalk it up to a young team that forgot to finish the
game after grabbing a lead. A harsh loss, but hopefully one they don't forget.
It was almost scripted how quickly the game turned. The Sharks
seemingly rolled up into a ball and curled up into a corner as the Panthers
The game was back and forth for the first two
periods, which was uncharacteristic for a Panthers team that many are picking
to win the Stanley Cup this season.
Ryan Lomberg scored his 2nd goal
of the season 12:34 into the contest on a shot from the right dot. Defenseman
Ty Emberson skated between Lomberg and the Sharks goal, but he couldn't impede
the shot that sailed over MacKenzie Blackwood's right shoulder.
Hoffman introduced himself to Sharks fans by scoring his first goal in teal at
15:58. The former Panther was lurking outsied the right post when a Jan Rutta
shot hit Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz and carromed over to Hoffman. The
Sharks centerman gathered the rebound and lifted a shot top shelf past Stolarz
for the 1-1 tie.
Blackwood may have felt out of place, having only
faced 8 shots in the opening period. his 40.1 shots per 60 minutes of play
leads the NHL, so it was unusual to see such a pittance of rubber thrown his
Givani Smith took a roughing penalty 11:29 into the 2nd period,
which setup a go-ahead goal by Sam Reinhart on the ensuing power play. Oliver
Ekman-Larsson put a shot on goal from the point, but Blackwood could not
control it. Reinhart was perched at the top of the crease and was able to
easily slide it home for the 2-1 lead.
Former Shark Steven Lorentz was
called for hooking at 5:40 after he was forced to haul down William Eklund on a
scoring chance in front of the net.
San Jose capitalized on the power
play when Tomas Hertl redirected a Fabian Zetterlund feed from the doorstep.
Zetterlund threw the puck to Hertl from the bottom of the right circle as Hertl
lurked out in front of the left post.
A delayed penalty on Florida a
minute later allowed the sharks to take the lead. Luke Kunin wound up with the
puck at the top of the crease, then jammed home his 3rd goal of the season to
give San Jose the 3-2 advantage.
The Sharks inability to stay out of the penalty box
was the death sentence for a team that doesn't have the talent on special teams
to stay out of trouble. Marc-Edouard Vlasic was called for tripping at 9:28,
and the Panthers would take advantage 30 seconds later when Cater Verhaeghe
scored his 7th goal of the season.
Florida grabbed the 4-3 lead 63
seconds later when Kevin Stenlund tipped an Uvis Balinski shot from the high
slot. Stenlund got a stick blade on Balinski's shot, deflecting it on a
downward trajectory, slipping between Blackwood's pads.
appeared to give the Panthers a 2-goal lead moments later, but the Sharks
challenged the play for offside. San Jose won the challenge, which kept the
game at 4-3 and prevented a penalty to San Jose.
The Sharks pulled
Blackwood with 2:45 to play. That allowed Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov to
score his 6th on the empty net. Game Notes:
Sharks placed LW Oskar Lindblom on the injured reserve with a lower body
* San Jose recalled LW Danil Gushchin, who played in 2 games
for San Jose last season where he recorded a goal and an assist. Gushchin tried
a fancy between the legs shot in the 2nd period, but it sailed high.
Jan Rutta recorded his 1st point as a Shark with the primary assist on Mike
Hoffman's goal. It took the defenseman 16 games to get on the scoreboard for
the first time in teal.
* The 2 goals allowed on the power play drops
the Sharks penalty kill to 69.4% which ranks 31st in the league. Only the
Minnesota Wild's 63.5% is worse. The inability to kill penalties has killed the
Sharks this season. They are averaging 1.07 power play goals allowed per game,
which is also 31st in the league.
* San Jose blocked 22 shots in the
game. Florida blocked 5, which is more indicative of the fact that the Sharks
don't generate many offensive chances to begin with. Florida out-shot San Jose
31-22 in this one, which was actually a light night for MacKenzie Blackwood.