A combination of power play struggles and spectacular goaltending by Roberto Luongo resulted in a 3-2 loss by the San Jose Sharks to the Florida Panthers at SAP Center on Tuesday night.
The Sharks peppered the Panthers’ net with 54 shots, but Luongo made 52 saves, including all 29 shots by the Sharks in the third period, where they had four power plays, including a five-on-three. Their power play struggles, however, could not have been any more evident, as they failed to score on those power plays against a Panthers team that is the worst penalty-killing team in the league.
San Jose entered the third period trailing 3-1 thanks to a lackluster second stanza where they allowed three unanswered goals to the lowly Panthers. After Martin Havlat scored a power play goal at the 4:02 mark to the put the Sharks up 1-0, Brandon Pirri responded seven minutes later on a lucky bounce, as his shot was initially stopped by Antti Niemi, but it ricocheted over him and bounced into the net. Then, just seconds later, a defensive collapse gave the Panthers the lead, as Quinton Howden tapped it in on a 2-on-1 with Pirri. Those two quick goals changed the entire complexion of the game, as the Sharks suddenly found themselves behind. Florida would add insult to injury, as Scottie Upshaw scored on a one-timer with just 15 seconds left in the period.
The third period was full of opportunities, but the Sharks could only muster one goal, scored by Brent Burns off a faceoff at the 16:57 mark. The Sharks then pulled their goalie and had some good looks to tie the game, but Luongo was solid and the Sharks were handed their most disappointing loss in a while.
To end on a good note, however, the Ducks lost to the Capitals on regulation, so the Sharks still remain tied atop the Pacific Division with Anaheim heading into Thursday night’s marquee matchup against those Ducks.
Tale of the Tape
- Shots on goal: 54
- Power play: 1-for-6
- Hits: 7
- Giveaways: 20
- Takeaways: 14
- Faceoffs won: 46
- Shots on goal: 24
- Power play: 0-for-2
- Hits: 21
- Giveaways: 14
- Takeaways: 8
- Faceoffs won: 34
Good to Know
The world may be upside down:
Tonight was the 6th time this season the Sharks had 50+ shots in a game. They have lost their last 4 such contests.
— Darin Stephens (@SharksStats) March 19, 2014
What’s on Tap
As mentioned above, the Ducks come to town on Thursday to take on the Sharks in a battle for the outright division lead.