Penalty proves costly as Sharks’ win streak ends

SAN JOSE — The Sharks couldn’t overcome a barrage of penalties Thursday night as they allowed a go-ahead power play goal late in the second period of a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers at SAP Center.

With the score tied 2-2 and the Sharks serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, Mike Hoffman’s slap shot from just inside the blue line beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones high to the glove side with 1:11 left in the second period. Florida came into Thursday with the second-best power play in the NHL at 27.1 percent.

Frank Valtrano scored an even strength insurance goal for the Panthers at the 8:17 mark of the third period, as the Sharks had their six-game winning streak snapped and remained one point ahead of the Calgary Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

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The Sharks, who were playing their third game in four nights, will have to wait until Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

San Jose could have punched its ticket to the postseason for the 13th time in 14 seasons had it won Thursday after Minnesota, which is three points back of Arizona for the Western Conference’s second wild card spot, lost to Dallas 4-1 earlier Thursday.

The Wild, with 74 points, has 11 games left and can still mathematically catch the Sharks (94 points).

That is of little concern to the Sharks right now, though.

A more pressing issue was the amount of time the Sharks spent shorthanded in the first two periods Thursday — 7 minutes and 29 seconds, to be exact.

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The Sharks were shorthanded four times in the first two periods, and have now allowed a power play goal in five of their last eight games.

The Sharks were outshot 15-8 in the second period. Forward Dryden Hunt tied the game 2-2 at the 1:25 mark of the second period when his shot from inside the blue line eluded Jones.

The Sharks scored two even strength goals in the first period, as Melker Karlsson netted his 12th of the season with a wrist shot from a sharp angle that beat Florida goalie Sam Montembeault at the 7:22 mark to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead. It was Karlsson’s 100th career point.

Jamie McGinn evened the score for Florida with 8:15 to go in the first period, slapping a rebound past Jones. Less than three minutes later, Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks back the lead, one-timing a pass from Justin Braun past Montembeault for his 13th goal of the season.

The game capped one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent Sharks memory.

Thursday morning, the Sharks revealed that defenseman Radim Simek had suffered damage to his right medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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