San Jose, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Nick Bjugstad scored a pair of goals in
regulation and fittingly netted the game-winner in the shootout as the Florida
Panthers spoiled the San Jose Sharks’ return to the Shark Tank with a 3-2
victory on Thursday.
San Jose’s Patrick Marleau was denied by Roberto Luongo on a penalty shot
early in the third period, but the veteran forward redeemed himself with time
winding down. The Sharks pulled Antti Niemi for an extra attacker, and Joe
Thornton, from deep in the right corner, fed Marleau out in front for the
goal with 33.1 seconds on the clock.
The Panthers carried a power play 1:49 into overtime but did not cash in.
After each team scored in the second round of the shootout, Brent Burns rung
one off the post for San Jose, and Bjugstad followed with the difference
Luongo made 28 saves for the Panthers, who also upended the Sharks, 4-1, on
Logan Couture scored a power-play goal, while Niemi stopped 26-of-28 shots for
the Sharks, who were coming off an 11-day road trip that saw them go 3-4-0.
Bjugstad opened the scoring with a deflection of Dmitry Kulikov’s point shot
just 24 seconds into the game.
Couture evened things on the power play at the 6:19 mark of the second period
by crashing the net and getting one past a sprawled-out Luongo.
Sharks forward Tommy Wingels was whistled for a penalty later in the middle
stanza, and Bjugstad capitalized with a slap shot from the top of the left
circle that Niemi never saw because of a screen.
Marleau had a chance to even things on a penalty shot with 6:53 remaining in
regulation, but Luongo was up to the task.
Marleau was playing in his 400th straight game and also recorded an assist …
The Panthers have won four in a row at San Jose … Jonathan Huberdeau
assisted on both Bjugstad goals … Thornton extended his point streak to