Sharks aim for payback against Panthers

( – Following a lengthy road trip, the San Jose Sharks kick
off a six-game homestand on Thursday night with a rematch against the Florida

The Sharks went 3-4-0 on a seven-game, 11-day swing, ending the trek with a
4-1 setback to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. The loss was San Jose’s 16th in
17 all-time trips to Buffalo.

Brent Burns provided San Jose with its lone goal and Troy Grosenick, who was
coming off a 45-save shutout of Carolina in his NHL debut on Sunday, allowed
three goals on 13 shots in defeat.

“We had a lot of good chances, especially early in the game,” Sharks forward
Patrick Marleau said. “The chances were there.”

Joe Thornton extended his point streak to seven games with an assist and will
try to keep that run going at home, where San Jose is 2-3-0 this season.

The Sharks’ recent road trip included a 4-1 loss in Florida, with Thornton
getting a goal and Antti Niemi making 26 saves in defeat.

Niemi fell to 1-3-0 with a 2.53 goals against average and .899 save percentage
in four career games versus the Panthers.

Florida got first-period goals from Jimmy Hayes and Aleksander Barkov in the
win. Roberto Luongo had 21 saves and is 12-12-4 with a 2.62 GAA and .919 save
percentage in this matchup.

The Panthers have won two straight and six of their past seven versus the
Sharks, taking three in a row at San Jose.

Hayes and Jussi Jokinen had a goal in Tuesday’s 5-2 setback to the Los Angeles
Kings. It was Florida’s fifth loss in seven contests as the club was coming
off a 6-2 win at Anaheim on Sunday that began a four-game trip.

Luongo made 21 saves, but allowed four second-period goals. He was replaced by
Al Montoya in the third period and the backup made one save and gave up a goal
in the frame.

“We really played well in the first period and obviously the second period was
the difference in this hockey game,” said Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We just didn’t respond until we got upset in the third period and we started
to play a better game.”

Barkov missed Tuesday’s game due to illness and is day-to-day.