Florida Panthers center Sam Bennett (9) puts the game winning puck on net in overtime to beat the San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer (47) at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise on Sat Jan 29, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks fell 5-4 in overtime to the Panthers in Florida on Saturday. Gustav Forsling, Alexander Barkov, Mason Marchment, Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Bennett scored for the Panthers. Sergei Bbrovsky made 30 saves for the win. Matt Nieto and Tomas Hertl scored for San Jose and Jonathan Dahlen scored two power play goals. James Reimer made 45 saves in the loss.
After the game, Sharks Head Coach talked about the loss to one of the league’s top teams:
“I’m proud of our guys, I thought we battled hard. We had ourselves in position to get two points. You could tell we got tired as the game went on. When we lost Mario it was tough on our D. You know, we made some mistakes, we also had a couple good chances. I mean, Bobrovsky made a great save on Bonino.”
Early in the game, Sharks defensman Mario Ferraro left the game after taking a puck to the face. Boughner had some information about the injury after the game:
“It looked pretty serious to me. I know that he’s getting evaluated by dentists. And they’re trying to figure out what the next step is here so that’ll be really all we have tonight. We’ll know more in the morning but, yeah that’s obviously a big injury if it’s anything long term.”
Rudolfs Balcers also left the ice with an injury but returned before the game ended.
Tomas Hertl scored 6:10 into the first period. After passing the puck to Rudolfs Balcers below the goal line, Hertl made his way to the net. Balcers got the puck back to him so he could tuck it past Bobrovsky by the post.
Jonathan Dahlen made it 2-0 with a power play goal at 17:17. Noah Gregor made a quick back-hand pass around Jonathan Huberdeau to get the puck to Dahlen at the blue line. Dahlen took a quick shot right down the middle through traffic. Assists went to Gregor and Nick Bonino.
Gustav Forsling made it 2-1 at 19:06 of the period. Forsling took the shot from just above the hash marks. The puck went through traffic and past Reimer on the blocker side. Assists went to Sam Reinhart and Mason Marchment.
Matt Nieto scored the only goal in the second period just 1:31 in. Nieto caught up with the puck along the boards and then sent it across the ice to Nick Bonino. The pass missed Bonino but Marc-Edouard Vlasic was there to clean it up and send it back to Bonino. While that was going on, Nieto made his way to the net in time to catch the pass from Bonino for the shot.
Alexander Barkov scored at 1:26 of the third. Jonathan Huberdeau passed the puck to him inside the face-off circle. Barkov leaned around Radim Simek for the shot and scored his 20th of the season. Assists went to Huberdeau and Carter Verhaeghe.
Jonathan Dahlen scored his second of the night at 4:40. This time, he took the shot from the right face-off dot, again through traffic with a nice screen from Jasper Weatherby. Assists went to Brent Burns and Nick Bonino.
At 5:31, the Panthers got the puck in the net but the goal was called back for offside.
Mason Marchment brought Florida within one at 7:30. With the puck trapped behind Reimer and the post, Sam Reinhart poked at it until it came loose and Marchment nudged it in over the line. It was Marchment’s sixth of the season.
Jonathan Huberdeau tied the game at 9:38. From a prime shooting position, Verhaeghe made a pass that went under Brent Burns to reach Huberdeau on the other side of the slot. With all the attention on Verhaeghe, Huberdeau had an open net to shoot at. Assists went to Verhaeghe and Mackenzie Weegar.
Sam Bennett scored the game-winner 1:08 into overtime. Huberdeau held the puck behind the net for quite a while until Bennett was available to receive the pass and take the shot. Assists went to Huberdeau and Forsling.
The Sharks won the face-off battle in two of three periods, and finished with 51% of the wins. Their power play got three shots on goal and scored on both power plays. Their penalty kill allowed four shots and had one shot short-handed. They held their own on the shot clock in the first period, which ended 17-16 Panthers. But, in the second and third periods, they were out-shot 20-10 and 12-8. The Panthers had the only shot in overtime.
Joe Thornton had two shots on goal in 11:41 TOI for the Panthers.
The Sharks next play on Sunday in Carolina against the Hurricanes at 2:00 PM PT.