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After rare low-scoring loss, Panthers look for better day vs. Sharks

Mar 7, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) makes a pass during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing defeat to open a season-long seven-game road trip, the Florida Panthers will remain in California on Tuesday for a visit to the San Jose Sharks.

The Panthers saw their five-game win streak come to an end Sunday with a 3-2 shootout defeat to the Los Angeles Kings. The result did extend Florida’s points streak to six consecutive games overall (5-0-1). The Panthers also have earned points in six consecutive road games (5-0-1).

The Panthers were closing in on a 2-1 victory after holding the Kings scoreless since just past the midway part of the first period when Jonathan Huberdeau was called for elbowing with just over a minute remaining in the game.

The Kings pulled goalie Jonathan Quick and turned a six-on-four advantage into the game-tying goal from Martin Frk with 32 seconds remaining in regulation. After a scoreless overtime period, Quick got the best of Panthers goalie Spencer Knight in the shootout.

“Obviously, we would have liked to put them away early,” Florida defenseman Radko Gudas said. “We had our chances, but (Quick) is one of the best goaltenders in the league for a reason for the last decade. He played really well. I just thought we could have won that game earlier.”

Eetu Luostarinen scored a short-handed goal less than a minute into the second period, and Brandon Montour added another goal three minutes later, but the Panthers failed to score over the final 41 minutes of regulation and overtime.

It was an unlikely quiet stretch from a team that leads the NHL with 4.12 goals per game and was held under three goals for the first time in 12 contests.

The Panthers and Sharks will meet for the first time since Jan. 29 when Florida earned a 5-4 home victory in overtime. Aleksander Barkov, Mason Marchment and Huberdeau all scored third-period goals to force extra time and Sam Bennett delivered the game-winner at 1:08 of overtime.

The Sharks had a pair of power-play goals from Jonathan Dahlen in the defeat, which was the beginning of a seven-game losing streak. San Jose also was in the midst of a run where they lost nine of 10.

Since that losing skid ended, the Sharks are 4-3-1 going back to Feb. 24 and also will enter off a meeting with the Kings. San Jose has actually played its last two games against the Kings, defeating them 4-3 in overtime in Southern California on Thursday, then winning 5-0 in at home on Saturday.

Tomas Hertl scored two goals in Saturday’s game and Adin Hill made 29 saves to record the shutout in his first game in over a month because of a lower-body injury.

Hill is doubtful for Tuesday’s game because of the same lingering lower-body issue. San Jose goalie James Reimer also is dealing with a lower-body issue, with Zach Sawchenko a possibility to return to goal after making 33 saves in his first career win Thursday.

“There are good days and bad days and sometimes it’s a mystery to me how he’s going to come in, so we’re a little bummed out about that,” Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said of Hill. “I thought that we played well as a team (Saturday), but he especially played well.”

–Field Level Media