Miscues cost depleted Sharks in loss to Florida Panthers

©The Mercury News

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks have been an offensively challenged group for most of the season. Missing all of the firepower they are at the moment only exacerbates the issue.

So if they want to continue to stay competitive, they simply can’t afford to hurt themselves.

That’s what happened Monday, as the Florida Panthers took advantage of a couple of miscues by the depleted Sharks to pick up a 5-3 win at SAP Center.

Dylan Gambrell, Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks and Aaron Dell made 29 saves in the loss, San Jose’s fourth straight on home ice.

Mike Hoffman gave Florida a 2-1 lead, as he intercepted a Brent Burns pass intended for Brenden Dillon at the Panthers blue line and scored on a breakaway at the 11:00 mark of the second period.

Colton Sceviour provided some needed insurance for the Panthers at the 10:04 mark of the third period, firing a shot on Dell and collecting his own rebound past defenseman Tim Heed before he scored his sixth of the season. Anton Stralman gave Florida a 4-2 lead at the 17:06 mark of the third.

In the first two periods, the Sharks killed all four penalties they took but also went 0-for-3 on the power play.

The Sharks have lost defenseman Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl to season-ending injuries. Logan Couture remains out as he continues to rehabilitate from a fracture in his ankle, and Evander Kane was serving the second game of a three-game suspension that was handed down by the NHL over the weekend. All four have regularly seen time on the Sharks’ first power play unit.

That’s a combined 57 goals and 92 assists missing from a lineup that, before Monday, had scored an average of 2.59 goals in 58 games in all situations. Only Columbus (2.58), Anaheim (2.52), Los Angeles (2.46) and Detroit (1.98) had scored less often.

Labanc’s power play goal at the 14:34 mark of the third period was the Sharks’ first with the man advantage in 10 tries in three games.

The game was the last at home for the Sharks before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, as they begin a four-game road trip against Metropolitan Division teams Thursday in New Jersey.

Well out of a playoff spot, the Sharks figure to be sellers by the deadline, and could have a different looking lineup by the time the return to San Jose for their next home game — Feb. 27 against the Devils.

The game was tied 1-1 after the teams exchanged even strength goals.

Evgenii Dadonov scored at the 4:52 mark of the first period as he collected his own rebound and shoveled it past Dell for his 24th goal of the season and a 1-0 Panthers lead. The Sharks turned it over in the neutral zone, leading to Florida’s rush up the ice, and seemed disorganized in their own end as Dadonov had time in front of the net.

The Sharks’ fourth line tied the game at the 11:30 mark.

Alex True came in the forecheck and pressured Bobrovsky behind the Florida net. True then pushed the puck into the corner, where the Sharks created another turnover. Antti Suomela came up with puck near the slot and passed it to Gambrell. who fired it past Bobrovsky for his fourth goal of the season and second in as many games.

Suomela left the game after he as injured in the second period Monday by a hit from Panthers defenseman Josh Brown, and did not return.


©2020 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)