The San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers conclude their season series tonight at the SAP Center in San Jose. The Sharks won the first game in south Florida back on Nov. 10. The Panthers have been rejuvenated by the return of young stars from the injury list while the Sharks ended a four-game losing skid their last time out against the New Jersey Devils.
Panthers Finally Getting Healthy
The Panthers’ big horses are almost healthy, and just in time. Florida sits just outside the playoff picture with 58 points, five back of the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs. Welcoming Aleksander Barkov (back) and Jonathan Huberdeau (lower-body) back into the line-up and both playing for just the fourth time this season is a huge boost to the Panthers’ playoff push.
Ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr skates on the right wing of Barkov and Huberdeau and a restored top line allows the second line of Jussi Jokinen, Vincent Trocheck, and Reilly Smith to remain intact while they’re clicking. Trocheck leads the Panthers in points with 20 goals and 18 assists through 54 games.
The Kids Are All Right
The Sharks recalled one of their top AHL scorers last night in Nikolay Goldobin. Goldobin has patiently been awaiting the call-up while ranking third in points on the San Jose Barracuda nearly all season.
His recall to the Sharks comes on the heels of a three-assist game for the ‘Cuda in a 4-1 win last night against the Tucson Roadrunners. It was the Barracuda’s ninth straight win, a franchise best, and the ninth multi-assist night for Goldobin this season. The former Sarnia Sting star has one goal and one assist in nine career NHL games.
The Sharks also recalled Tim Heed, second in AHL scoring by a defenseman and the big Swiss winger Timo Meier. All told, the Sharks continue to enjoy the best organizational depth in their history. Goldobin is the 10th Barracuda to be sent up to the Sharks. Kevin Labanc, who lit the AHL on fire in his first dozen games, continues to impress at the NHL level and was most recently placed on the Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.
— San Jose Barracuda (@sjbarracuda) February 15, 2017
Florida Panthers at San Jose Sharks
SAP Center – 7:30 p.m. PST
Broadcast channels – NBCSN
Radio: Sharks Radio Network
2016-17 Season Series:
Nov. 10: Sharks 4 – Panthers 2
San Jose Sharks – 34-18-5 (73 Points)
Home Record: 18-7-2
Hot Players: Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc, Patrick Marleau
Key Injuries: Dylan DeMelo, Joonas Donskoi
Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Nikolay Goldobin – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (Expected)
Florida Panthers – 24-20-10 (58 points)
Road Record: 10-10-7
Hot Players: Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Jaromir Jagr
Key Injuries: None
Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Jaromir Jagr
Jussi Jokinen – Vincent Trocheck – Reilly Smith
Michael Sgarbossa – Nick Bjugstad –Jonathan Marchessault
Shawn Thornton –Derek Mackenzie –Colton Sceviour
Keith Yandle – Jason Demers
Mark Pysyk – Aaron Ekblad
Michael Matheson – Alex Petrovic
Roberto Luongo (Expected)
1)Jonathan Huberdeau will play in just his fourth game of the season since returning from a lower-body injury that kept him out for the first 51 games. The third overall pick in 2011 has potted two goals and three assists in three games.
2)Brent Burns’ season from another planet continues. The colorful defenseman is fourth in the NHL in points (59) and four back of Connor McDavid for tops in the league. He also leads the NHL in shots on goal and is the Sharks’ leading goal scorer with 24 tallies.
Hilarious look at the preposterous season Brent Burns is having himself. pic.twitter.com/weMSqNueD2
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 7, 2017
3)The legendary Jaromir Jagr is one point away from 1,900 in his legendary career. He is third on the Panthers with 31 points. Jagr sits at 1,899 career points in the NHL, second to Wayne Gretzky.
4)Patrick Marleau will play his 600th consecutive game tonight against Florida. The long-time Shark winger will also be honored for his 500th career goal, collected February 2 against the Vancouver Canucks.
5)The Sharks are 13-9-7-2 against the Panthers in franchise history.