Preview: Sharks Take on Surging Panthers

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

Jaromir Jagr, NHL, Florida Panthers, Milestones
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

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.

San Jose Barracuda forwards Kevin Labanc and Nikolay Goldobin (Scott Dinn/San Jose Barracuda)

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.


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 

Projected Lines:


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

Starting Goaltender:

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

Projected Lines:


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

Starting Goaltender

Roberto Luongo (Expected)

(Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

Game Notes

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap]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.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap]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.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap]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.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap]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.

[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap]The Sharks are 13-9-7-2 against the Panthers in franchise history.