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The San Jose Sharks couldn't build off their comeback win over the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this week, falling 4-1 to the Florida Panthers last night.
The Sharks came out with a really strong opening frame, and while they couldn’t convert on an early power play, Alexander Barabanov opened the scoring only six minutes in, backhanding a rebound over Sergei Bobrovsky. The Panthers did start generating a bit of momentum in the back half of the frame, but the Sharks still escaped with the lead.
Sam Reinhart ended up tying the game for the Panthers early in the second period though, beating Kaapo Kahkonen after being given way too much time and space upon entering the Sharks’ zone. The Sharks ended up being outplayed for a lot of the back half of the period after that and were outshot 18-10, and in the final minute of the frame, Reinhart struck again, tipping a shot through Kahkoken to put Florida ahead through 40 minutes.
The Sharks didn’t get much going through a lot of the third period to try and tie it, but did have a really good opportunity late with a four-minute power play. However, it only resulted in two different shorthanded empty net goals to Eric Staal, as the Panthers held on for a win.
After a pretty strong start, the Sharks were outplayed through a good portion of the back 40 minutes of the game, being outshot 31-19 through the second and third periods combined.
The Sharks not being able to capitalize on the late power play was obviously a factor as well, after managing to keep it close until that point.
At the same time, the team did rely on Kaapo Kahkonen to keep them in it as the matchup went along. Kahkonen put together a second strong game in a row and over the last two outings, he’s stopped 72 of 77 shots, and had to make some really good saves last night in Florida. Considering he may be the team's only NHL-level netminder left if James Reimer is dealt before the trade deadline, it's good to see him stringing together some quality starts.
The Sharks now have a break until Sunday, when they face the Washington Capitals to close out their road trip.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM FEBRUARY
Analyzing the Ryan Merkley trade
Sharks trade Jaycob Megna to Kraken
Sharks return to action with comeback win over Lightning