(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski scored his 300th career NHL goal Friday, in a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center. Goaltender Aaron Dell won his second in a row with 39 saves, and Chris Tierney scored his seventh of the year with the game winner. For the Panthers, Colton Sceviour scored the only goal in the first period, and goaltender Roberto Luongo made 30 saves on 32 shots in a losing effort for Florida.
Joe Pavelski’s goal was his first since November 1st, after an eleven game dry spell. That 300th tally proved elusive for the Sharks captain. Of the milestone, Pavelksi said: “Guess I’m proud of that number, a lot of hard work. But we’ve seen so many great milestones recently, last year too, with Patty and Jumbo. It’s one of those things, it’s a good number but I believe there’s, you know, so much more hockey out there and I’ll keep trying to score some goals.”
Pavelski’s goal was challenged by Florida coach Bob Boughner, the first challenge that went the Sharks way for the first time in a while. The second Sharks goal was also subjected to review, after being called no goal on the ice. Ironically, the last time the Sharks played the Panthers, on November 16 at SAP Center, the Sharks had two goals called back on review, and they lost that game 2-0. It may be that the Sharks’ streak of bad luck with goal reviews has ended.
Of finally having a challenge go their way, Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said: “Well, yeah, first one of this year, at least it feels like it. You know, I think, we felt it was a goal, so glad to get it. We’ve had enough of those go the other way, and it’s cost us some points. So it all evens out.”
The Sharks went into the game without Joonas Donskoi, injured in Monday’s game in Philadelphia. Donskoi joined the list of injured players that currently includes forwards Tim Heed and Barclay Goodrow, and defenseman veteran Paul Martin. Melker Karlsson was back in the lineup after missing time due to injury, and he left Friday’s game during the third period. Goaltender Martin Jones was dressed as the backup after missing Monday’s game, indicating that he may be ready to play Saturday.
Of the team’s spate of injuries, DeBoer said: “We’re asking other guys to jump in. You know, Tierns makes a play, the big guys are scoring some goals for us lately, Jumbo and Pav, you know Couture’s line’s been good all year. Every injury, every guy that goes down, obviously it’s testing your depth and we don’t have a lot of margin of error. There are a lot of two-on-one games, but we’re getting comfortable in those games so that’s a good thing.”
The Sharks started the game a little slowly, but picked up the pace by the middle of the first period. Nevertheless, they still gave up the first goal in the final two minutes of the period. Dell made the first save, but juggled the puck when it came back on the rebound. The goal initially was given to Panthers captain Derek MacKenzie, but would up being Colton Sceviour’s. Assists went to Alex Petrovic and Micheal Haley.
Joe Pavelski’s tying goal came 11:20 into the second period. Joe Thornton’s pass from behind the net went off of Florida’s Aleksander Barkov and reversed direction. It went right to Pavelski, where he was set up at the corner of the net. As he gained control of the puck, his skate made contact with Luongo’s skate, which was the basis of the coach’s challenge. Luongo was looking in the other direction, which makes sense since Thornton had passed the puck in that direction. Assists on the goal went to Thornton and Timo Meier.
The game winner came 7:13 into the third period. Melker Karlsson’s backhand shot went off of Luongo and to Chris Tierney below the goal line. Tierney shot it back in, bouncing it off of Luongo’s back and into the net. The goal was initially not called as such, but after video review, the NHL made the correction. Assists went to Karlsson and Brent Burns. It was Tierney’s third goal in his last four games.
The Sharks did not get a chance on the power play, but their penalty kill went 2-0 in the game. Marc-Edouard Vlasic led the team in shots on goal with four.
The Sharks next play on Saturday, against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 4 pm PT.