NHL Game Summary - Florida at San Jose
(Thursday, December 8th)
Final Score: San Jose 6, Florida 2
San Jose, CA (Sports Network) - Mark Smith scored twice during a four-goal surge in the second period and Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves, as the streaking San Jose Sharks defeated the Florida Panthers, 6-2, at the Shark Tank.
Patrick Marleau contributed a goal and two assists for the Sharks, who have won four straight following their acquisition of centerman Joe Thornton. San Jose had lost 10 consecutive games prior to the trade. Alyn McCauley and Grant Stevenson also scored in the victory.
"It definitely shook things up," said Marleau about the trade. "Having Joe here is great."
Stephen Weiss and Jozef Stumpel scored for Florida, which has dropped three straight games. Jamie McLennan allowed six goals on 24 shots in the loss.
The teams traded goals in the opening period.
San Jose opened up a 1-0 lead just after the 11-minute mark. Marleau fired a wrist shot from near the left hash mark that hit the post, but the rebound caromed directly to McCauley who scored from the low slot.
With 5:55 remaining, the Panthers tied it up. Following a flurry of shots in front, Weiss chipped the puck over the shoulder of Nabokov from the inner portion of the right circle.
The Sharks had a two-man advantage for over a minute in the early stages of the second period, but McLennan made several nice saves. However, just after both penalties expired, a strange bounce off the back of the net led to a backhander by Josh Langfeld. McLennan made the initial save, but the rebound was stuffed home by Smith from near the left post at 5:23.
Under four minutes later, Smith tallied again for a 3-1 San Jose edge. Langfeld fed the puck to Smith behind the net before he skated around to the bottom of the right circle and, from a sharp angle, wristed the disc into the cage up high to the near side.
"The second one, (Langfeld) did a great job," said Smith. "He threw it around to me behind the net, I came out and (went) upstairs with it. Give me an inch up there, and I'll put it right on the bar."
When Florida's Steve Montador was whistled for interference at 11:03, the Sharks went to work on the power play and Marleau's 12th goal of the season pushed the San Jose lead to three goals. His rebound lit the lamp after a scramble in front with 7:58 remaining in the second stanza.
"(Marleau) is playing the best hockey I have ever seen him play," said Sharks head coach Ron Wilson. "He's competing at both ends."
Marleau continued to provide the offensive spark for the Sharks, who scored again under three minutes later. Marleau hustled in on a partial breakaway and was stopped by McLennan. The rebound trickled near the goal line, where Stevenson pushed it in at 14:56.
The Panthers cut their deficit to 5-2 with 4:20 remaining in the middle session. Jay Bouwmeester fired a wrist shot from the left point before a beautiful deflection by Stumpel in the slot beat Nabokov.
Florida did not mount much offensive pressure in the final period, and Scott Thornton's late goal, assisted by cousin Joe, capped the scoring.
San Jose is now 4-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season...The Sharks are 6-3-2 at home in 2005-06...The Panthers have now lost 11 consecutive road contests...Florida is 0-6-1 in its last six tilts against the Sharks, who have won their last four at home against the Panthers...Stumpel's goal was his first of the season...The Panthers were scoreless on five power-play chances, while the Sharks finished 1-for-4 with the extra skater.
12/09 02:08:15 ET