Panthers 3, Sharks 2, OT

The Florida Panthers showed the San Jose Sharks what it’s like

to be on the wrong side of a third-period comeback.

Bryan Allen scored with 2:14 left in overtime to help the

Panthers rally from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Sharks

3-2 on Saturday for their first win in San Jose in 10 years.

The Panthers fell behind 2-0 in the first period before

gathering themselves in time to get a big win against one of the

top teams in the league.

“The first period, it looked like men with boys,” Panthers

coach Peter DeBoer said. “Then we found our legs and got our game

going and thought we did a good job coming back against arguably

the best team in the league.”

After becoming the first team in NHL history to win three

straight games in regulation when trailing after two periods, the

Sharks found themselves on the other side of a late comeback.

Shawn Matthias scored the equalizer off a spin move about 5

minutes into the third period and then set up the game-winner in

overtime for Florida. Matthias beat Joe Pavelski on a face off and

then went to the front of the net to set a screen for Allen, whose

shot from the point beat Thomas Greiss.

“We decided after the first – let’s win the next one and we’d

be right back into it,” Matthias said. “We did that and just kept

with the game plan. We know we’re playing desperate hockey right

now. We’re still trying to make the playoffs. Everybody was giving

it their all.”

That gave the Panthers their fourth win in five games as they

make a push for the playoffs. Florida entered the day eight points

behind Boston for the final playoff spot in the East.

The Sharks still gained a point and moved three points ahead of

Chicago for the best record in the Western Conference. They trail

Washington by three points for the best mark in the league. San

Jose starts a six-game road trip Sunday in Anaheim.

San Jose overcame one-goal deficits in the third period to beat

Montreal and Columbus last week before scoring a club-record six

goals in the third period Thursday to turn a 4-2 hole into an 8-5

victory over Nashville.

It was the performance in the first 40 minutes against the

Predators that had coach Todd McLellan fuming. It was the

performance late in this game that did in the Sharks.

They got first-period goals from Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau

to take a 2-0 lead but didn’t get anything else by Tomas Vokoun,

who made 37 saves.

“We came out and had a little fire in our belly and played

extremely hard in the first period,” McLellan said. “But we let

it get away from us. That’s the inconsistency in our game right

now. Obviously they heard the message at the start but now we

reversed the trend and didn’t finish real well. We have to move

on.”

Keith Ballard’s one-timer off a cross-ice pass from Radek Dvorak

got Florida on board early in the second period before Matthias

tied it just more than 5 minutes into the third.

Greiss lost in his first start since Feb. 10 at Columbus. He did

start three games at the Olympics for Germany, losing all three

times.

In the first four games of the homestand, the Sharks scored only

three of their 16 goals in the first two periods. The nearly

matched that in the first period alone against Florida.

“When they came out in the first, they were flying,” Allen

said. “It could have been a long game, and we just tried to stick

with it.”

Just more than 5 minutes into the game, the Sharks got on the

board when Marleau won a faceoff in the offensive zone. Clowe took

the puck near the boards and skated to the middle of the ice all

alone before beating Vokoun with a wrist shot through the pads to

make it 1-0. That ended a string of nine straight games that San

Jose had allowed the first goal.

The Sharks added to the lead late in the period on the power

play when Marleau one-timed a pass from Pavelski at the bottom of

the faceoff circle and beat Vokoun to the top of the net for his

41st goal.

“We got off to a much better start tonight which was good,”

Pavelski said. “That was one thing we addressed. Now we have to

figure out how to play with the lead.”

NOTES: The Sharks recalled D Jason Demers from Worcester before

the game to replace Douglas Murray, who is day to day after being

hit in the skate by a slap shot Thursday against Nashville. …

Florida C Stephen Weiss, who leads the team with 23 goals, played

two days after taking a shot off the foot on Thursday in Colorado.

C Jeff Taffe, who was recalled from the minors in case Weiss

couldn’t play, was scratched.