The San Jose Sharks used just about every second of the game to win their sixth straight last time out and look to match their season-high winning streak Thursday night when the Florida Panthers pay a visit. The Sharks received the winning goal from captain Joe Pavelski with 3.6 seconds left for a 5-4 victory at Winnipeg on Tuesday and have scored 25 times during their six-game run.
"It was a gutsy effort," San Jose coach Pete DeBoer told reporters after the win. "It was one of those nights, we easily could have said, 'Hey, the bounces aren't going our way' and packed it up. But we hung in there. This group's got a lot of resiliency." The Sharks, who lead Calgary by one point atop the Pacific Division with 12 games to go, have dropped three of the last four meetings with the Panthers after losing 6-2 at Sunrise, Fla., on Jan. 21. Florida is nine points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand, but top scorers Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are on a roll with six goals and 12 assists combined in the last three contests. "(Huberdeau and I) just try to hold each accountable and try to bring the best out of each other," Barkov, who leads the team with 77 points, told reporters. "We're playing with a really good player, too (Evgenii) Dadonov. As a line, we try to push each other more and more every shift and try to control the game and the play with the puck. We're having fun, so we'll try to continue."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FS Florida, NBCS California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (30-27-12): Sam Montembeault is expected to make his third straight start and first on the road Thursday after allowing three goals combined in consecutive wins over Minnesota and Detroit. Huberdeau, who has four goals and boasts a plus-7 in the last three games, is second on the team in points (74) while Barkov has moved within one of goal-scoring leader Mike Hoffman (31). Defenseman Keith Yandle has recorded nine points in his last 10 games to push his total to 54 - five shy of his career high in 2010-11 when he was with Phoenix.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (43-19-8): Gustav Nyquist scored twice Tuesday to give him three tallies in seven games since being acquired from Detroit and is one point from 300 for his career. "Smart player," DeBoer told reporters of Nyquist. "He fits with our group. Guys like to play with him. He's a puck hound out there and does a good job." Forwards Timo Meier (five goals) and Tomas Hertl (three) each own seven points in the last six games while Pavelski is four goals away from his career high of 41 in 2013-14 while defenseman Brent Burns leads the team with 73 points, but has only three in the last seven contests.
1. San Jose D Radim Simek suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's contest and is not expected to play against Florida.
2. Florida is 6-of-15 on the power play the last four games and entered Wednesday second in the league at 27.1 percent.
3. Sharks C Logan Couture was kept off the scoresheet Tuesday and remains one point from 500 for his career.
PREDICTION: Sharks 4, Panthers 3 Bet Now
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