SAN JOSE – Joe Pavelski’s two late goals forced overtime, but Jonathan Huberdeau converted in overtime to push the Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Sharks on Wednesday night at SAP Center.
Pavelski scored twice in the final three-and-a-half minutes of regulation to salvage a point for San Jose.
The first came when he was looking for Kevin Labanc cutting towards the net, and the puck directed in off of Michael Matheson’s stick at 16:39, to make it a 5-4 score.
Then, with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, Pavelski fired in his 20th of the season from between the circles with just 38 seconds remaining, finding the rebound of a puck that hit post. Roberto Luongo was hurt on the play, and James Reimer was forced to relieve him in net.
Huberdeau slipped in a pass from Aleksander Barkov to give the Panthers the extra point at 1:38.
The Sharks have just one win in their last six games (1-1-4), and remain four points ahead of Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division.
Nick Bjugstad broke a 3-3 tie early in the final frame, chipping in a pass from Alex Petrovic at 2:15 after Timo Meier turned it over in the defensive zone. It was his second of the night, after he began the game with just two goals in 26 games.
Barkov gave Florida some breathing room at 12:41, pushing over a dish in the slot from Jaromir Jagr. The play began when Petrovic kept a Chris Tierney clearing attempt in at the blue line.
Some early defensive miscues by the Sharks helped the Panthers jump to a 3-1 lead.
At 4:20 of the first period, Jussi Jokinen opened the scoring on a two-on-one, finishing off a pass through the seam from Reilly Smith after Brent Burns was caught too high in the neutral zone.
Burns tied the game just 31 seconds later on a wrist shot from high in the zone, but Nick Bjugstad got behind Brenden Dillon and finished off a breakaway at 5:35.
Barkov’s one-timer at 7:12 gave the Panthers a two-goal cushion. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s defensive zone giveaway preceded Barkov’s 12th goal.
San Jose got one back before the end of the first, when Joe Thornton and Joel Ward each got a piece of a Burns low wrister at 15:25. Ward was credited with his seventh, making it a 3-2 score after the first.
The Sharks dominated the second period, outshooting Florida 14-3 and getting the equalizer on a Vlasic score at 6:27. The defenseman’s blast deflected off of Barkov and through Luongo.
San Jose could have had more, but Pavelski couldn’t convert on a penalty shot midway through regulation, and a pair of power plays were squandered.
Burns, with one goal and one assist, is now tied for second in the NHL with Sidney Crosby, just two points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.
The Sharks and Panthers split their two-game season series.