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Small Crowd Greets Thornton in His Return to San Jose, Panthers Win 3-2 in OT

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The San Jose Sharks welcome Joe Thornton back to SAP Center for the first time since Mar. 2020. It was a small crowd of 12,276, but the Sharks put on a good show, as Logan Couture and Nicolas Meloche gave San Jose a 2-1 first period lead.

Period 1

4 in: Seeing Reedy more and more comfortable with the puck.

Couture goal: It’s Karlsson’s shot that took out Forsling. The Panthers d-man goes right off after the San Jose Sharks take advantage.

8 in: Oooh that’s a hard pick on Gadjovich from Barkov. Could’ve been called.

Huberdeau goal: Ouch. No man’s land pass from Meier to Burns. Karlsson maybe could’ve helped out harder on that pass, but he was probably surprised by it too. Didn’t have enough zip.

Meloche goal: Looks clean, Knight will want that back.

Karlsson has had some pop here tonight, his against the grain backhand pass to Reedy just misses. Starts with him dusting Luostarinen at the point.

Period 2

Not sure why only Gadjovich goes off there.

9 in: Vlasic takes a beat there in NZ, and Luostarinen just blows by him all the way to the slot. Reimer saves his bacon there.

9 left: Couture quick on PK’er to force turnover, earn Meier another chance. Have liked Couture a lot recently. Just not Meier’s night on the PP though, tries a drop pass in zone to Burns, nobody home, Timo just looks skyward.

7 left: Meier heels a one-timer on PP.

6 left: Nice stop and freeze by Barabanov, who then seams it to Reedy. Reedy also distributed the puck well on this PP.

Bonino leads both teams with five shots. Hertl 12-for-17 so for on the draw.

Period 3

Natural Stat Trick has Florida up 6-1 High-Danger at 5-on-5, but they’re up just 9-7 Slot Shots. San Jose Sharks have had a lot of power plays. Sharks have to generate more at even strength, but I guess generating a grip of PPs is generating something really good.

Vatrano goal: Well, that’s how dangerous that the Panthers are, they can bury a guy as talented as Vatrano on their fourth line. Sharks haven’t got out of their zone at 5-on-5 so far in this period.

5 in: Finally, San Jose Sharks generate something at 5-on-5, Meier ahead of play, brilliant Burns feed, but Knight able to fight off the breakaway. Tide turning hard for Panthers.

Scout asked me, “Have you noticed John Leonard tonight?” Can’t say I really have.

8 in: No goal, right call.

10 left: Middleton wins battle with two Panthers behind net.

Panthers 11-3 shots through 11 minutes.

5 left: Dahlen does a nice job pressing play into NZ, gaining OZ, even without a lot of speed. Chipped it to himself and won a battle.

OT

Meier-Couture-Karlsson to start.

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