Led by the red-hot Sam Reinhart, the visiting Florida Panthers will set out to continue their longtime dominance of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.
The Panthers are 9-0-0 in their last nine games against the Sharks, dating back to the 2018-19 season. The unbeaten streak includes their first meeting this season, a 3-1 home win on Oct. 24.
Reinhart scored the game-winning goal in that contest, which also marked the only time this season that the forward has collected a single point in a game. Reinhart’s other points have come in bunches, with nine multi-point performances in 14 games.
The high point came in Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, as Reinhart collected two goals and two assists. This matched Reinhart’s career high for points in a game, and he has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) over a four-game multi-point streak.
“(Reinhart has) got this great balance of intensity and then other times just thinking his way and finding holes,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “He’s got such great hands around the net. I’m happy for him because he’s worked hard to get himself to that point.”
Florida is on a four-game winning streak and is 7-1-1 in its last nine games.
A sturdy penalty kill has been a big factor in that success, as Florida’s opponents are just 2-for-20 on power plays over the Panthers’ last eight games. The team’s own power play might also be coming to life, as Florida was 2-for-4 (on goals from Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe) with the extra attacker against Chicago.
Not much has gone right for the Sharks over their dismal 2-12-1 start to the season, and struggling special-teams units are no exception. The Anaheim Ducks went 2-for-5 with the man advantage in San Jose’s 4-1 road loss to Anaheim on Sunday. The Sharks were 0-for-2 on power plays.
“We just don’t have a work ethic on our power play right now,” San Jose coach David Quinn said, pointing to how the two unsuccessful power plays Sunday left his team “deflated.”
“Really not a lot of pace, not a lot of urgency to our power play right now. You may not score but you need to gain some momentum off your power play and that’s not happening.”
Anaheim outshot San Jose 44-26, the second-highest shots total for a Sharks opponent this season. San Jose has been outshot in every game, and the team’s average of 38.4 shots allowed per game is the worst in the NHL.
It made for another tough night for Mackenzie Blackwood, who made 40 saves against the Ducks. Blackwood has gotten the majority of starts in net for San Jose, and he might get the nod again Tuesday over Kaapo Kahkonen.
Panthers backup goalie Anthony Stolarz has played in only two games this season, while Sergei Bobrovsky has been outstanding (.905 save percentage) and durable in starting 12 of Florida’s 14 games. Facing some lesser competition in San Jose, the Panthers could rest Bobrovsky and give Stolarz a rare start.
Defenseman Brandon Montour might make his season debut for Florida on Tuesday. Montour underwent shoulder surgery over the summer and has progressed to taking part in full practice sessions.
–Field Level Media
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