Sharks falter in 3rd period, lose at Florida

SUNRISE, Fla. — For the Panthers, the All-Star break arrives when they are on a winning streak.

Frank Vatrano had a goal and three assists for a career-high four points to lift Florida to a 6-2 victory over the Sharks on Monday night, its third straight win after losing its previous seven games.

San Jose has dropped three games in a row.

Timo Meier and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks. Martin Jones allowed five goals on 21 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell with 12:38 left in the third period. Dell made eight saves.

After the game was tied 2-2, the Panthers scored two power-play goals in nine seconds during the third period. Evander Kane received a double-minor for high-sticking against Nick Bjugstad, and the Panthers made the most of the opportunity.

Keith Yandle gave Florida a 3-2 lead when his wrist shot from the left corner went high into the net at 2:27. Vincent Trocheck’s shot from the slot put the Panthers up 4-2 at 2:36.

“That’s the game. It’s 2-2 going into the third,” Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said. “At that point, we need a big kill. We need a big save, and we didn’t get either.”

The high-stick on Bjugstad drew blood.

“Obviously, it’s a tough play. You don’t mean to high-stick a guy, you’re just trying to go around him,” Kane said.

The Panthers beat Nashville and Toronto in their past two games and scored 13 goals in the process.

“Going into the break, that’s three wins in a row against some pretty good teams,” Vatrano said. “Obviously, there’s a break coming up, but you’ve got to keep it going.”

Trocheck, Yandle and Bjugstad each had a power-play goal for the Panthers. Mike Matheson and Aaron Ekblad also scored, Roberto Luongo stopped 27 shots and Aleksander Barkov added three assists.

Vatrano’s backhand stretched the margin to 5-2 at 7:22 and chased Jones.

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