Let’s review: Luongo, Panthers shut out Sharks
SAN JOSE — Bob Boughner made a successful return to SAP Center on Thursday night, in more ways than one.
His two successful coach’s challenges enabled goalie Roberto Luongo to record his 74th career shutout as the Florida beat the Sharks 2-0 in Boughner’s return after leaving the San Jose staff as an assistant to become head coach of the Panthers.
“Even though they pressed hard in the third (period), I liked our composure,” Boughner said. “We’re protecting leads the right way.”
Nothing but frustration could be felt coming from the opposing locker room.
“You score a couple of goals that get taken away just from close calls, which is going to happen,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. “Unfortunately, two happened in the same game.”
Nick Bjugstad capped a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play with his fourth goal of the season at 12:23 of the third period to give the visitors a two-goal edge. Sharks rookie defenseman Tim Heed turned the puck over to Radim Vrbata, who fed Jamie McGinn deep in the San Jose end. The ex-Shark made a perfect behind-the-back pass to an unmarked Bjugstad, who beat San Jose goalie Martin Jones.
The Sharks thought they tied the game early in the third, but for the second time in as many periods had it overturned by video review.
“You can feel the momentum as they go in the net,” Pavelski said. “But, regardless, we need to be better.”
Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and forward Joonas Donskoi were ruled to have interfered with Luongo, who was struggling to freeze a puck shot by Kevin Labanc 1:58 into San Jose’s second power play of the game.
Vlasic and Donskoi shoved their sticks into Luongo’s right pad and spun the goalie into the net and the puck across the goal line at 5:16. Ruled a good goal on the ice, the officials took the tally off the scoreboard after a lengthy review.
“They got the video,” Pavelski said. “I don’t know.”
Boughner, meanwhile, wasn’t surprised by the performance of his netminder.
“”He never ceases to amaze,” the coach said. “Especially on the scrambles tonight. He looked so confident, and he wasn’t over-moving. He was just real square every time. He gives us confidence, the way he’s playing right now. We sort of play with a little bit of swagger when we see that kind of Luongo.”
Florida broke through exactly one minute into the middle session for the only goal of the first two periods.
Colton Sceviour won a puck battle along the end boards from Sharks rookie defenseman Joakim Ryan and punched him his third goal of the season on a second-try stuff shot to the right of Jones.
San Jose thought it tied the game at 4:37, but Joe Thornton’s feed to a locked and loaded Tim Heed bled barely over the blue line before the defenseman slapped a shot from 60 feet and one inch past Luongo. The call on the ice was overturned after Panthers coach (and ex-Sharks assistant) Bob Boughner asked for a video review.
The first period offered little in terms of a clue who would win this one. The Sharks outshot the Panthers 10-9 in a penalty-free opening 20 minutes. San Jose had the better of zone time, but Florida had the best offensive chance.
Bjugstad split Sharks defensemen Brent Burns and Ryan to break in alone on Jones, who deflected a rising shot with his left glove out of play with 33.6 seconds left in the period.
“It wasn’t enough of an effort from anybody besides Jones, who made some big saves,” Shark forward Tomas Hertl said. “We have to play better. We have to start fast in our building. They have to feel the heat from us.”
NOTES: A tribute to Florida F Micheal Haley was played on the video board early in the first period to thank the ex-Shark for his time in San Jose. ... Sharks D Paul Martin (ankle) remains on injured reserve despite participating in full practices for the last two weeks. He’s missed 14 straight games. ... Florida’s three-game road trip continues Saturday in Los Angeles. ... San Jose next hosts Boston on Saturday. ... Florida’s D Alex Petrovic, D Derek MacKenzie and C Curtis Valk were healthy scratches. ... San Jose LW Jannik Hansen was scratched for the eighth time in 10 games. D Dylan DeMelo and C Ryan Carpenter also did not dress.