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Burns, Stalock help Sharks defeat Panthers

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

SAN JOSE -- The San Jose Sharks started fast, getting first-period goals from Brent Burns and Joonas Donskoi, and rolled to a 5-2 victory against the Florida Panthers on Thursday at SAP Center.

Patrick Marleau, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Chris Tierney also scored for the Sharks (7-6-0), who matched their season-high in goals.

"I liked our energy," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We had good jump right from the drop of the puck. We got the first goal, the first two goals, which was key. We wanted a good start. We did a lot of good things. Special teams are still a work in progress, but 5-on-5 I really liked how we played."

Sharks backup goaltender Alex Stalock, who lost each of his first two starts this season, made 31 saves for his first victory since April 1 against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Sharks ended Florida's four-game winning streak in San Jose and defeated the Panthers for the second time in the past nine games. The victory was San Jose's first against Florida at SAP Center since Dec. 8, 2005.

Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri scored for Florida (5-5-3), and backup goaltender Al Montoya allowed four goals on 31 shots. The Panthers have lost four straight games.

The Panthers opened their road trip Wednesday with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks and faced San Jose in the second game of back-to-back games.

"We talked about it this morning," Stalock said. "We know what it's like to play back-to-back on the road. The home team pounces on them early it makes for a long night. We stayed on them, and our lines tonight when we got in their zone 5-on-5 it was fun to watch."

The Sharks had allowed the first goal in six of their previous seven games, but Burns gave them a 1-0 lead at 6:37 of the first period with his fourth goal. With Joe Thornton cutting in front of the crease, Burns fired a shot from the right point that got past Montoya.

Donskoi made it 2-0 at 9:26 of the first period, scoring his second goal of the season. There was a scramble for a loose puck in front of Montoya, and the rookie from Finland tapped it over the goal line. After a video review, the call on the ice stood.

"You fall behind 2-0 and it's tough to come back," Florida coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn't play our game. We played a loose game and gave them too many opportunities. We didn't create enough chances. We didn't play well. Almost everything they got was from us giving them the puck. We weren't sharp."

Florida cut San Jose's lead to 2-1 at 10:54 of the first period on Trocheck's fifth goal of the season. Trocheck lost a faceoff in the left circle in San Jose's end to Chris Tierney but quickly got the puck back, skated across the slot and beat a diving Stalock.

Marleau increased San Jose's lead to 3-1 at 3:46 of the second period. He tracked down a loose puck in the neutral zone, turned and skated behind defenseman Alex Petrovic in the left circle. Marleau cut back across the slot and beat Montoya with a backhand inside the right post for his fourth goal of the season and 997th career point.

"There was a little scrum in the neutral zone so everybody was kind of standing still a little bit and I was able to come with speed and get around the D," Marleau said.

Pirri answered with a power-play goal at 14:06 of the second. After Jussi Jokinen won a faceoff against San Jose's Tommy Wingels in the left circle, Brian Campbell sent a cross-ice pass to Pirri, whose one-timer went past Stalock.

Donskoi appeared to score his second goal of the game with 2:33 left in the second period, but Gallant challenged the call, arguing the Sharks were offside. After a video review, the goal was disallowed.

Vlasic made it 4-2 at 19:00 of the second period with his first goal of the season, scoring on a 3-on-2 rush. Rookie forward Nikolay Goldobin, who was called up Thursday from the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, sent Vlasic a cross-ice pass, and he snapped a shot from close range past Montoya.

"That was the story all night," DeBoer said. "We didn't sag, we didn't quit. I thought Goldobin gave us a real good game tonight for a good coming up. There were a lot of positives."

Tierney scored an empty-net goal with 1:06 left to play.

"We turned the puck over all night," Panthers defenseman Willie Mitchell said. "It was that simple. We've been in our end the better part of two weeks now. It's tough when you're defending all the time. We looked like a very young hockey club. Things you can get away with in junior hockey won't cut it here.

"San Jose has been to the playoffs and they know how to play. They made great plays with the puck. Our fundamentals just aren't good enough right now."

Panthers third-line center Dave Bolland was scratched because of a hand injury he sustained against Anaheim.

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