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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 3, Sharks 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 3 0 0 3
Sharks 0 1 1 0 2
FLA - B. Pirri (9), Q. Howden (3), S. Upshall (14)
SJS - PP - M. Havlat (8), B. Burns (19)

SAN JOSE —  ( - Roberto Luongo stopped 52 shots, and Brandon Pirri, Quinton Howden and Scottie Upshall scored second-period goals to lift the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday night.

Luongo made 28 of his saves in the third period for the Panthers (26-35-8), who snapped the Sharks' six-game winning streak. The Sharks outshot Florida 29-2 in the third period but scored only once; Brent Burns beat Luongo with 3:03 remaining to cut the margin to one goal.

"It's pretty impressive. He's a confident guy. He's our backbone. We'd like to help him out a little more. He did his job and he's the reason we got the two points."

- Panthers forward Brandon Pirri on the play of goaltender Roberto Luongo.
1. Lu Sanity: The Sharks had great chances, particularly early on at the Shark Tank and then in the third period, but Roberto Luongo stood strong between the pipes in turning aside 52 shots in the victory. Over half of his saves (28) came in the third period with Florida holding on to the lead and San Jose looking to tie the game. He came up with a big save after Patrick Marleau set up Logan Couture, who found himself all alone in front of the net with 7:54 remaining in the first. Then, a minute after San Jose scored in the second, #1 made a big save on Dan Boyle on a cross-ice one-timer. Late in the third, he stoned Joe Pavelski on the doorstep to keep the game at 3-2.

2. Young Gun Trio: The Young Gun trio of Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Pirri and Quinton Howden were all over the ice on Tuesday night against the Sharks. The line continued to produce offensively for the Cats as they turned a deficit into a lead just 17 seconds apart midway through the second. First, it was Pirri collecting his sixth point (3-3-6) in the last five games as he netted his ninth of the season. Right after, Howden stretched his own point streak to four games (3-1-4) when he scored his third of the season. The new linemates were buzzing all night, as they finished with four points (2-2-4) and 10 shots.

3. Battling For Two: Florida did a great job in weathering the early and late storms in San Jose, with the Sharks throwing a lot at Luongo. The big saves by the netminder gave them confidence and they turned that into momentum. After a scoreless first, the Panthers erupted for three goals in the second, including a Scottie Upshall goal late in the period to give the crowd something to boo about. It wasn't a perfect road game but it was a big two points. Florida has shown all season that they can hang with and beat the NHL's best, especially in traditionally tough places to play (Montreal, Colorado, Vancouver, etc).
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@PenielBermudez1: Wow. What a game by Lu. He sure stole the show tonight! @FlaPanthers @strombone1

@SoFloMC: Best reason to be a lil slow at work tomorrow... What. A. Game!! Big fat W for our @FlaPanthers Well done boys!! #NHLSoFloMC

@MrBoothinator: Huge character win for @FlaPanthers at the Shark Tank! 2 points by Pirri and 52 saves by Roberto Luongo en route to a 3-2 victory! :)

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Joe Fiore: Who replaced Luongo with a wall?

Chris Cui: Lou is the best goalie in the world!

Mitch Conner: Now THAT'S a game. Well done boys!

1. Called up on Monday, forward Garrett Wilson made his NHL debut against the Sharks, finishing with three hits on 8:07 of ice time.

7. Picking up two points on the night (1-1-2), center Brandon Pirri has seven points (3-4-7) in his last five games, recording three multi-point games over that span.

14.8. Scottie Upshall scored his 14th of the season with 14.8 seconds remaining in the second period.

17. Pirri and Quinton Howden scored 17 seconds apart (11:23 and 11:40 mark) in the second period to take the lead against the Sharks.

52. Finishing with 52 saves, it was the second time in Roberto Luongo's Panthers career where he made more than 50 saves in a win. He made 53 saves in a 3-2 win against Washington on Dec. 18, 2005.

Roberto Luongo
Was easily the best player the entire night (and the busiest), turning aside 52 shots in the win. Made 28 stops in the third alone.

54 Shots, 52 Saves, .963 SV%
Florida heads south and out of the state of California for their only non-Cali game of the four-game road trip on Thursday as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes. They'll then return to California for games against Los Angeles and Anaheim over the weekend before heading back home for a three-game homestand against Ottawa (3/25), Carolina (3/27) and Montreal (3/29). It will be the second time in less than two weeks that the teams will meet after Phoenix earned a 3-1 victory in Sunrise on March 11. The Coyotes currently occupy eighth in the Western Conference with 77 points (33-25-11).

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