Faced with a third period deficit, the Florida Panthers did what has been done to them so many times this year.
After tying the game, the Panthers took the lead with 2:01 remaining in the third period, and held on for a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, Sunday night in South Florida.
Jason Garrison got the game winning goal on a slap shot from the left point. Garrison received a cross ice pass from Marty Reasoner, and drove a shot passed San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi. The goal was the result of a great shift by the Panthers, who hemmed the Sharks in their own zone for an extended period.
San Jose opened the scoring in the first period on a big shot from defenseman Kent Huskins. Huskins blasted one from just inside the left point, over the shoulder of Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
After a few mediocre power play attempts, the Panthers evened the score late in the second period, on a goal by Mike Santorelli. After Niemi directed the initial shot into the corner, Santorelli followed his own rebound and threw it back towards Niemi. The puck went off Niemi’s leg and into the net.
However, San Jose stole the momentum back early in the third period, on a goal by Joe Pavelski. A loose puck trickled off the post, before finding the stick of Pavelski, who chipped it passed Vokoun and into the net.
The Panthers tied the game for the second time midway through the third period, when Chris Higgins walked in off the left wall and backhanded a shot under Niemi’s legs. The goal ignited Florida, who controlled most of the final 10 minutes.
The Panthers welcome the Philadelphia Flyers for their fourth game in the homestand Wednesday night at the Bank Atlantic Center.