Sharks continue hurricane weekend gauntlet


January 29, 2022; Sunrise, Florida, USA; San Jose Sharks center Jonathan Dahlen (76) celebrates with left wing Matt Nieto (83) and left wing Rudolfs Balcers and left wing Jonah Gadjovich (42) after a goal against the Florida Panthers at during the third period at FLA Live Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay – USA TODAY Sports

The San Jose Sharks couldn’t have asked for a much tougher weekend.

On Saturday, they blew a two-goal lead in the third period and lost 5-4 in overtime to host Florida, the first-place team in the Eastern Conference.

On Sunday, the Sharks are set to play their second game in as many days, taking on the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“This team has lost three games at this building all year,” Sharks captain Logan Couture said of the Panthers, who are 23-3-0 at home this season. “The (defenders) worked their (backs). The guys came from the AHL and helped the team tremendously. We fought and it was good to have a point.

Jonathan Dahlen scored twice for San Jose, who lost for the first time this season after leading early in the third period (15-0-1). Sharks goaltender James Reimer made 45 saves.

“It’s a great hockey team and (Reimer) played a great game,” Dahlen said. “It’s the fastest game I’ve seen in my career.”

“It was a quick game and they’re coming in waves,” San Jose coach Bob Boughner said. “A very good offensive team, number 1 in the league in puck possession and you can see why. We get a point on the road in a building that does not forgive visiting teams.

Carolina is 15-4-1 at home this season and has won three straight and six of seven overall.

The Hurricanes beat visitors New Jersey 2-1 on Saturday, benefiting from the return of goaltender Antti Raanta, who made 24 saves in his first appearance since Jan. 1 due to an upper-body injury.

“The only thing was to fight and try to work hard,” Raanta said. “The skill is there, so you know if you work hard you’re going to be successful. It didn’t feel like a four-week break. I just went over there and played the game.

“It was a lot of hard work (to rehabilitate). Of course, it’s good to be rewarded.

Jordan Martinook and Andrei Svechnikov scored in the first period for Carolina.

Martinook, however, gave most of the credit to Raanta.

“I said to him after the game, ‘It’s the Rants that I’ve seen steal a lot of games,'” said Martinook, who previously played with the goaltender in Arizona. “It was kind of vintage Rants right there. … He’s had injuries and he’s recovering.

Raanta only had to face three shots in the final period.

“That’s the way to play ahead,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “The first two periods weren’t great. But give the guys a lot of credit because when the game was on the line, they upped it.

The Hurricanes reached the midpoint of their season with a 30-9-2 record for 62 points, the best in franchise history at the midpoint. The previous high was 58 points, achieved in their 2005-06 season and again last year.

–Field level media

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