After a 2-1-0 road trip, the Panthers are opening a three-game homestand. The Panthers had one of their best efforts one night after delivering one of their worst.
Steve Shields made 30 saves and Byron Ritchie scored for the first time in over a year as Florida beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Thursday. Olli Jokinen and Mike Van Ryn also scored for the Panthers, who lost 5-1 at Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Shields, acquired from Boston on Oct. 5, made his second start in three games. He stopped 22 of 25 shots Wednesday after he replaced Roberto Luongo, who has played just 9:08 over the last three games after starting the first eight games.
Ritchie, who hadn’t scored since April 12, 2002, ended a 36-game drought with an unassisted goal later in the third.
San Jose tied the unbeaten Tampa Bay Lightning 2-2 on Thursday.
The Sharks rebounded from Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Carolina behind Evgeni Nabokov’s 33 saves. The tie was a step forward for the Sharks, now 0-3-4 in their last seven games.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” Sharks left wing Nils Ekman said. “We’re not totally satisfied, but we’re happy with the point we got.”
The Sharks, though, are going to have to find a way to convert on more scoring chances if they hope to beat the Panthers. San Jose has scored just 17 goals.
If center Vincent Damphousse can pick up his scoring, that would certainly help things. Damphousse, who has 420 goals in his career, has not scored in his last 17 games. He does lead the team with five assists, though.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 30): Sharks - 6 points, 5th place, 6 PB, Pacific Division. Panthers - 10 points, 3rd place, 3 PB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Sharks - Patrick Marleau, 3 goals; Damphousse, 5 assists and 5 points; Wayne Primeau, 34 PIM. Panthers - Jokinen, 5 goals; Viktor Kozlov, 6 assists and 10 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 37 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 30): Sharks - Power play: 14.6 percent (7 for 48), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (44 for 54), 23rd. Panthers - Power play: 10.2 percent (5 for 44), 28th. Penalty killing: 86.4 percent (57 for 66), 10th.
GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (0-4-4, 1 SO, 2.77 GAA); Vesa Toskala (1-1-0, 0, 2.50). Panthers - Luongo (2-5-2, 0, 2.06); Shields (2-0-0, 0, 2.46).
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Sharks, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 16; Sharks, 7-3. At Sunrise, Fla., Scott Thornton had two goals and two assists to lead the Sharks.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 1-3-1-0 on the road; Panthers - 1-2-1-0 at home.