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Bobrovsky stops 30 shots, Panthers beat Sharks 5-1

Barkov, Yandle, Vatrano each had goal, assist for Panthers

San Jose's Marcus Sorensen looks for the puck as Florida Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky and teammate Keith Yandle defend during the third period, Dec. 8, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers won 5-1.
San Jose's Marcus Sorensen looks for the puck as Florida Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky and teammate Keith Yandle defend during the third period, Dec. 8, 2019, in Sunrise, Fla. The Panthers won 5-1. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

SUNRISE, Fla. – Joel Quenneville turned to No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the second consecutive night, calling it a “real easy” decision.

Bobrovsky didn’t let his coach down.

He stopped 30 shots to win for the second straight game as the Florida Panthers beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1 Sunday.

“I thought Bob was really good early,” Quenneville said. “San Jose had some good pressure in our end in the second period as well. I thought he had a real nice game.

“He was in control all game long. He had a very good weekend.”

Bobrovsky, coming off a 33-save performance in a 4-1 win over Columbus - his former team - on Saturday night, improved to 11-6-4.

“Physically, you feel a little bit fatigued there, but I thought we stood together at the right time,” said Bobrovsky, who stopped 63 of 65 shots in the two-game span. “I felt comfortable. I think the guys made my job easier.”

Aleksander Barkov, Keith Yandle and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist, and Mike Matheson and Brett Connolly also scored to help Florida win for the third time in four games. Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau each had two assists.

Huberdeau pushed past Stephen Weiss for the second-most points in franchise history with 395 in his career.

Kevin Labanc scored and Martin Jones had 28 saves for the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight (0-3-1).

The Sharks entered the game with the NHL’s top penalty-killing unit, but a night after giving up two power-play goals against Tampa Bay, they fell behind early in the first while down a man.

Yandle fired a long shot from near the blue line that beat Jones for his third goal at 4:15 - just 11 seconds into the power play.

Barkov finished off a 3-on-2 rush by tapping in his 10th after a slick pass from Evgenii Dadonov for a 2-0 lead at 7:58.

The Sharks pulled within one when Labanc scored his eighth on a power play at 9:57.

Matheson got his first when his long shot from the point squeezed through Jones’ pads at 6:32 of the second as a power play expired to make it 3-1.

Bobrovsky made a big save when he denied Barclay Goodrow’s breakaway at 1:846 of the second period, allowing Florida to maintain its two-goal lead entering the third.

After San Jose’s Brenden Dillon committed a pair of minor penalties, Connolly got his 14th on a rebound just 7 seconds into the first penalty at 10:19 for a three-goal lead.

Jones has allowed 13 goals in 76 shots over his last three starts – all losses.

The Sharks yielded four power-play goals in their two losses. They let in four total in the previous 17 games before Saturday’s 7-1 loss in Tampa.

“Their goalie was better and their special teams were better,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “That was probably the story. In those two areas they were better than us.”

Vatrano rounded out the scoring with his seventh into an empty net with 1:29 left.