Stillman, Vokoun help Panthers end struggles vs. Sharks

SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) — Cory Stillman scored a pair of
goals – including the game-winner late in the second period –
and Tomas Vokoun stopped 47 shots as the Florida Panthers posted
a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

Nathan Horton and Richard Zednik also tallied and defenseman
Keith Ballard had three assists for Florida, which snapped a
six-game losing streak to San Jose.

Captain Patrick Marleau netted a shorthanded goal while Joe
Thornton and Ryane Clowe scored power-play tallies for San Jose,
which was denied the first 7-1-0 start in its 17-year history.

“We got a win against arguably one of the best teams in the
league, so we’ll take it,” Florida coach Peter DeBoer said.
“(San Jose) threw a lot of pucks at the net and really took
control. You have to give them a lot of credit.”

The Panthers squandered a 3-1 lead, but Stillman’s deflection
with 1:46 left in the second period put them back on top for
good. After Ballard fired a slap shot from the left point,
Stillman – who was stationed on the left side of the crease,
tapped it past goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

“You have to go out there, rise up and meet the challenge,” said
Stillman, who leads the team with nine points. “It’s all about
competing and being aggressive. We battled hard out there
against a very good team.”

Vokoun made Stillman’s goal stand, stopping all 16 shots he
faced in the third.

“You have to stay focused the whole game,” Vokoun said.
“Obviously, you don’t like to be facing that many shots, but my
job is to stop the puck. This is a good momentum builder for

“I thought our big-minute players played pretty well. I was
disappointed in our foot soldiers,’ San Jose coach Todd McLellan
said. “We threw everything we had at (Vokoun) in that third

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Stillman’s second tally came just 37 seconds after Marleau’s
shorthander tied the game. After Florida defenseman Jay
Bouwmeester coughed up the puck in the offensive zone, Marleau
finished a 2-on-1 rush by tipping in a pass from Mike Grier with
2:23 left in the period.

Clowe had pulled the Sharks within 3-2 as he scored on a
deflection with 8:22 left in the second. It should have been
the tying goal, however.

Clowe appeared to tally just 82 seconds earlier, when he
deflected the puck into the left side of the net with his skate.
A shot caromed off Vokoun’s right blocker, hit Clowe’s skate and
caromed off a defenseman’s skate before going in.

However, the goal was disallowed following a video review.

“We were talking on the bench (during the review) and saying,
‘Whatever happens, we have to have a big shift,'” Clowe said.
“It was nice to score right away (after the disallowed goal).”

San Jose struck early as Thornton scored just 51 seconds into
contest, but Florida responded with goals from Stillman, Zednik
and Horton. The tallies by Zednik and Horton came just 36
seconds apart late in the opening session.

It was another poor outing for Nabokov, who entered with a 4.51
goals-against average in his last three starts. In this one, he
stopped 31 shots.

“It’s early in the season and he’s working on his game,”
McLellan said. “We still have confidence in him. That hasn’t
wavered one bit. He’s still one of the top goalies in the