SAN JOSE (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Florida Panthers are on the west coast for a few days, continuing their road trip with three games inside the state of California.
Their first stop will be in the town of a first place team with a first-rate defenseman.
Brent Burns’ torrid play this season has the 31-year-old as the unquestioned front-runner to capture the Norris Trophy and perhaps the first defenseman to win the scoring title since the legendary Bobby Orr in 1974-75.
With four multi-point performances in seven games since the All-Star break, Burns looks to continue his good fortune on Wednesday as the host San Jose Sharks vie for their second straight season sweep of the Florida Panthers.
“It’s every night,” veteran Joe Thornton told the San Jose Mercury News of Burns, whose second multi-goal performance of the season lifted the Sharks to a 4-1 victory over New Jersey on Sunday. “If you watch him every night, he’s the best player on the ice every night, it doesn’t matter who we play. He just does it night-in and night-out. It’s very impressive to watch.”
While Burns scored in San Jose’s 4-2 victory over Florida on Nov. 10, Jaromir Jagr had an assist in that contest, has two points in his last two games overall and his next will be the 1,900th of his decorated career.
Jagr, who turns 45 on Wednesday, netted his 759th career goal as Florida posted its fourth win in five outings with a 7-4 triumph over Nashville on Saturday.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (24-20-10): Jonathan Huberdeau has hit the ground running with two goals and three assists in three contests following his lengthy absence after severing his Achilles tendon.
“No way did we think he’d jump in and produce the way he is, but he’s in phenomenal shape,” Florida interim coach Tom Rowe told the Sun-Sentinel of Huberdeau, who recorded a career-high 20 goals and 59 points last season. “He’s a terrific hockey player. Being on the bench with him every day he’s a lot better than I thought he was.”
Aleksander Barkov has scored in back-to-back contests and is riding a three-game point streak since returning from a 15-game absence due to injury.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (34-18-5): Patrick Marleau recorded his 13th 20-goal season in the last 16 years with a tally versus Philadelphia on Saturday before seeing his nine-game point streak come to an end the following night.
Captain Joe Pavelski, who scored in the first meeting with Florida, is two goals shy of a 20-goal campaign for the eighth time in his career.
Martin Jones owns a 3-0-2 mark since the All-Star break and has won both career meetings with the Panthers, turning aside 41 of 44 shots overall.
- Florida D Jason Demers, who played for San Jose from 2009-14, scored twice in this season’s first meeting between the teams.
- The Sharks have killed off all five short-handed situations over the last two contests after yielding two power-play goals in each of their previous two games.
- Panthers F Jonathan Marchessault has three goals and three assists in his last eight contests.
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