San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer (47) watches a shot get by him as Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn for a goal during the second period at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay on Wed Feb 1, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
The Sharks fell 3-2 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Anthony Cirelli, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman scored for the Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for the win. Rudolfs Balcers and Logan Couture scored for the Sharks. James Reimer, making his fourth start in a row, stopped 29 shots in the loss.
The Sharks defense saw the return of both Mario Ferraro and Jake Middleton. Ferraro, wearing a full face shield, skated 27:21 minutes. He had one shot, five blocked shots, and two hits. Jacob Middleton skated 15:33 and had four hits. Of Ferarro’s return, teammate Brent Burns said: “To step back in and battle through, that’s Mario, he’s just been… he’s that kind of guy all year. That’s the stuff that… it’s huge for teams.”
Sharks captain Logan Couture said:
“What a warrior, man. I was pretty shocked when I got to the rink today and he was getting that visor put on his helmet. I thought he was nuts but he wants to play, he wants to play for the guys in the room and those are leaders. Those are guys that they’ll do anything to help their teammates out in a tough spot. And a lot of respect to Mario.”
A scoreless first period saw each team’s power play go to work, with the penalty kills prevailing. Each power play finished with two shots on goal. The Lightning outshot the Sharks slightly, 9-7. The Sharks had a similarly slim edge in the face-off circle, winning 8 of 15 draws.
Anthony Cirelli broke the ice with a goal at 1:32 of the second period. Cirelli brought the puck into the zone right down the slot before making a quick pass to Brayden Point on his right. Point drew Reimer out of position with a faked shot and then passed it back to Cirelli who was still on his way to the net. Cirelli had an open net to shoot at for his 13th of the season. Assists went to Point and Ryan McDonagh.
Rudolfs Balcers tied it up at 4:50 with his sixth of the season, and the Sharks’ first shot of the period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took a shot from the point and Balcers redirected it in. Assists went to Vlasic and Logan Couture.
Tampa Bay took the lead again at 18:08 with a power play goal. With a two-man advantage, Steven Stamkos took a shot that bounced into the air. Killorn gloved it down to his stick for the shot. Assists went to Stamkos and Victor Hedman.
The Lightning finished the second period on a power play, but as soon as that expired at the start of the third, Steven Stamkos was called for tripping and the Sharks went on the power play.
Logan Couture tied the game during the first minute of that power play, 1:12 into the period. From the point, Brent Burns sent the puck to Couture for a redirection. Couture was in the slot, half-way up by the hash marks. Assists went to Burns and Alexander Barabanov.
At the nine-minute mark, Brayden Point went down after some contact with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Unfortunately, he fell right in the path of Alexander Barabanov, who tripped over his head, knocking Point’s helmet off with the front of his skate. Fortunately, the blade didn’t catch Point. No penalty was called on the play.
The Sharks fended off a strong push from the Lightning in the second half of the third but did get the game to overtime. The Sharks missed out on a power play at 2:06 when Meier was called for embellishment as Ryan McDonagh was called for tripping.
Victor Hedman scored the game winner 41 seconds later with a shot from the slot through traffic.
Timo Meier has not scored a goal in the last five games. He scored once after his spectacular five-goal game in San Jose. He had no shots on goal Tuesday and was assessed a double minor and the overtime penalty.
The Sharks next play on February 14 at home, against the Edmonton Oilers at 7:30 PM PT.