Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE — With a 5-2 win, the San Jose Sharks handed the Tampa Bay Lightning their first regulation loss in 16 games at SAP Center Saturday night. Evander Kane scored his 199th and 200th NHL goals in the game, while Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Lukas Radil also added goals for the Sharks. Lightning goals came from Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev. Martin Jones made 17 saves for the Sharks, while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves for the Lightning.
After the game, Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said: “I thought it was a solid sixty minutes for us. I thought we got big contributions, I thought our big guys were really good, especially Karlsson and Burns and Brenden Dillon on defense. Jonesy made some saves when he had to. Special teams were good and I thought all four lines contributed. You know, when you’re playing the best team in the league, we knew we needed that kind of effort and we got it.”
San Jose had some lineup challenges to overcome before the game. With three of their regular defensemen (Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Justin Braun and Radim Simek) out with injuries, the blue line included regular seventh defensmen Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan. Playing in his first NHL game, Jacob Middleton filled out the blue line six. Ryan played with Brent Burns while Heed and Middleton made up a third pair.
After the game, DeBoer talked briefly about the blue line adjustments: “It’s hard to take three defensemen out of your line up and survive and it’s a credit to the young guys who came in. I thought Middleton came in, gave us some good minutes. I thought Joakim Ryan played a real good game and so did Heeder.”
The Sharks opened the scoring at 9:27 of the first. Erik Karlsson’s pass found Timo Meier on his way through the neutral zone. As he crossed the blue line, Meier got a pass to Logan Couture just above the faceoff circle. Couture took the shot as he passed the hash marks and beat Andrei Vasilevskiy. Meier and Karlsson got the assists.
Moments later, at 10:01, Joe Pavelski added one with an impressive turning (and falling) shot right in front of the blue paint. Brent Burns got the assist for finding Pavelski with the pass.
Victor Hedman got one back for the Sharks during an ill-tied line change from the Sharks. Steve Stamkos found him flying up the slot and the Sharks were not quite ready for Hedman to be in position so quickly. Assists went to Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.
The Lightning outshot the Sharks 8-4, but the Sharks won 63% of the faceoffs in the first.
Those faceoff wins helped Evander Kane and the Sharks power play retake a two goal lead early in the second period. Pavelski won an offensive zone faceoff, getting the puck to Erik Karlsson at the point. Karlsson sent it across the ice to Brent Burns, who bumped it back across to Kane. Kane was not far below the blue line and Joe Pavelski had moved to the net, where he screened Vasilevskiy’s view of the shot. Assists went to Burns and Karlsson.
Just seconds later, Mathieu Joseph got by Tim Heed on his way into the Sharks zone. He caught Mikhail Sergachev streaking to the net with a pass and trimmed the Sharks lead to one again. A second assist went to Ryan Callahan.
The second period saw two more penalties killed, one for each team. The Sharks out shot the Lightning in the second period 12-9 but their faceoff win percentage slipped to 56%.
The Sharks got an early power play in the third period, but could not score on it. About half way through that power play, Tomas Hertl sustained an injury during an inadvertent collision. He did not leave the game.
The Sharks did score at 5:18. Evander Kane carried the puck across the blue line, moving past Stralman. Joonas Donskoi kept stride with Kane, staying between him and Stralman as Kane skated below the hash marks and took the shot to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead. An assist went to Brenden Dillon.
Kane went to the box a couple of minutes later for high-sticking Nikita Kucherov, but the Sharks killed the penalty off.
Lukas Radil extended the Sharks lead to 5-2 at 12:20, after Timo Meier tipped a Brent Burns shot. The tip bounced behind Vasilevskiy and out of the blue paint, landing just in front of Radil by the post. Radil lifted it neatly into the net. Assists went to Meier and Burns.
By the end of the game, the faceoff win percentage was dead even between the teams.
The Sharks next play on Monday at 7:30 PM PT against the visiting Los Angeles Kings.