Lightning Strike Sharks 7-1

photo from Lightning center Brayden Point gets around a stick check by Sharks defenseman Brent Burns during the second period of the Tampa Bay victory.

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks fell 7-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Despite two first period power plays, including a double minor, the Sharks lost by their largest margin this season. Goals came from Tyler Johnson (2), Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos (2), Victor Hedman and Carter Verhaeghe. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves in the win. The Sharks’ lone goal came from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Martin Jones made 17 saves on 21 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell, who made 14 saves on 18 shots.

After the game, Sharks captain Logan Couture said:

I thought we played pretty well through two, I thought we had some good five-on-five looks, they scored a power play one at the end there. But I didn’t like our third period. Kinda gave them some freebies and let our goalies down out there, but for the first forty I thought we played hard and could have been one, two goal game. But, yeah, I just didn’t like our third period.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer had the same view of the third period: “You know, the third period was just unacceptable, it was just a poor effort. I think instead of sticking with it, I think we felt sorry for ourselves after that fourth goal and, you know, maybe started thinking about tomorrow but you can’t do that in this league.”

Tyler Johnson’s first goal of the game came at 3:10 when he caught Carter Verhaeghe’s pass from the half boards. Steven Stamkos was skating across in Jones’ line of sight as the puck sailed by him.

The Sharks out-shot the Lightning 15-10 in the first period and had two power plays, one four-minutes long after Mathieu Joseph caught Marcus Sorensen with his stick and drew blood. They held the Lightning to just the one goal until 12:29 of the second period.

Alex Killorn scored his eighth goal of the season when Martin Jones got turned around making a save and lost track of the puck. Killorn found the puck just outside the blue paint and lifted it over the prone goaltender.

Steven Stamkos scored his eighth at the very end of the second period, during a four minute power play caused by a a high stick from Kevin Labanc. Stamkos spent a long time hovering around the face-off dot while his team moved the puck around and finally passed to him. He used a neat wrist shot to beat Jones on the short side. Assists went to Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn.

The Sharks out-shot the Lightning 15-9 in the second period.

Victor Hedman scored 52 seconds into
the third. Anthony Cirelli carried the puck right up to the doorstep and then made a pass through the blue paint to Hedman. Hedman was at the goal line and his shot was from an impossible angle, except that it went off of Jones and in. Assists went to Cirelli and Killorn.

Aaron Dell came in to replace Jones in net after that.

Tyler Johnson scored his second of the game at 3:51 of the third. Aaron Dell had come out to play the puck but Carter Verhaege was there to take it away from him and send it back up ice to Stamkos in the face-off circle. Johnson was on his way to the net and arrived just in time for the pass from Stamkos.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored for the Sharks at 14:44. Vlasic caught a rebound from an Erik Karlsson shot and carried it down below the face-off dot to shoot it into the top corner on the short side. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.

Stamkos scored his second of the game on a power play at 15:36. Timo Meier was in the box for slashing Brayden Point. Just seven seconds into the penalty, Victor Hedman took a shot from the blue line. Killorn and Stamkos were both set up to tip the shot but Killorn got it. Dell stopped that one but Stamkos was ready to tap the rebound in. Assists went to Killorn and Hedman.

Carter Verhaege scored his first NHL goal at 19:35 on a breakaway. He shot it into the far side from a sharp angle without ever slowing down. Assists went to Pat Maroon and Yanni Gourde.

The Sharks will next play Sunday at 2:00 PM PT against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

Sharks Lose to Lightning 5-2 in Tampa Bay

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) is knocked down by Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

by M. Walsh

The San Jose Sharks dropped the third game of this road trip to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2. Two Lightning goals were scored by Tyler Johnson, two more by Nikita Kucherov and another by Cory Conacher. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 stops in the game. Sharks’ goals were scored by Barclay Goodrow, who had just returned from injury, and Justin Braun. Martin Jones stopped 38 shots for the Sharks.

The loss was a modest improvement over their previous loss to Tampa Bay, a 5-1 loss in San Jose on November 8, but it ended a four-game winning streak for San Jose in Tampa Bay. The Lightning continue to dominate in the NHL standings, maintaining a slim lead over the Winnipeg Jets. Entering Saturday’s game, they had a record of 17-6-2. On the other hand, half of those losses came in their last four games.

Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer saw few bright spots in his team’s game. DeBoer said: “The good news was that our goalie was outstanding, he was by far our best player. He gave a us a chance going into the third to get some points tonight. But we didn’t have enough contributions. We would have needed 20 guys tonight plus Jonesy’s effort. They’re a desperate team and rested, and we didn’t help ourselves.”

Beyond that, DeBoer seemed willing to put the loss behind him and move on. DeBoer said: “We’re not going to be down here in a back-to-back with half our team out again so we don’t have to worry about that.”

Sharks forward Logan Couture expressed disappointment with the loss. Couture said: “They out played us again. You know, you can say we’re on a back-to-back and all, I know that but still got to show up and put forth a better effort than we did tonight.”

Later, Couture acknowledged that the team really is in a tough spot with injuries. Couture said: “You know, we’ve been playing good hockey. This is back-to-back, we got a bunch of guys go down within a few game period. It’s tough. You miss three forwards who usually play in your top nine, so other guys gotta step up and gotta find a way to be competitive.”

The Sharks’ injury list changed overnight between Florida games. Goodrow returned from injured reserve and Jones was ready to start. Joonas Donskoi and Tim Heed were placed on injured reserve, while Marcus Sorensen was called up from the AHL’s Barracuda. Sorensen did not play Saturday, but will be available Monday.

Both Heed and Donskoi’s IR status was retroactive to the last game they played. For Heed, that was November 25, and for Donskoi it was November 28.

Additionally, Melker Karlsson was not available after being injured Friday. Kevin Labanc was back in the lineup and got credit for four shots on goal, more than any other Shark Saturday.

San Jose did hang in there for the first two periods, but in the third, the Lightning took the Sharks apart. The Sharks scored first, the only goal of the first period. With just over three minutes left in the period, Ryan Carpenter made a cross-ice pass to Daniel O’Regan as he skated down the right side. O’Regan took the shot and the rebound went right to Goodrow on the left side. He had an open net from that angle and he put it away. Assists went to Carpenter and O’Regan.

The Sharks went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, but had been outshot 15-8 by Tampa Bay.

The Lightning’s first period effort paid off early in the second period, as Nikita Kucherov tied the game up just 27 seconds in. Ondrej Palat carried the puck in and the Sharks defense set up to prevent a cross-ice pass to Kucherov. In doing so, they left their goaltender to handle any shot from Palat. Instead of shooting, Palat took the pass and it made it through three defenders to Kucherov, who had Martin Jones moving across and not quite ready to stop his shot. Assists went to Palat and Brayden Point.

The Lightning again outshot the Sharks in the second period, this time 16-8.

Joe Thornton was called for high sticking Tyler Johnson at the end of the second period. The Lightning started the third period with 1:56 of power play time. At 1:39 of the third, Johnson scored a power play goal to give the Lightning the 2-1 lead. Palat shot the puck into the zone so that it came off the back boards while Johnson skated in and caught it right in front of Jones. Assists went to Palat and Mikhail Sergachev.

Johnson scored again after Victor Hedman got a breakaway and would have scored had Brenden Dillon not caught the puck on the goal line. As he cleared it from the crease, Johnson was coming in fast and the puck came right to him. He put it back in over Jones.

Cory Conacher scored at 11:01, after a shoot in from Dan Girardi caught Justin Braun inside the knee. Seeing the defenseman drop to the ice, Conacher skated by him and caught a cross-ice pass from Alex Killorn. His shot went over Jones’ left shoulder as the goaltender came across to follow the puck. Assists went to Killorn and Yanni Gourde.

Braun did not stay down for long, and returned to stop the bleeding at 13:37. Braun caught the puck after an offensive zone faceoff. His blue line shot went cleanly through five skaters to beat Vasilevski on the glove side. An assist went to O’Regan.

Nikita Kucherov came back with a fifth goal at 15:37 off a breakaway after Logan Couture tried to shoot the puck in from the blue line and it his Kucherov instead. The bounce gave Kucherov the head start he needed.

The Sharks next play on Monday in Washington DC against the Capitals at 4 pm PT.