Lightning Strike Sharks 7-1

photo from sfgate.com: 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 Fall to Lightning 6-3

Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Saturday’s road game at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay got goals from Steven Stamkos (2), Yanni Gourde, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Killorn, and Victor Hedman. Two Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and one from Marcus Sorensen. Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves for the win, while Martin Jones made 20 saves in the Sharks’ loss. The Sharks power play went 1-3, while their penalty kill was 2-4.

The Sharks were once again missing some significant players from their blue line. Erik Karlsson skated during warm-ups, but then there was a last minute scratch Saturday. Marc-Edouard Vlasic continues to be out, missing his eighth game since January 2. It is not certain whether either player will return before the NHL All Star Game.

After the game, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski was asked about these roster challenges, and he said: “We were all right at times, we had a lot of chances. You can’t give up six, but it gets a little bit away from us there at the end. And five on three goal and a couple of those things. We definitely had a chance in this game I think.”

Of Erik Karlsson’s absence in particular, Sharks forward Evander Kane said: “No matter who it is, it’s always next man up. We’ve played without a lot of our top D through the course of the season, played well. I mean we played with three guys that are normally out of the lineup against these guys at home and beat them. So obviously it’s a loss but it’s not an excuse.”

The Lightning struck first, 3:32 into the game. Mathieu Joseph dumped the puck in from just over the center line and then followed the puck to the corner. JT Miller sped into the corner as well and centered the puck on net. Anthoney Cirelli was in front of the net to take the shot, but Jones kicked the puck back out. He did not kick it far enough, as Joseph was right there to put the rebound in the net. It was Joseph’s 12th of the season, with assists to Cirelli and Miller.

Tampa Bay doubled their lead at 17:51. In a flurry of activity at the Sharks net, Marcus Sorensen poked the puck away from Brayden Point. unfortunately, Alex Killorn was coming down the slot and the puck came right to him with traffic to screen Jones’s view. It was Killorn’s 11th of the season.

Evander Kane got one back for the Sharks on the power play at 19:39 of the period. With 44 seconds left in the power play and less time left in the period, Joe Thornton made a pass to Timo Meier at the side of the net. Instead of taking the shot, Meier found Kane arriving on the other side of the blue paint and sent the puck to him. Kane had an open net as Andrei Vasilevskiy was coming across. It was Kane’s 18th of the season, with assists going to Meier and Thornton.

The Sharks led the period in shots 16-7, while Tampa Bay led in faceoff wins 59%-41%.

Evander Kane added another goal to tie the score just 58 seconds into the second period. Kane caught a pass from Joonas Donskoi just as Kane reached the Lightning blue line. He skated into the slot and took a shot that went wide of the net and came off the backboards. It came off the boards just so that as Kane reached the net, the puck slid by the post and was in position to be knocked in. Assists went to Donskoi and Radim Simek.

It took the Lightning some time to retake the lead, but they did at 7:29 with a goal from Yanni Gourde. Steven Stamkos shot the puck behind the net and off the boards, where it found Gourde skating, then diving to reach it and put it in the net. It was Gourde’s 12th of the season, with assists going to Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.

Tampa Bay got their lead back to two at 12:01, on a power play caused by a tripping penalty to Logan Couture. That penalty was taken in the final seconds of a penalty to Kevin Labanc, so the Sharks were just finishing a 3-on-5 kill. Victor Hedman skated by three Sharks to get the shot under Jones and into the net. It was Hedman’s seventh of the season. An assist went to Nikita Kucherov.

The shot count was even in the second period at 13. By the end of the second, the Sharks had improved their faceoff percentage to 50%.

Steven Stamkos gave the Lightning a 5-2 lead at 5:08 of the third period. Kucherov skated around Simek along the boards, then passed the puck to Stamkos in the middle of the ice. Stamkos got around Donskoi and took a shot through traffic for his 25th goal of the season. Kucherov and Ryan McDonough had the assists.

Stamkos scored again at 14:15, this time from his usual spot high on the faceoff circle, and on the power play. Evander Kane was in the box for roughing against Erik Cernak. Asists went to Hedman and Point.

Marcus Sorensen scored to make it 6-3 with a slap shot in the final minute of the game. Assists went to Tim Heed and Kevin Labanc. Despite the score, Vasilevskiy was very agitated about giving up that goal and took it out on his stick and blocker.

The final shot count was 39-26 Sharks, and the Sharks won 53% of the faceoffs.

The Sharks next play on Monday in Florida against the Panthers at 4:00 PM PT.

Sharks Ground Lightning with 5-2 Win

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.