Playing without their best defenseman in Marc-Edouard Vlasic in addition to one of their best forwards in Logan Couture, the Sharks clawed their way back from an early deficit but were unable to get the equalizer as they fell to the Lighting by a score of 4–3.
The Lightning jumped out to a 1–0 lead a little over two minutes into the contest when Nikita Kucherov flicked a shot past Alex Stalock, then extended it to 2–0 about ten minutes later when a puck went off Alex Condra’s skate and into the net. The situation room took a look at the goal to see if there was a distinct kicking motion, but it didn’t take long to confirm the call on the ice.
After attempting only three shots (two on net) through nearly fourteen minutes of play, the Sharks came to life late in the period. A power play opportunity with 3:27 left was unsuccessful, but the resulting push made both the shot (6–4 in the Lightning’s favor) and Corsi (12–10 for the Lightning including 10–8 at even strength) totals in the period low but respectable.
The Sharks carried that momentum over into the second, firing shot after shot at Ben Bishop. Another chance on the man advantage ended just 23 seconds in on a goalie interference call, but the resulting 4-on-4 play looked more like a San Jose power play.
It looked like the Sharks had broken through a little over halfway through the period when the fourth line got into a scramble in front of the net and put the puck inside it, but the goal was disallowed on an intent-to-blow call that was upheld by the situation room. Andre Sustr was called for holding Mike Brown on the play, however, and Matt Tennyson finally put the Sharks on the board during the ensuing power play when he blasted a shot from the point past Bishop for his first goal of the year.
The Lightning would get the goal back late in the period when Chris Tierney and Joel Ward were both called for tripping about a minute apart and Kucherov fired another shot past Stalock for his second goal of the game. Despite outshooting Tampa 14–8 and attempting 28 shots to the Lightning’s 15 in the second, the period ended with San Jose trailing by the same number of goals it did at the start.
Tampa extended its lead to 4–1 in the third when Stalock couldn’t locate J.T. Brown’s rebound and Brian Boyle put it home, but the Sharks made it a two-goal game again at 8:26 when Joel Ward deflected Brent Burns’ shot (a Pavelskian™ goal) past Bishop for his 10th goal and the Sharks’ second power play goal of the game. The situation room reviewed a play for the third time tonight to see if Ward deflected the puck with a high stick, and once again the call on the ice stood to make it a good goal for the Sharks.
Bishop played well all night, but he had to leave the game shortly after the second San Jose goal when Tomas Hertl’s stick inadvertently went through his face mask and appeared to catch him in the eye. Backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy came in and stopped the first three shots he faced, but Brent Burns made it a 4–3 game at 14:32 with a rocket from the left circle on the Sharks’ fourth straight power play.
Brent Burns scores, Sharks trail 4-3 late in the 3rd pic.twitter.com/dBmUpgv0rP— Stephanie (@myregularface) December 6, 2015
Unfortunately for team teal, that was as close as the score would get. The Sharks fired 16 shots on net in the third period and attempted 17 more, but a flurry of opportunities in the final minute and change weren't enough to get the tying goal, and the Sharks will head to Alberta on the heels of a three-game losing streak.
Sharks goals (assists): Matt Tennyson (Justin Braun, Tomas Hertl), Joel Ward (Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski), Brent Burns (unassisted)
Fear the Fin's Three Stars
1) Nikita Kucherov
2) Brent Burns
3) Ben Bishop