With a 5-2 win, the San Jose Sharks have done what no other team has been able to do since late November, and that is hand the Tampa Bay Lightning a regulation loss.
It’s rare when the Sharks lose the possession battle, but they did so in the first period with a 36.67 Corsi For percent during 5-on-5. Despite the low shot volume, they were able to strike for two quick goals from Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski. Toward the end of the first, the Lightning's possession edge paid off and they cut the Sharks' lead to one courtesy of Victor Hedman, who was left unmarked for an easy scoring chance.
The Sharks tried to pull away in the second period when Evander Kane made it 3-1 on the power play, beating Andrei Vasilevskiy short side. However, the Lightning didn’t cooperate with the Sharks' intentions of having an easy win — a few seconds later, Mikhail Sergachev answerer back. The Sharks came into the middle frame with a one-goal lead, and they left the period with a one-goal lead.
In the third period, the Sharks once again took a two-goal lead thanks to Kane, who scored his second goal of the night and 200th of his career after beating Vasilevskiy five-hole. A few minutes later, Lukas Radil put the game out of reach.
Despite winning two of three, the Sharks' wins on the road came at a cost — they’ve seen significant injuries to the blue line. In Calgary, Radim Simek sustained a concussion after a questionable hit by Sam Bennett. Then, during their game against the Colorado Avalanche, Justin Braun injure his right knee and Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the final minutes of the third period due to a left wrist injury.
Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Sharks' defense, so they will lean heavily on Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns tonight. The pair are in for a tough task in containing the red-hot Lightning offense. With 66 points in the standings already, the Lightning cannot seem to lose. Their last regulation loss came in November, collecting at least a point every game in December and making easy work of their California road trip so far.
After a tight win on New Year’s Eve against the Anaheim Ducks, the Lightning put up six goals against the Los Angeles Kings this past Thursday. Now coming into the Bay Area, they’ll look for the sweep.
The forwards will not see much change from what we've seen lately. Lukas Radil remains on the second line with Timo Meier and Logan Couture. Head Coach Peter DeBoer is also keeping the Joes plus Sorensen line together, along with Tomas Hertl centering Evander Kane and Joonas Donskoi.
On defense is where the shuffling is going on due to the injuries. Jacob Middleton will play in his first NHL game paired with Brent Burns. Joakim Ryan and Tim Heed are drawing back into the lineup. Erik Karlsson and Brenden Dillon will remain together.
Meanwhile, no official word on how the lines for the Lightning will look like, but this is what NHL.com projects them to look like:
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Alex Killorn
Tyler Johnson — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Adam Erne — Anthony Cirelli — Yanni Gourde
Mathieu Joseph — Cedric Paquette — Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman — Anton Stralman
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn — Mikhail Sergachev
Where to Watch
Puck drop from SAP Center is at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET, so for those Sharks fans on the East Coast, a pregame coffee run could help. The game will be shown on NBC Sports California and 98.5 KFOX will have the radio call. Check back then for updates and live reactions.
Hey everyone, Eddie here with the liveblog for this rare 8 p.m. start to tonight’s game. For those Sharks fans on the East Coast, I hope you have your caffeine handy and are ready for Sharks hockey!
20:00: First home game of 2019, let’s drop the puck!
18:42: Martin Jones makes the first save of the game, no real threat from Tampa.
16:58: Brayden Point hits the post, Sharks catch a break.
16:13: Tomas Hertl with a wraparound chance but he’s denied by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
11:53: Hertl generates a turnover, but is unable to get a quality shot off.
10:34: GOAL! The Sharks strike first courtesy of Logan Couture, who caught Tampa on a change, and it’s 1-0.
9:59: GOAL! That didn’t take long. The Sharks score the second goal a few seconds later and Joe Pavelski continues his scoring touch this season. It’s 2-0, Sharks.
9:09: Jones is there to make the save on Ondrej Palat.
5:23: Point with another shot, but it’s deflected.
4:34: Anton Stralman fires a shot from the blue line, but Jones gobbles up the puck.
3:47: Goal. A Sharks turnover leads to a Victor Hedman goal and it’s 2-1, Sharks.
2:33: Timo Meier with a scoring chance, but the puck goes off Vasilevskiy.
18:50: A great chance for Donskoi, but is unable to get his stick on the puck.
17:59: Pavelski on the ice after taking the puck to the ..... groin region.
17:21: Power Play. Anton Stralman heads to the box for slashing and it’s a two-man advantage for the Sharks.
15:44: Puck loose around Vasilevskiy’s net, but he’s able to corral it before the Sharks could jump on it.
15:37: GOAL! Power play goal from Evander Kane, who goes short side to beat Vasilevskiy.
15:22: Meier with a scoring chance, but Vasilevskiy is there to get the puck before Lukas Radil could get the rebound.
15:07: Goal. Mikhail Sergachev scores off a pass from Mathieu Joseph.
15:07: Also, Jones heads to the locker room for some skate maintenance .
Jones' skate situation should provide some good laughs:
13:39: Jones is back in net.
13:17: Power Play. Tyler Johnson is called for hooking and the Sharks head back to the power play.
11:36: Joe Thornton generates a scoring chance, but is unable to give Meier a clear pass to score.
11:17: Lightning are able to kill the Johnson penalty.
11:06: Penalty. Kane heads to the box for interference.
10:33: Hertl with a short-handed scoring chance is unable to score.
9:06: Sharks kill the Kane penalty.
8:14: Backhand shot from Cedric Paquette, but Jones is there to deny him.
7:20: Radil creates a turnover, takes a shot, doesn't convert.
2:48: Johnson fires a shot thay rings off the post.
18:28: Power Play. Victor Hedman heads to the box for delay of game.
18:23: Erik Karlsson with a scoring chance.
16:28: Not a very good power play by the Sharks, Lightning kill the Hedman penalty.
14:42: GOAL! Kane gets his second of the game, beating Vasilevskiy by going five-hole.
13:00: Marcus Sorensen with a wraparound chance and a few whacks at it.
12:15: Penalty. Kane with his second penalty of the night, heads to the box for high sticking.
10:15: Sharks kill the Kane penalty.
7:42: GOAL! Radil scores, getting the loose puck past Vasilevskiy and making it 5-2, Sharks.
3:28: Pavelski with a scoring chance.
Final: Sharks 5, Lightning 2