Well that was a frustrating end to a game that I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect the San Jose Sharks to win in the first place.
Both teams were trying to empty the tank before the extended All-Star break and it resulted in much of the game being exciting, fast-paced and hard-hitting hockey. Defense and goaltending were tight on both ends, keeping the game tied or within a single goal the whole time.
Which meant that the Sharks were always a lucky break from winning this. They were not the better team, but they kept pace and shut down the Tampa Bay Lightning enough to never be out of a position to win. That’s more than I expected going into the final of the two meetings against one of the consistently best teams in the Eastern Conference.
All of that is to say that because the Sharks were out-performing my expectations, it made the horrendous officiating of this game all the more frustrating. The Sharks could’ve won this one — arguably, with a different set of on-ice officials, they might have won this one.
Aside from the non-calls on Tampa Bay (there were several), it seemed like any time the Sharks could draw a penalty, it came with a questionable offsetting penalty, once resulting in a Tampa Bay power play, and in overtime, taking the Sharks’ best forward (Timo Meier) off the ice over a bogus embellishment call while also stripping the Sharks of a power play.
I hate complaining about officiating because you can only call what you see, but this game was not officiated without bias. And sure, the better team ultimately won, but these types of games, that are always one goal from going in the opposite direction, they don’t always play out like that in real life.
At least the Sharks will leave with a point, but this wasn’t an even playing field. It could’ve been two points, but it is what it is. You can only call what you see ... and the embellishment you make up in your mind.
Comment of the Game
This definitely was not a game where you’d expect to get someone to love hockey, but good on President Pickles for trying:
Just don’t try to explain to her the username President Pickles while watching Vlasic on the ice tonight. That’s just too much cognitive dissonance for one night.
Anyway, I’m sure the NHL will include a lengthy and detailed definition of embellishment in their apology to the Sharks tomorrow and who am I kidding, someone from the Sharks is probably going to get fined for mouthing off about the referees because why wouldn’t they? Guess we’ll never know how they define it.
Hey folks! Back in the liveblog chair after my booster knocked me out of commission for a few days. Let’s face the Lightning in one of the most beautiful arenas in the league.
18:55: Not a terrible first shift from San Jose.
17:53: Corey Perry draws a penalty. Nicolas Meloche tried to murder him with a crosscheck in the crease and while I can’t blame him, you can’t do that. Sharks to the penalty kill.
17:39: As always, James Reimer is this team’s best penalty killer.
15:53: Penalty expires.
15:16: Lightning maintained pressure, with a high slot shot from Brayden Point.
15:01: Lane Pederson just did a little spin to try to send in his own rebound. Didn’t work, but would’ve been so cute if it did.
13:41: The Sharks definitely more awake today than they have been in the last two games. Couture’s line is buzzing.
13:25: Andrei Vasilevskiy with a save on Logan Couture.
12:38: Pat Maroon with a good shot on Reimer. The Bolts are relentless right now.
11:16: Meloche was in pursuit of Point and my god, is that a mismatch. Point with some fancy stick work, gets an extra jump in his step and shrugs Meloche off like it’s nothing.
10:17: Just about halfway, shots are 7-4, in favor of Tampa.
9:01: Jan Rutta called for interference on Timo Meier. Sharks get a chance at the power play.
8:15: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Sharks gave up a shorthanded chance to Mathieu Joseph.
7:09: Okay, great effort on the last 40 seconds or so of the power play. The second unit was pushing for a goal, the first unit looked rough. God bless Mario Ferraro.
5:39: Megna has definitely been a good surprise. Of course, the last three seasons have basically sent the bar to hell, where a “surprise” is that a player is competent enough to not be a liability, but here we are.
4:39: Sharks are going harder at puck battles along the boards so far. They are desperate for possession — not necessarily a bad thing.
2:46: Tampa Bay’s forecheck is so heavy.
2:04: Taylor Raddysh very nearly beats Reimer, but he gets just enough of the puck to send it flying.
0:25.6: The puck was just passed around the slot like a hot potato because no one could figure out who to send it to and everyone was out of position, it was goofy.
Shots have evened out a little, 10-7, Tampa still leading.
END FIRST: Sharks 0, Lightning 0
18:38: Point and Anthony Cirelli with three Sharks on the come down the middle, Point pulls Reimer to the left, sends the puck to Cirelli, who easily gets it in the wide open net. Bolts on the board first. 1-0, Lightning.
17:18: Tomas Hertl almost caught Vasilevskiy out of position.
16:40: Despite that, Hertl did not have a great shift, missing a pass from Meier and then backhand passing the puck to no one, resulting in a 3-on-1 going the other way. Not his best moment.
15:10: RUDY! Marc-Edouard Vlasic takes a shot that would’ve been way wide, but Rudolfs Balcers in the crease redirects it past Vasilevskiy. That’s a tied game, babes.
14:44: Just feel like we as a society should be doing more to prevent goals from Corey Perry.
12:55: Sharks are just getting nailed into the defensive zone. They need a breakout soon, this is exhausting.
10:27: James Reimer, this team owes you so many beers. The whole city of San Jose does, actually. You should never have to pay for anything you need or want ever again.
9:42: Couture with a breakaway, easy stop for Vasilevskiy. That was the team’s second shot on goal this period. They are not making good on the limited offensive zone time they’re fighting for.
9:19: Joseph with a really good chance stopped by Reimer.
8:02: Sharks back on the power play after Cal Foote gets called for interference on Jonah Gadjovich.
7:46: Burns belly flop! Not a bad move here, as he was trying to hold the zone and there weren’t any Lightning skaters near him.
6:22: Victor Hedman just used his stick to intercept a pass in the neutral zone and the smack of the puck against both stick blades was so loud, it made the move feel extremely baller.
6:02: And penalty expires, Lightning start to get some offensive zone time, who is surprised?
3:58: Balcers goes off for delay of game, sending the puck over the glass. Everyone agrees this is a stupid penalty, how do we get rid of it? Bolts to the power play.
2:20: Corey Perry trying to get Couture called for a slash?
2:09: Oh, cool, then he does draw a hooking penalty on Couture. 11 seconds of 5-on-3.
1:53: Down to 5-on-4.
1:52: So good news, the first penalty expired, so that’s less time that the Sharks will be shorthanded. The bad news is that Alex Killorn just netted a power play goal. 2-1, Lightning.
1:36: Meier drives the net and ends up crashing the outside post. Now everybody’s fighting about it. Meloche, Hertl, Cirelli, Point, McDonagh, all pushing and shoving.
Tampa Bay ultimately gets the power play out of it. Meier gets two for goaltender interference (a little bogus), and two for roughing. Cirelli also gets two for roughing.
0:26.7: Shots 18-13, Tampa Bay as the second winds down. They’ll have roughly 25 seconds on the man-advantage to start the third.
END SECOND: Sharks 1, Lightning 2
19:35: JAMES REIMER YOU GODDAMN KING. The Bolts didn’t have a ton of power play time, but they came out ready and Reimer stood on his head — almost literally.
And Steven Stamkos nabs a tripping penalty there. Sharks power play, could be a momentum shift.
18:48: THERE IT IS. Logan Couture with an insanely good tip from up close in the slot. Burns with a great pass from the blue line, exactly how they drew it up. Still plenty of hockey left, but it’s tied at 2-2.
16:25: I love “tied game and both teams are deep in it” hockey. The Sharks are clearly not the better team here, but it’s fun to watch them still be in it. Maybe they get a fun win out of it! Maybe not! I’m just here for the ride.
16:04: Killorn with a wraparound attempt saved with Reimer’s stick.
15:56: Lane Pederson ROBBED!!!
14:09: Love seeing the Sharks playing well positionally. A young roster has struggled with that at the NHL pace, but it’s come together better in this road trip.
11:23: Alright, we’re starting to see a little bit of a slog, ‘cause this game has been physical and fast. It’s the last game ahead of the All-Star Break, so I imagine both teams are getting the “put everything on the ice in the next 11 minutes” speech right now.
11:00: Oh man, Alex Barabanov just went over the top of Brayden Point and kneed him in the back of the head. Scary play, his helmet came off. Game stopped for repairs, but no penalties, just one of those weird and unfortunate collisions.
They fix his bucket and Point seems alright.
9:32: Perry on the puck in the Sharks crease, Pat Maroon kicks Reimer in the hand while trying to dig the puck out and all hell breaks loose as the Sharks come in to defend their goaltender.
Pause for repairs to the ice and net.
8:43: Reimer with a big stop on Ondrej Palat.
8:18: Circelli is exchanging pleasantries with Timo Meier, looks like Burns is trying to talk Circelli out of that particular altercation with a stick tap to the calf.
8:10: Oh man, Megna just launched the puck out of the crease and far down the ice after the puck got behind Reimer. Real heads-up play.
5:04: Hedman with a very loud ping off the crossbar. Shots are 39-19, the Lightning are inescapable.
4:41: It’s been more than seven minutes since the Sharks’ last shot on goal ... I’m tired.
1:46: Starting to feel a lot like that game in Florida, except they were always playing from behind tonight.
0:55.3: Top lines out for the final minute of regulation.
0:17.3: Jonathan Dahlen with a slapshot, Vasilevskiy gets a piece of it. Hello overtime, my old friend.
Both teams have a 6-2 record in overtime, incredible.
Burns, Couture and Balcers start for San Jose. Hedman, Stamkos and Circelli start for Tampa Bay.
3:38: Point is so fast, he’ll get the inside skate on anybody and it’s just enough to give him the room to shoot however he’d like.
Palat knocked the net off, so the faceoff comes outside the Sharks’ defensive zone.
3:13: Oh my god, two incredible chances on opposite ends of the ice.
2:54: Off-setting penalties as McDonagh is calling for tripping Meier, who gets called for embellishment. Terrible call. What the fuck.
2:14: Hedman with the winning goal.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 2, Lightning 3 (OT)
It wasn’t that long ago the the Tampa Bay Lightning put up a ruthless seven goals on the San Jose Sharks, taking a 7-1 victory at SAP Center. With the memory of a game from less than two weeks ago still fresh, San Jose will have a lot to clean up in their game if they want to go in the All-Star Break feeling confident in their season. They’ll get the chance for a rematch tonight at Amalie Arena, as they close out the season series against the Bolts.
Here’s everything you need to know to tune in:
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Alexander Barabanov — Tomas Hertl — Rudolfs Balcers
Jonathan Dahlen — Logan Couture — Timo Meier
Matt Nieto — Nick Bonino — Noah Gregor
Andrew Cogliano — Jasper Weatherby — Jonah Gadjovich
Mario Ferraro — Brent Burns
Jaycob Megna — Nicolas Meloche
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Jacob Middleton
Expected Scratches: Radim Simek, Lane Pederson, Ryan Merkley, Adam Raska, Jeffrey Viel
Injured Reserve: Erik Karlsson (upper body), Kevin Labanc (upper body), Adin Hill (lower body)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn — Steven Stamkos — Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk — Ross Colton — Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman — Cal Foote
Ryan McDonagh — Mikhail Sergachev
Fredrik Claesson — Jan Rutta
Expected Scratches: None
Injured Reserve: Erik Cernak (lower body), Zach Bogosian (lower body), Gemel Smith (hand)
COVID-19 Protocol: Nikita Kucherov
How to Watch
Tonight’s game will be broadcast regionally on NBCSCA and BSSUN. Streaming is available with a subscription to ESPN+ (blackout restrictions do apply). The radio call will be streamed through the Sharks Audio Network. Puck drop is at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET at Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay, FL.