(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)
SAN JOSE: The San Jose Sharks finally scored a power play goal at home. They scored three, but lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. Tampa Bay’s 20th place penalty kill probably jumped up a couple of ranking spots after killing seven penalties on Saturday night. Or maybe not, since they also gave up three power play goals. The first one was to Matt Tennyson, who broke the cursed power play scoring drought for the Sharks. The second went to Joel Ward, and the third to Brent Burns.
Al Stalock made 16 saves on 20 shots for the Sharks, while Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop made 24 saves on 26 shots before leaving the game with an injury. His replacement, Andrei Vasilevskiy made seven saves on eight shots. Tampa Bay goals were scored by Eric Condra, Nikita Kucherov (two) and Brian Boyle. There were some bright spots in the Sharks’ game, but not enough.
Tampa Bay wasted no time getting the scoring started. Just 2:19 into the game, Nikita Kucherov was able to skate through the slot, avoiding one Sharks defender and using the other as a screen, to put a shot right under Stalock. An assist went to defenseman Victor Hedman.
Near the halfway mark, Joe Pavelski was called for high sticking. Really, the infraction occurred as much as a minute before the time of the penalty, as Tampa Bay tried to make something of the delayed call, skating at length with their net empty. Despite their efforts, they were unable to launch an attack until the power play was under way. Even then, they only recorded one shot with the man advantage.
It was not until after that power play expired that the Lightning struck again, this time with a pass from the wall, near or below the goal line, that seemed to bounce off of a well-placed stick in front of the blue paint. The goal went to Eric Condra, with assists to Andrej Sustr and J.T. Brown.
The Sharks drew a hooking call with 3:27 left in the period. Brian Boyle was the culprit. The Sharks had some difficulty getting their power play in order, and Tampa Bay’s penalty killers were aggressive.
Karlsson, Donskoi, Hertl, Braun and Martin took the ice with less than 30 seconds left in the penalty. The first power play unit was made up of Thornton, Pavelski, Ward, Marleau and Burns. The power play expired and the Sharks went into the first intermission down by 2-0. The Sharks were also trailing on the shot clock, with just four to Tampa Bay’s six.
The Lightning took another penalty, this time for too many men on the ice, but Tommy Wingels was called bout 30 seconds later for goaltender interference.
During the four on four time that followed, the Sharks kept the Lightning hemmed in their zone, and put a few shots on net to boot.
Around the seven minute mark of the second, the Lightning overwhelmed the Sharks’ fourth line of Chris Tierney, Dainius Zubrus and Mike Brown. The Lightning did not score, but the Sharks were trapped in their zone for too long.
The Sharks had another try on the power play at 9:20, when Braydon Coburn was called for holding. Tommy Wingels drew that call. The Sharks recorded a few shots during the power play but did not get anything past Bishop.
At 12:55, the Sharks seemed to have scored after a wild scramble, but the goal was called off as the referee lost sight of the puck and blew the whistle before the puck crossed the line.
That was followed by a holding call to Andrej Sustr, and again the bulk of the power play time was given to the top unit. They could not do anything with that time, but the second unit, if indeed that is what they are, did score. Matt Tennyson’s shot from near the point got by Bishop, with assists to Justin Braun and Tomas Hertl. The other skaters on the ice were Donskoi and Karlsson.
With just over five minutes left, Chris Tierney went to the box for tripping. The Sharks were doing a great job killing the penalty, often stopping the Lightning at the blue line. Half way through, Joel Ward was called for tripping as well, putting the Sharks down by two men for 50 seconds. The Sharks held them off for 30 of those seconds but Steven Stamkos and Kucherov took advantage of the Sharks being a little too far from their goal and found a 2 on 1 chance. A late pass from Stamkos set Kucherov up perfectly. He picked a corner over Stalock’s shoulder and gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.
At the end of the second, the shots were 18-14 Sharks, the score 3-1 Lightning.
The Sharks’ belaguered power play had another shot 40 seconds into the third period, when Tomas Hertl drew a tripping call on Anton Stralman. Donskoi, Hertl and Karlsson started this one, but had no luck. The Ward-Marleau-Thornton unit came out for the second minute of the power play. No joy there either.
DeBoer put the third line out after the power play expired, with Wingels, Hertl and Nieto. They started well but Brian Boyle broke away with Brown in a two on one. Stalock stopped Brown’s shot but lost track of the puck. As it sat there behind his skate, Boyle tapped it in.
Jason Garrison went to the box next, 5:42 in, for interference. That power play started with a two on one chance for Tampa Bay. Burns and Stalock stopped them from scoring but the Sharks never gained any traction.
Victor Hedman went to the box at 8:13 for cross-checking Chris Tierney. Thirteen seconds into the power play, Brent Burns’ shot went off Joel Ward and by Bishop. Marleau was acting as a screen, and Bishop claimed there was some interference but the goal stood up after a review. Assists went to Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski.
With 11:10 left in regulation, Ben Bishop took a stick through the mask and left the game, being replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
With the penalty count becoming ridiculous, Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn went to the box for boarding Brenden Dillon.
Brent Burns was clearly on a tear as he took control of the power play, caught a puck at the point, skated backwards around the Lightning zone to pick his spot, and shot it over Vasilevskiy’s shoulder from the faceoff circle.
The Sharks had a couple fo chances after that but even with an empty net they could not truly control play in the offensive zone and no more goals were scored.
The Sharks next play on Tuesday at 6:00 PT, a road game against Calgary.