Lightning blast Sharks, 5-1

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The San Jose Sharks couldn't complete a line change or get control of the puck. All they could do, it seemed, was watch the puck as it zipped around their own zone.

The Tampa Bay Lightning connected on at least six passes inside the Sharks' defensive zone in one second-period stretch Wednesday before Steven Stamkos fed Vladislav Namestnikov right in front of the net for a tap-in goal.

Namestnikov's goal was part of a dominant second period for the Lightning, which went on to a convincing 5-1 win at SAP Center, halting the Sharks' win streak at four.

The Sharks also allowed second period goals by Nikita Kucherov and Slater Koekkoek. as goalie Martin Jones stopped just 17 of 21 shots and was pulled in favor of Aaron Dell for the start of the third. Dell allowed a power play goal at the 6:14 mark of the third by Namestnikov, who finished with two goals and an assist as part of an impressive night for Tampa Bay's top line.

Namestnikov's first goal was a prime example of how every time the Sharks found themselves even slightly out of position, the Lightning either created a quality scoring chance or made San Jose pay with a highlight-reel score.

Joonas Donskoi had the Sharks lone goal in the first two periods, scoring just 25 seconds into the first period for his fifth goal of the season. Slowly, though, the Lightning began to exert its will over a Sharks team that has prided itself on tight checking hockey.


The Sharks had done a decent job of slowing down the top scorer of each of their past five opponents, holding Rickard Rakell, Filip Forsberg, Auston Matthews, Evander Kane and Brad Marchand to a combined one goal, two assists and 12 shots on goal.

Through two periods though, the Lightning's top line of Stamkos, Namestnikov and Kucherov had combined for six points. They each finished with three points and forward Yanni Gourde, a former Sharks farmhand, had two assists.

The Sharks began the game with a bang as a Brent Burns pass out of San Jose's zone led to a 2 on 1 with Donskoi and Joe Thornton.

Donskoi got a backhand shot away, but a few seconds later, got open in the slot, took a pass from Thornton and beat Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for a 1-0 Sharks lead.


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