Tampa Bay Lightning Bitten By The San Jose Sharks

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning started out strong, but a series of defensive miscues led to the San Jose Sharks defeating the Lightning 4-2 at the Amalie Arena.

The Tampa Bay Lightning definitely did not cap off their weekend in the manner in which they would have hoped. After being edged out 2-1 by the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning had an outlet for their pent up aggression on the horizon. Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning charged into the Amalie Arena to play host to Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks.

From the moment the puck dropped, the Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the ice. While neither team would be able to find the back of the net in the first 10 minutes of play tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to outshoot the Sharks 7-2. As the old saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. Keep the puck out of the hands of the opponent and they simply cannot score a goal.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to have found a way to constructively channel all of the frustration building inside of them since their 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night. The Bolts were very aggressive with the puck, had better puck control, and just all around played better in the first twenty minutes of play tonight against the Sharks.

As time continued to tick off the clock, the San Jose Sharks would start to come into their own and start making some moves in the Lightning zone. Unfortunately for the Sharks, the Lightning had an answer to just about every move the Sharks would make. It wasn’t until 17:51 in the first period when someone would finally find the back of the net.

It would be Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan who would put the puck past San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones and into the back of the net. It has been 18 games since Callahan has found the back of the net. This is certainly a relief for the veteran forward. Assists on the Callahan goal would go to center Alex Killorn and defenseman Andrej Sustr.

When the buzzer would sound to end the first period of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning would lead the San Jose Sharks 1-0. The Lightning would also outshoot the Sharks 9-8 through 20 minutes of play.

Unfortunately, when these two team hit the ice for the second period of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to begin to fall back on quite a few of their bad habits. It wasn’t long until the Sharks would sense the blood in the water and capitalize on the Lightning’s defensive weakness. Just 1:43 into the second period, the San Jose Sharks would tie things up with a goal from right wing Joel Ward.

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Just over five minutes later, the hungry Sharks would bite the Lightning once again with a goal from Joe Pavelski. As much as we would like to scowl with disgust in the face of Pavelski’s play, we have to give credit where credit is due. It was a really good play from Pavelski and center Joe Thornton. Ben Bishop didn’t even have a chance to stop this one.

It should come as no surprise Pavelski and Thornton respectively lead the Sharks in overall points.

Thankfully for Bolts fans, the Tampa Bay Lightning had no intention of standing idly by and watching this game slip through the fingers. Just over two minutes after the Pavelski goal, the Tampa Bay Lightning would answer with a goal of their own. It would be Lightning center Cedric Paquette who would ultimately find the back of the net. This was Paquette’s 3rd goal of the season. The lone assist on the play went to J.T. Brown.

It is really refreshing to see that someone other than the Lightning’s usual suspects are finding the back of the net tonight. As we said before, we are sure a weight has been lifted from Ryan Callahan after breaking his arduous dry spell. The same can be said for Paquette, who spent much of this season on the sidelines with a nagging injury.

When the buzzer would sound to end the second period of play, the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks would be tied at two goals apiece. The Lightning would outshoot the Sharks 12-10 in the second period for a two period total of 21-18.

Despite the best efforts of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a defensive miscue would lead to the San Jose Sharks regaining the lead early in the third period. It would be Sharks left wing Matt Nieto who would fire off the wrist shot that would make its way past Bishop and into the back of the net. The third period goal would be Nieto’s eighth goal of the season.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would fight tooth and nail to find a way to get back into the game and regain the lead they started out this game with, but when all was said and done, it simply wasn’t meant to be.

Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr attempted to send the puck around the back of the net to set up a play in front of the net, but a referee found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and the puck would deflect in front to Sharks center Melker Karlsson who would put the puck into the back of the net.

As you can imagine, the Tampa Bay Lightning were rather frustrated, for lack of another professional word, at the way the play turned out. The Lightning were so displeased that Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would be sent to the locker room with a Game Misconduct penalty after having a few choice words for the officials. Don’t you love how that works out? The referees are allowed to, unintentionally or not, interfere in your game, but you’re not allowed to say anything about it. That sounds legit, right?

The Tampa Bay Lightning would pull Ben Bishop to allow themselves to gain an extra attacker on the ice. The Lightning would even finish out the game on a Power Play, but it simply wasn’t enough to climb out of the hole they had fallen in. The San Jose Sharks would defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. This was the Lightning’s second home loss in a row after winning nine of their last 10 games at the Amalie Arena.

There is plenty of work that needs to be done and plenty of people who need to get over a nasty case of the flu. Players like Anton Stralman and Vladislav Namestnikov and even Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper have been under the weather lately. Of course, things got a lot worse for Namestnikov on Sunday night after his collision with Joel Edmundson of the St. Louis Blues. Since then, Namestnikov has been listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.

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Unfortunately for the Lightning, there is no time for them to dwell on tonight’s loss. The end of the line for the postseason is quickly approaching, and the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to be prepared to get down to business once again on Thursday night as Dustin Byfuglien and the Winnipeg Jets come flying into town to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final game of their current four-game home stand.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks? What do you think the Tampa Bay Lightning need to do to find themselves in a viable position for the post season? What do you think should be the priority for the Lightning heading into the NHL Trade Deadline? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Next: Lightning Headed To Battle Against Sharks

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