San Jose Sharks Look To Rebound Against Tampa Bay


Fresh off a tough, frustrating loss to the Anaheim Ducks last night, the San Jose Sharks return home to take on another Stanley Cup contender, this time from the Eastern Conference. San Jose will be looking to reverse their recent home woes when they host Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Sharks will turn to Alex Stalock between the pipes, and they’ll need a big effort from him as San Jose will be missing one of their key pieces on the back end as Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be out with a lower body injury (via Curtis Pashelka of the San Jose Mercury News).

With Vlasic out of the lineup, the Sharks recalled Mirco Mueller from the San Jose Barracuda, and he will likely slide in on San Jose’s third defensive pairing alongside Matt Tennyson. The Sharks will need a big effort from their top four defensemen as they look to slow down a struggling, but explosive Tampa Bay offense.

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Players to Watch

Sharks: Alex Stalock. As mentioned previously, Stalock will be the man in nets tonight and he will be making only his sixth start of the year. Stalock hasn’t been great thus far with a 2-3-0 record with a 2.88 GAA and an .896 save percentage. He will be counted upon heavily tonight with Vlasic unable to go, and the Sharks having played last night in Anaheim.

Lightning: Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has made more headlines off the ice this season as the pending unrestricted free agent’s future is up in the air. On the ice, he is still the unquestioned leader of the Tampa Bay offense which has struggled this year. Stamkos paces the Lightning with 11 goals and 19 assists.

Keys to the Game

1. Weather the Storm

With San Jose dropping a hard fought game last night, the Sharks will likely need to weather an early storm. Tampa Bay hasn’t played since Wednesday and they’ve only played one game this week so they will be well rested. Expect a big push from the Lightning early on as they try to take advantage of a weary Sharks team.

2. Clean Break Outs

San Jose was horrible in breaking out of their own zone in the final frame against the Ducks last night, which resulted in only two shots. The Sharks will need clean break outs to allow the forecheck and offense to go to work. Once they get it into the offensive zone, San Jose must get shots and bodies to the net as they face a stingy Tampa Bay defense that is tied for third in the league allowing just 2.19 goals per game.

3. Snap the Skid

It’s been well documented that the Sharks have been a different team inside SAP Center, with a 4-7-0 record. However, more concerning, San Jose has lost three of their last four games since their perfect road trip. The Sharks will want to ensure they don’t lose any more ground with a win tonight.

Next: Sharks Seven-Game Road Streak Snapped In Anaheim



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