San Jose Sharks Falter At Home Yet Again


The San Jose Sharks just can’t seem to figure their home blues. This time, the Sharks battled back from three-goal third period deficit to cut the Tampa Bay Lightning lead to one, but San Jose couldn’t fully scale the mountain as the Sharks dropped yet another game at SAP Center, falling 4-3 on Saturday night.

San Jose was doomed by a slow start in this one as Nikita Kucherov made Brent Burns look silly in walking around the Sharks defenseman and firing one past Alex Stalock after a deflection off Paul Martin just 2:19 into game. Kucherov was the best player on the ice for the Lightning and it was just the beginning of things to come for the exciting, young forward.

Tampa would take a 2-0 lead into the break after they converted a rush up the ice that Joel Ward didn’t play particularly well as the centering pass went in off the skate of Erik Condra. It was a carry over period of their third from the night before in Anaheim as San Jose mustered only four shots on goal in the first.

However, San Jose would cut the deficit in half in the second as Matt Tennyson fired a beautiful shot far side past Ben Bishop for his first goal of the season. It was great to see the second power play unit convert for the Sharks, and San Jose’s power play was just getting started on this night.

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Unfortunately, the Sharks gave up the momentum as a little more than three minutes later, after two tripping penalties against San Jose gave Tampa Bay a two-man advantage, Kucherov absolutely blasted one past Stalock off a three-on-two rush to re-establish a two-goal lead. There aren’t any goalies in the league who were going to stop that shot as it was ripped into the top corner on the glove side.

The most deflating goal of the game came just over three minutes into the final frame as J.T. Brown raced around Justin Braun after a miscue at the Lightning blue line and shoveled a puck that Stalock made the initial save, but he couldn’t find the loose puck. With Stalock looking the wrong way, Brian Boyle was able to flip home the puck into a wide open net and give the Lightning a 4-1 advantage.

San Jose would not go quietly as the Lightning gave the Sharks life by taking four penalties in the third period. Joel Ward tipped home his 10th goal of the season, perfectly re-directing a Burns shot from the point past Bishop.

Speaking of Bishop, he would have to leave the game in the third after a shot to the head. In his place, Andrei Vasilevskiy would come on, but he was greeted by a great individual effort by Burns. Burns would keep a clearing attempt by Tampa Bay in the offensive zone, skate across the ice before eventually firing a perfectly placed shot past Vasilevskiy on the short side.

It was another typical game for Burns, with some questionable play in his defensive end at times, but some simply dominant play in the offensive zone. Burns logged a game-high 32 minutes of ice time with seven shots on goal as Peter DeBoer leaned on his big man with Marc-Edouard Vlasic out with a lower-body injury.

Despite the efforts of Burns, the Sharks dug themselves too great a hole as they dropped their third-straight game this week.

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It might have been an undeserved result for San Jose as they outshot the Lightning 34-20 for the game. The Sharks power play was effective as well, converting 3-of-8 opportunities, although they came up empty in some critical situations earlier in the game.

The streaky Sharks are stuck in a rut once again as they have lost four of their past five games following their perfect, six-game road trip. San Jose must rediscover what made themselves so successful on that trip as they are letting valuable points slip away.

It was another frustrating result for the boys in teal, and yet another disappointment for the home fans who are being short-changed by their Sharks.