San Jose Sharks Down Lightning With Strong Third Period


The San Jose Sharks kicked off their final extended road trip of the season against the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning. In a highly entertaining contest, the Sharks used two third period goals to secure a critical two points as San Jose emerged with a 4-2 win behind 28 saves from Martin Jones.

Jones had to be sharp from the get go as his teammates were a little sluggish in finding their legs. Tampa controlled the early portion of the game, outshooting the Sharks by a 7-1 margin midway through the opening 20 minutes, but Jones was there to thwart every opportunity.

However, a bad change from Paul Martin late in the first period allowed Ryan Callahan to find space in the middle of the ice and sneak one past the outstretched pad of Jones for his sixth goal of the year, giving the Lightning the 1-0 advantage after one.

San Jose wouldn’t take long to respond as they answered back less than two minutes into the middle frame. Joel Ward took a cross-ice feed from Marc-Edouard Vlasic and absolutely ripped one past Ben Bishop for his 16th goal of the year at the 1:53 mark.

More from Sharks News

Then, the Sharks would take their first lead of the game five minutes later off a perfect passing play from San Jose’s top line. Tomas Hertl did a nice job of getting in on the forecheck, and Joe Thornton fed a wide open Joe Pavelski in the slot for his team-best 26th tally of the season. The goal snapped a six-game goalless drought for the Sharks captain.

The San Jose lead wouldn’t last long as Tampa Bay answered right back through Cedric Paquette, whose third goal of the season tied things back up at two as the third period loomed.

It was the Sharks who seized control of this game in the final frame as San Jose executed a great rush up the ice as Patrick Marleau found Matt Nieto on a 2-on-1, and Nieto deked to his backhand and deposited the game-winner past Bishop for his eighth goal of the year.

From there, Jones and his blue line mates stood tall against a potent Lightning attack. Late in the third, San Jose would find the insurance marker they were searching for as Thornton made another excellent pass to Melker Karlsson who buried his seventh of the season to give the Sharks some extra breathing room.

Thornton’s pair of assists were both spectacular plays from San Jose’s top-line center as he continues to put forth a great year.

Next: Sharks In Tight Battle For Position In Pacific

It was another great start to a road trip for the Sharks as they continue this five-game trip against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. San Jose had to withstand surges from Tampa Bay throughout the contest, but they held firm behind their netminder who allowed his offense to gain steam as the game wore on.

The win was big in another respect as the Sharks now find themselves trailing the Los Angeles Kings by only four points for the division lead in the Pacific with a game in hand. Who knows, at the rate they’re going, San Jose may be atop the division perch by the time all is said and done.