San Jose Sharks homecoming ruined by Lightning as Tampa win at the SAP Center

Mar 21, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Anthony Duclair (10) scores a
Mar 21, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Anthony Duclair (10) scores a / Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Duclair's return to San Jose ended in the Sharks being defeated after a valiant effort. This is more what I think a lot of fans expected. A competitive game that was eventually decided by the elite talent that the Tampa Bay Lightning possess. It ended up being the difference in this game and the Sharks come up short in their return from the long trip east. With just a few games left until the end of the season, this may not be the worst thing for the organization.

This one started with a welcome back to Duclair, who was traded to Tampa Bay ahead of the trade deadline. Sharks fans gave the speedy winger a warm reception as he was a very good member of this organization. It's nice to see him in a new place that will give him the chance to win the Stanley Cup he so thoroughly deserves. A was a great player and a better person during his time in San Jose.

Hockey Gods, however, do not care about sentimentality and that was put on full display early. Victor Hedman tried to rim the puck behind the net to the other side of the ice, a fairly common play in the NHL. It hit something along the boards, whether that be a stantion or anything else, and took a whacky bounce out to the same side of the net. The only one to see it was Nick Paul, and he scored to make it 1-0 Tampa.


San Jose would tie the game up about halfway through the first period. Jacob MacDonald was able to beat a Lightning player to a loose puck in the neutral zone and use his speed on an odd-man rush to create a shooting threat. It allowed him to play a pass to the back post where William Eklund was ready and waiting to bury it and the Sharks had life.

However, the third period would see Tampa flex their championship caliber. Some slick puck movement on the powerplay allowed the Bolts to set up their stars. A clean entry from Brayden Point allows him to enter the zone and drop the puck back to Steven Stamkos. Stamkos gets it into the slot for Nikita Kucherov, but his shot it turned away by Blackwood, only for Brayden Point to put the rebound away.

Then we were treated to see something we've grown accustomed to. Brayden Point entered the zone cleanly dragging the left defenseman Jan Rutta across the ice. Point drops it to Kucherov, who immediately fires the puck over to a wide open Anthony Duclair. The Duke one-on-one with a goaltender is easy money for him, and Blackwood was beaten again to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead.

Duclair and Kucherov would get into a battle alone the boards with Jan Rutta and Mario Ferraro. They'd win it back into the high slot with a beautiful between the legs pass on his knees from Nikita Kucherov. He put it blindly onto the stick of Point, and that was enough to allow the Lightning to make it 4-1. Blackwood had no chance, and this game got out of hand late after a solid start from the Lightning.

San Jose just couldn't puncture Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight, as many teams struggle to. It took a cross crease pass to beat him for the only Sharks goal and the rest of the night, he shut the door. It's a story we know all too well. San Jose play well but just cannot bury the puck. It's now six straight defeats for the Sharks, and the organization knows that this isn't good enough. There is wanting to get a good draft pick, but this is too far.