The San Jose Sharks (14-3-5, 33 points) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (14-8-0, 28 points) by the final score of 5-1 at the SAP Center on Thursday night. This was a great start to the five-game homestand for the Sharks, who looked strong in all three zones throughout the game.
The Lightning, who are still adjusting to life without Steven Stamkos, definitely put up a fight even if the final score says otherwise. They actually outshot San Jose 37-36, but in the end it did not matter.
The best line of the night by far for either team was Logan Couture’s line with Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels, which totaled eight points and a plus-minus rating of +10. It was an even better night for Wingels, who had the first multi-goal game of his career and definitely deserved it. Overall on the season Wingels already has more points in 22 games this season (16) than he did all of last year in 42 games (13).
Wingels’ first goal, which opened up the scoring, came on a one-timer from the right of the Lighting goaltender on a feed form linemate Couture. His other goal, which was San Jose’s third of the night and gave them a 3-0 lead, was set up by a great pass by Marleau who did his best Joe Thornton impression dishing it from behind the net.
This was also Burns’s first chance to hit the ice after being sidelined for 13 games due to a somewhat undisclosed injury, termed only as “upper body.” While he definitely looked rusty he still played pretty well and ended up getting a goal on a shot that went off of his foot and into the net. It was definitely not a skillful goal, but one that he created for himself by heading to the front of the net.
Aside from Wingels and Burns, San Jose’s other two goals were scored by Brad Stuart and Patrick Marleau. Stuart’s shot was one that was probably meant to create a rebound, but because of a heavy screen in front Anders Lindback had no chance of stopping it. Marleau’s goal, which pretty much sealed the deal in the third and put San Jose up 5-0, came on a partial breakaway. He actually fanned on his initial shot but was able to recover and put a backhand shot by the outstretch left leg of Lindback.
One of the guys that may get overlooked tonight, Antti Niemi, played one of his stronger games in recent memory. He was huge for San Jose early on in the game by making plenty of key saves which eventually allowed his team to secure the victory. On the night Niemi stopped 35 of the 36 shots he faced and unfortunately his shutout bid was ended midway through the third period when Tampa Bay finally broke through.
GGS 3 Stars
1. Tommy Wingels (2 goals)
2. Logan Couture (3 assists)
3. Patrick Marleau (1 goal, 2 assists)