(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
In their return to home ice after a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the San Jose Sharks dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 victory. Sharks Tommy Wingels had a whale of a game, netting two goals for his first multi-goal game of his NHL career. His linemates Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture fared just as well, with Marleau skating away with one goal and an assist and Logan Couture potting a career high three assists for the night. Brent Burns was back in the lineup after missing 13 games with a mystery upper body injury and although his skates seemed a little rusty, he quickly made his presence known, finding the back of the net on a tip in off a feed from Scott Hannan that scooted past Tampa Bay netminder Anders Lindback.
The Sharks came out of the gate with an offensive push and Tommy Wingels would score the first goal of the game at 3:31 of the first period. It was a beauty of a feed from Marleau along the boards to Couture, who then made a short pass to Wingels. A quick flick of the wrist and the puck went behind Lindback.
The Lightning went on the power play as Tommy Wingels was called for tripping with 14 minutes left in the first. Tampa Bay applied sustained pressure and trapped the Sharks penalty kill unit in their zone for nearly the full two minutes. The Lightning registered 3 shots on net but none made it past the pads of Niemi.
Brad Stuart would then fire one in from the top of the left circle after a wrap around attempt by Tyler Kennedy deflected out to him and the puck went in on the left post. Kennedy and Couture would combine for assists on the goal.
San Jose continued the momentum into the second period up 2-0, with solid cycling of the puck in the offensive zone. Their low to high cycle paid off when Patrick Marleau picked up the puck from behind the net and neatly passed it to Tommy Wingels who was camped at the net and tipped it in. Wingels appeared to not realize the puck had trickled in past Lindback.
Brent Burns brought the goal tally to 4-0 as Scott Hannan fired in a shot from the left circle. Thornton tapped it but the puck deflected off Burn’s skate and went in. Just 19 seconds later, Patrick Marleau streaked into the Lightning zone on a breakaway. He deked and then fired from the backhand past the glove side of Lindback, putting Tampa Bay in a deep hole 5-0, and giving Couture his third assist of the night.
Sharks netminder Niemi would not get the shutout, as Lightning forward Tyler Johnson lit the lamp to score the lone goal with 12:21 left to go in the 3rd period. Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Richard Panik were by far the best line for the Lightning for the game. This is the third loss in a row for Tampa Bay and they have one more road game on Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Sharks play the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at the Tank (SAP Center).