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Befuddling Sharks win
SJ knocks off East's best
11/13/14 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks are a bewildering team. After laying an egg against one of the league's worst teams in Florida on Tuesday night, San Jose rebounded with a solid win against the best team in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night. Joe Thornton and Tyler Kennedy each scored in the Sharks 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Don't try and explain how a team can stink it up against a cellar dweller on one night and then put a strangle hold on one of the top teams in the league two days later. This is the mystery that is Sharks hockey.

San Jose decided to be a little more proactive on the offensive side of the puck, storming out to a 17 shot opening period. Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop weathered the storm stopping everything the Sharks threw at him. San Joe kept to the game plan and would finally get to Bishop in the 2nd period.

Antti Niemi was just better.

The Sharks netminder frustrated the Lightning's high powered offense with a series of stops from in tight throughout the night. It was easy to see why Tampa has excelled in the East this season. Their offense makes no bones about attacking the net. That approach created several quality scoring chances, especially in the late stages of the game.

Niemi was just better.

Joe Thornton staked the Sharks to a 1-0 lead 5:23 in the 2nd period, capitalizing on a Lightning turnover in front of the Tampa Bay net. Eric Brewer pushed the puck out of the right corner to Brian Boyle, who let it roll off his stick right to Thornton. The Sharks centerman had Tomas Hertl on his left, but elected to shoot, placing the puck in the top right corner of the net.

Tyler Johnson drew a trip to the penalty box after interfering with Niemi three minutes later. The Sharks would convert at the tail end of the penalty when Brent Burns hit Tyler Kennedy with a lead pass at the Lightning blueline. Kennedy raced in on net and pushed the puck past Bishop for the 2-0 lead.

The goal was Kennedy's 1st of the season and appeared to cross the goal line before the Johnson penalty expired, but he was not credited with a power play goal.

San Jose made things difficult for themselves early in the 3rd period when Marc-Edouard Vlasic and tommy Wingels took tripping penalties 50 seconds apart. Tampa Bay enjoyed a 2-man advantage, but once again, Niemi denied the Lightning.

Steven Stamkos finally solved the Sharks netminder, tipping an Andrej Sustr blast from the left point. Stamkos wasn't in line with the shot, but his outstretched stick caught the puck with the blade, lifting the puck past Niemi.

The Lightning had more then 10 minutes to try and pot the equalizer, but Niemi withstood the 16 shot barrage to get the Sharks back in the win column.

Game Notes

* Troy Grosenick served as Niemi's backup after Alex Stalock was placed on the IR on Wednesday following minor knee surgery. Grosenick is 7-2-1 with a 2.73 GAA for the Worcester Sharks this season.

* Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Tommy Wingels each recorded 6 shots on goal during the game. Marleau missed on a golden chance in the 2nd period, lifting a puck over the cross bar from in tight after Bishop was caught out of position.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 0 2
TB 0 0 1 1
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Thornton 6 (unassisted), 5:23. 2, SJ, Kennedy 1 (Burns, Niemi), 10:37.
3rd period - 3, TB, Stamkos 11 (Sustr, Filppula), 9:35.
1st period - Gudas, TB (interference), 14:52; Bench, SJ (too many men), 18:30.
2nd period - Nieto, SJ (hooking), 2:19; Johnson, TB (goaltender interference), 8:37; Bench, TB (too many men), 18:37.
3rd period - Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 2:39; Wingels, SJ (tripping), 3:29.
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 33 32
TB - Bishop 39 37
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 17 14 8 39
TB 9 8 16 33
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
TB 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Antti Niemi
Ben Bishop
Brent Burns
Referees: Dwyer, St Laurent. Linesmen: Kovachik, Nowak.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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