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Homesick
Fans leave disappointed again on Saturday night
12/5/15 - By Paul Krill -

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Sharks, 4-3, on Saturday. The obvious bad news is, the Sharks lost at home again. The more-obscured good news is, there are fewer fans on hand to see them lose in San Jose these days.

This loss, which turned into a nail-biter in what football fans would call end-of-the-game "garbage time," brought their home record this season to an abysmal four wins and eight losses and 1-4 when I'm personally in attendance.

I haven't seen them win in person since opening night nearly two months ago. But given the New World Order, in which sellouts at home are becoming a rarity rather than the exception, I did enjoy the less-crowded concourse and shorter lines at the concessions stands and restrooms.

Getting back to the game, though, it's difficult to win when goalie Alex Stalock is giving up weak goals, including one where he simply didn't know where the puck was after making a save. Tampa's Brian Boyle helped Stalock find the lost frozen rubber disk by depositing it in the net behind the Sharks' backup goaltender and making the score 4-1.

So much for all the optimism of a couple of weeks ago. Everything seemed like it was going in the right direction when the Sharks barely beat a bunch of mostly mediocre teams on their recent 6-0 road trip. The Sharks, though, had to come home eventually, where the losing resumed. The Sharks also lost on the road in Anaheim the night before the loss to Tampa Bay.

The problem we have here is this up-and-down team is simply mediocre. About the best we might hope for this season is a short playoff run, based on what we've seen so far. And the constant losing at home is going to thwart all efforts by the Sharks' marketing department to woo the fans back. It's time for the Sharks to again make the Shark Tank a tough place for opponents to play, instead of what it is now: a place where opponents can be pretty confident of collecting two precious points on the road.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
TB 2 1 1 4
SJ 0 1 2 3
1st period - 1, TB, Kucherov 7 (Hedman), 2:19. 2, TB, Condra 3 (Sustr, Brown), 11:20.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Tennyson 1 (Braun, Hertl), 13:35, (pp). 4, TB, Kucherov 8 (Stamkos), 16:44, (pp).
3rd period - 5, TB, Boyle 6 (Brown), 3:01. 6, SJ, Ward 10 (Burns, Pavelski), 8:26, (pp). 7, SJ, Burns 10 (unassisted), 14:32, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Pavelski, SJ (high sticking), 8:09; Boyle, TB (hooking), 16:33.
2nd period - Bench, TB (too many men), 1:29; Wingels, SJ (goaltender interference), 1:53; Coburn, TB (holding), 9:20; Sustr, TB (holding), 11:55; Tierney, SJ (tripping), 15:03; Ward, SJ (tripping), 16:05.
3rd period - Strallman, TB (tripping), 0:40; Garrison, TB (interference), 5:42; Hedman, TB (cross checking), 8:13; Killorn, TB (boarding), 13:47.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
TB - Bishop 26 24
TB - Vasilevskiy 8 7
SJ - Stalock 20 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
TB 6 8 6 20
SJ 4 14 16 34
Power Play Conversion
TB 1 of 4
SJ 3 of 8
3 Stars of the Game
Nikita Kucherov
Brent Burns
Victor Hedman
Attendance
16,089
Officials
Referees: Charron, Kozari. Linesmen: Devorski, Berg.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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