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Road trip starts with a buzz
Sharks sweep season series with Tampa
2/16/15 - By Mike Lee -

The road has been a safe haven for the Sharks this season, so when that's coupled with a new found confidence San Jose has been playing with, the results have been solid. San Jose kicked off a tough five game road trip with a nice 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightening at Amalie Arena in Florida on Tuesday night. The Sharks matched a solid performance against the Lightning earlier this season against the Lightening with goals from four different players and solid goaltending from Martin Jones who improved to 27-15-3.

The victory, combined with a loss by the Los Angeles Kings put the Sharks 4 points out of the Pacific Division lead with a game in hand. If the Sharks plan to get back into the playoffs after last year's disastrous season, they need only worry about themselves. They did just that on Tuesday night.

After falling behind to the Lightening in the opening period after Ryan Callahan converted on an Alex Killorn feed, the Sharks went to work.

San Jose opened the 2nd period with a quick goal after Joel Ward cracked a shot from the top of the left circle 1:43 into the period. Ward took a Marc-Edouard Vlassic on the left side as the Sharks tried to create an odd man rush into the Tampa zone. With Matt Nieto and a pair of Lightening defenders streaming across the blueline, Ward put on the breaks before teeing up a shot from 55 feet. Tampa goaltender Ben Bishop got his right pad on the shot, but it carried enough momentum to squeeze over the goal line.

Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton teamed up to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later. Pavelski worked the puck behind the Lightening net before sliding it along the end boards to Thornton on the right side. The Sharks captain made a beeline for the front of the net as a pair of Lightening defenders collapsed on Thornton. That opened up the low slot for Pavelski who one timed a feed from Thornton for his 26th goal of the season.

Cedric Paquette knotted the game at 2-2 midway through the period by pouncing on a deflected puck near the right dot before pivoting toward the net and whipping a shot past Jones for just his 3rd goal of the season.

In one of those intestinal fortitude moments, the Sharks rolled up their sleeves and simply got the job done in the 3rd period.

Nieto scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal 1:17 into the 3rd period. Patrick Marleau carried the puck up ice along the right wing boards before sending a backhand pass to Nieto on the left side. Nieto received the pass, raced in on net, and deeked Bishop before sliding a shot inside the left post for the 3-2 lead.

Thornton worked his magic one last time with 1:43 left in regulation. After chasing down a puck along the end boards behind the Lightening net, the big centerman appeared to spin away from a check, but he combined that with a blind backhanded pass to Melker Karlsson in the slot. The Sharks winger received Thornton's pass as he skated toward Bishop and whipped a shot for the Sharks 4th goal of the game. The pass found Karlsson so quickly that Bishop was late to react tot he ensuing shot. There wasn't a Tampa defender within 20 feet of Karlsson as he broke for the net.

Jones would finish the evening with 28 saves, but his play in the opening period positioned the Sharks to make a run at a win. his 8 saves in the period prevented it from easily being a 3-0 deficit at the first intermission.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 0 2 2 4
TB 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, TB, Callahan 6 (Killorn, Sustr), 17:51.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Ward 16 (Vlasic, Nieto), 1:43. 3, SJ, Pavelski 26 (Thornton, Hertl), 6:34. 4, TB, Paquette 3 (Brown), 8:46.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Nieto 8 (Marleau, Ward), 1:17. 6, SJ, Karlsson 7 (Thornton), 18:17.
Penalties
1st period - None.
2nd period - Coburn, TB (interference), 15:39.
3rd period - Donskoi, SJ (tripping), 2:00; Marchessault, TB (boarding), 9:13; Filppula, TB (tripping), 14:10; Hedman, TB (10 min misconduct), 18:17; Ward, SJ (holding), 19:46.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 30 28
TB - Bishop 31 27
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 10 13 31
TB 9 12 9 30
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 3
TB 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Brent Burns
Joe Thornton
Ryan Callahan
Attendance
19,902
Officials
Referees: Dwyer, McIsaac. Linesmen: Brisebois, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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