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Lightning blitz Sharks
SJ is overmatched by talented Tampa Bay
11/8/17 - By Mike Lee -

In what was billed as a battle of speed & talent vs puck control and defense, the speed & battle clearly won out. That talent came in the form of a Tampa Bay Lightning squad that blitzed the Sharks on SAP Center ice on Wednesday night in a 5-1 pasting. Tampa Bay shook off an early lapse, then rolled the Sharks in one of the ugliest losses of the season for San Jose. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov combined for 9 points as they dominated the Sharks.

The Sharks were so overmatched that their own building was essentially empty with 8 minutes to play in the game. Tampa Bay ripped off five consecutive goals, proving they are one of the teams to beat in the NHL this season.

Stamkos and Kucherov entered the night as the top two scorers in the NHL, and they left by padding their gaudy statistical accomplishments with 3 points each by the time the smoke cleared.

Joonas Donskoi staked the Sharks to an early goal and their only lead of the night just 25 seconds into the game. San Jose worked the puck up ice and had a pair of scoring chances denied by Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, but Donskoi finished things off with a put back from the slot after a Joe Thornton attempt deflected out to the Finnish forward.

Jake Dotchin recorded his first career NHL goal 7 minutes later by stepping into a shot from the top of the right circle. Sharks goaltender Martin Jones had a clear look at the shot, but it stayed on the ice, slipping between his pads.

Donskoi took a slashing penalty right before the 1st intermission, which carried over to 2nd period. That enabled the Lightning to setup in the Sharks zone to start the next frame, and Kucherov buried a wrist shot from the slot 44 seconds in. Donskoi had a chance to tie up the league's goal scoring leader, but his passive defense allowed the quick shot that beat Jones for his 15th tally of the season.

Every player in the NHL has one of those nights, and this was Martin Jones chance. After narrowly giving up a goal while handling the puck out of his net earlier in the period, Jones tried to hold the puck as the Lightning forecheck collapsed on him. Martin Jones tried to fend off Ryan Callahan by tucking the Lightning forward's stick under his arm.

Slater Koekkoek took advantage right after the Jones penalty expired, slipping a shot from the right corner under the Shark netminder's skate for his 3rd goal of the season with essentially four Sharks defenders in the vicinity. The shot was one that Jones needed to make.

Things went from bad to worse less than three minutes later when the Sharks 4th line was a skater short. The Sharks four-man configuration proved ineffective as Namestnikov buried a Stamkos pass from just outside the right post.

Why the Sharks failed to have a fifth skater on the ice was indicative of the unprepared approach San Jose had all night.

Jones didn't even touch the ice in the 3rd period, giving way for Aaron Dell who fared no better. Namestnikov scored his second of the night 6:14 into the final frame after Joe Thornton was sent off for holding.

That goal sent the faithful packing. The remainder of the game was a concerted effort by the Sharks to keep the puck out of their own net. No real effort to score, but rather to keep the score from getting any more gory than it already was.

Game Notes:

* Joonas Donskoi and Timo Meier each recorded 5 shots on net. Tim Heed and mikkel Boedker added 4 shot each. The four player accounted for more than half of San Jose's shot total.

* Tampa Bay blocked 22 San Jose shots, denying anything from reaching their net. It is a simple formula that tends to shut down the Sharks offense when employed.

* San Jose won 66% of their faceoffs, but still ended up getting outscored 5-1. Retaining those faceoffs was certainly a problem for San Jose.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
TB 1 3 1 5
SJ 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Donskoi 5 (Thornton, Pavelski), 0:25. 2, TB, Dotchin 1 (Point, Gourde), 7:17.
2nd period - 3, TB, Kucherov 15 (Namestnikov, Stamkos), 0:44. 4, TB, Koekkoek 3 (Gourde, Stralman), 9:21. 5, TB, Namestnikov 6 (Stamkos, Kucherov), 12:00.
3rd period - 6, TB, Namestnikov 7 (Kucherov, Killorn), 6:14, (pp).
Overtime - .
Shootout - SJ: (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss). TB: (goal/miss), (goal/miss), (goal/miss).
1st period - Heed, SJ (holding), 10:03; Koekkoek, TB (slashing), 16:52; Donskoi, SJ (slashing), 18:33.
2nd period - Gourde, TB (delay of game - puck over glass), 5:00; Jones, SJ (holding the stick), 6:42.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (holding), 4:48.
Overtime - .
Shots Saves
TB - Vasilevsky 20 19
TB - empty net
SJ - Jones 21 17
SJ - Dell
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
TB 7 14 21
SJ 11 9 20
Power Play Conversion
TB 1 of 4
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Walsh, Watson. Linesmen: Cormier, Gawryletz.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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