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Suspect calls cost Sharks in OT loss
Tampa Bay wins on Hedman goal
2/1/2022 - By Mike Lee

The Sharks knew their south east swing was going to be a tough road trip, if not the toughest trip of the season. Little mistakes prevented them from scoring big points against big time opponents. Tuesday night's finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning should have been a turning point for a team that has struggled. Shoddy officiating played a pivotal role in a 3-2 overtime loss at Amelie Arena, which ended the 1-1-2 trip.

The defending Stanley Cup Champion Lightning don't need any extra help, but referees Jean Hebert and François St. Laurent called an imbalanced game. They completely shifted the balance of the game in the overtime when they negated what should have been a Sharks power play by calling an embellishment infection on Timo Meier. Tampa took the next faceoff and won the game on a Victor Hedman goal 2:45 into the extra period.

It was a tough ending for a Sharks team that battled all night.

Both teams traded penalties in the opening period, but neither power play units could generate any scoring. Tampa Bay held the advantage on the shot counter 9-7 after the first 20 minutes of play, and led in hits 17-16. The Sharks rarely generate 16 hits in a game, much less in a period.

Tampa grabbed the 1-0 lead 1:32 into the 2nd period when Anthony Cirelli finished a rush that required James Reimer to commit to Brayden Point on the right side. Cirelli kept skating toward the net as defenseman Brent Burns floated back and was late to deny the Lightning forward from depositing his 13th goal of the season into a wide open net.

The Sharks answered 3 minutes later when Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired in a shot from the right point. Rudolfs Balcers was loitering in front of the net and was able to get a stick blade on the puck, redirecting it past Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Reimer made a huge save just past the midpoint of the period when he snuffed out a breakaway chance by Mathieu Joseph.

Cal Foote took an interference penalty at 11:58 but the Sharks could not generate any pressure on Vasilevskiy.

A slew of penalties cost the Sharks late in the period. First Balcers was called for delay of game after he lofted a puck over the glass at 16:02. Logan Couture was then sent off for a lazy hooking penalty on Corey Perry. The Lightning scored right after Balcers stepped out of the penalty box when Alex Killorn knocked a puck down in the slot, pivoted to the net and lifted the puck past Reimer.

Timo Meier tried to go hard to the net with 96 seconds left in the period, but he was taken out by a Lightning defenseman, sliding into Vasilevskiy. Two Lightning players went after Meier, and when the smoke cleared, Tampa Bay found themselves back on the power play after Meier was called for goaltender interference. He was also assessed a roughing penalty which was offset by a similar call on Cirelli.

The Sharks started the 3rd period with Meier still in the box, but Steven Stamkos was called for tripping Andrew Cogliano 31 seconds into the period. San Jose used the ensuing power play to tie the game when Logan Couture tipped a Brent Burns shot for his 14th goal of the season.

San Jose dodge a bullet with 5 minutes left in regulation when Victor Hedman rang a shot off the crossbar.

The Lightning really turned up the heat in the last 4 minutes of regulation and owned the Sharks zone. San Jose and Reimer denied Tampa forcing overtime hockey.

Meier was tripped in the overtime period by McDonagh, but referee Hebert called him for embellishment. It was the turning point in the extra period because it gave the Lightning the life hey needed to win the game.

Game Notes:

* Defenseman Jake Middleton returned to the lineup after missing the last 11 games due to a concussion he sustained against Detroit on January 4th.

* Mario Ferraro returned to the lineup after missing Sunday's contest in Carolina. The defenseman took a puck to the face, which ended up costing him 3 teeth and a date with an oral surgeon on Sunday.

* Rudolfs Balcers scored his 4th goal in his last 5 games.

* Logan Couture recorded a 2-point night, with a goal and the secondary assist on Balcers goal.

* Due to the NHL's decision to bail on the Olympics, the Sharks now have 2 weeks off until they resume their season on February 14th.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 0 1 1 0 2
TB 0 2 0 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, TB, Cirelli 13 (Point, McDonagh), 1:32. 2, SJ, Balcers 6 (Vlasic, Couture), 4:50. 3, TB, Killorn 15 (Stamkos, Hedman), 18:08, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Couture 14 (Burns, Barabanov), 1:12, (pp).
Overtime - 5, TB, Hedman 10 (unassisted), 2:45.
1st period - Meloche, SJ (cross checking), 2:07; Rutta, TB (interference), 10:58.
2nd period - Foote, TB (interference), 11:58; Balcers, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:02; Couture, SJ (hooking), 17:51; Meier, SJ (goaltender interference), 18:24; Meier, SJ (roughing), 18:24; Cirelli, TB (roughing), 18:24.
3rd period - Stamkos, TB (tipping), 0:31.
Overtime - Meier, SJ (embellishment), 2:06; McDonagh, TB (tripping), 2:06.
Shots Saves
SJ - Reimer 32 29
TB - Vasilevskiy 21 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 7 6 7 1 21
TB 9 9 12 2 32
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
TB 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Victor Hedman
Logan Couture
Anthony Cirelli
Amelie Arena - ,
Referees: # François St. Laurent, # Jean Hebert. Linesmen: # Libor Suchanek, # James Tobias.

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