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Another tough 3rd period dooms SJ
Tampa Bay shakes off sluggish start to beat Sharks 4-1
3/21/2024 - By Mike Lee

After getting annihilated by the Nashville Predators to end their 5-game road trip last Tuesday night, the Sharks were focused on cleaning up lots of issues. They did that for the first 40 minutes of Thursday night's contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Problem is NHL games are 60 minutes. Tampa Bay snapped out of a 40-minute funk and scored 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd period to send the Sharks to their 6th consecutive loss in a 4-1 tilt.

Sharks head coach David Quinn turned the morning skate into a practice, reminding his team that they were embarrassed by the Predators just 48 hours earlier. Quinn's players seemed to take that reminder to heart, as they played some of their best hockey of the season through the first two periods.

Things started auspiciously for the Sharks, but they still looked as if the sting of their Tennessee debacle was on their minds.

It's said that you make your own luck but the way the Sharks season has gone it's not surprising that they would fall victim to a fluke goal to start this game. With the puck deep in the San Jose zone, Victor Hedman carried the puck out of the left corner and made an attempt too wind the puck around the end boards, but his pass kicked off referee Chris Schenker's skate to a spot out front.

Schenker had his back to the end boards with is skates 90 degrees to Hedman's pass which landed on Nicholas Paul's stick. With everyone tracking where the puck should have been, nobody saw Paul collect the deflection for the easy deposit.

San Jose would respond two and a half minutes later when William Eklund finished a 2-on-1 break by whipping a pass past Andrei Vasilevskiy fro the right side. Jacob MacDonald intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and immediately countered into the Lightning zone. He carried the puck below the left circle, before wrapping a pass around defenseman Calvin de Haan back to Eklund who finished the play for his 11th goal of the season.

The Sharks would out-shoot the Lightning 7-4 in the opening frame.

Vasilevskiy kept the Lightning in the game early in the 2nd period with a pair of stellar saves on quality chances. First he stoned Luke Kunin from the doorstep, then denied Justin Bailey 2 minutes later.

Jan Rutta was called for slashing as the middle period timer expired. The defenseman was forced into the infraction after Justin Bailey turned the puck over at center ice, resulting in a great scoring chance for Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay took full advantage of the ensuing power play which started when the puck was dropped to start the 3rd period. Brayden Point converted his 39th goal of the season on a put back chance from the left side after Nikita Kucherov fired a shot on Blackwood from the slot.

Former Sharks Anthony Duclair scored his 20th of the season at 6:50 of the period when he gathered a Kucherov feed off the rush and raced in on Blackwood and lifted a shot over the Shark goaltender's left shoulder.

Point added his 40th of the season with 6 minutes to play after Kucherov made a blind feed from his knees while he was facing the end boards near the right corner. Point made quick work of Blackwood after collecting the Kucherov assist. The helper was Kucherov's 4th of the night.

A tripping penalty to Steven Stamkos with 80 seconds left in regulation went unscathed for the Lighting.

Game Notes:

* Marc-Edouard Vlasic played in his 1,283rd game, tying Ken Daneyko for 3rd all time, for games played by a defenseman with one franchise.

* The game marked the Sharks last game against an opponent from the Eastern Conference this season.

* The game was short one linesman after Steven Stamkos drilled Tommy Hughes with a shot between the shoulder blades. The injured linesman did not return.

* The Sharks out-shot the Lightning through the fist two periods, but as went the game, Tampa Bay went to work in the 3rd, out-shooting San Jose 11-6. 3 of those found the back of the net to bury the Sharks.

* San Jose held a slight edge in draws, winning 25 of 48 draws (52%), which was a huge deficiency on their recent road trip.


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1 2 3 T
TB 1 0 3 4
SJ 1 0 0 1
1st period - 1, TB, Paul 19 (Hedman, Kucherov), 4:53. 2, SJ, Eklund 11 (MacDonald), 7:21.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 3, TB, Point 39 (Kucherov, Stamkos), 0:34, (pp). 4, TB, Duclair 20 (Kucherov, Point), 6:50. 5, TB, Point 40 (Kucherov, Duclair), 14:02.
1st period - Thrun, SJ (slashing), 0:42; Hedman, TB (tripping), 14:40; Kunin, SJ (high sticking), 16:37.
2nd period - Sheary, TB (roughing), 15:25; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 15:25; Rutta, SJ (slashing), 20:00.
3rd period - Lilleberg, TB (interference), 11:11; Stamkos, TB (tripping), 18:20.
Shots Saves
TB - Vasilevskiy 21 20
SJ - Blackwood 21 17
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
TB 4 6 11 21
SJ 7 9 5 21
Power Play Conversion
TB 1 of 3
SJ 0 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Nikita Kucherov
Brayden Point
Jacob MacDonald
SAP Center - 10,315
Referees: #22 Ghislain Hebert, #3 Chris Schlenker. Linesmen: #74 Trent Knorr, #65 Tommy Hughes.

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