Game 13: Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost to the San Jose Sharks 5-2 in the final game of their West Coast road trip.
This might've been a much closer game, had Antero Niittymaki not started in net for the Sharks. And we all know about his infamous record against Southeast Division teams. Niitty was his typical stellar self, as Lightning fans are well aware of, after watching him play for Tampa Bay last season.
The Lightning again let another shorthanded goal get in. This one was by Patrick Marleau halfway through the first period. I'm not sure if it's a case that our defense isn't mobile enough, or are out of position too much to catch these guys.
It might also be a case of where having one true defenseman on the power play might be hampering the defensive effort. In which case, the forwards need to tighten up a bit more in the offensive zone. Or, at the very least, make better passes so that they don't get picked off.
Vincent Lecavalier had a great game, and he picked up his play in the third even more. He won 57% of his faceoffs, had five shots on goal, assisted on both Lightning goals, and two hits. Sure, he didn't score himself - and he seriously tried - but he was facing Niittymaki, remember?
Steven Stamkos also had a great game. His stats were similar to Lecavalier's: he won 54% of his faceoffs, had six shots on goal, scored a goal and had an assist. His goal was the classic one-timer from the right faceoff circle. Frankly, if you've seen one Stamkos goal, you've pretty much seen them all at this point - with few exceptions.
Mike Smith played very well, for the most part. He had a few shaky moments here and there, and without a lot of defensive support to help him out. But, generally speaking - despite the five goals against - he had a pretty good game.
The Lightning finished their road trip with a record of one win, two losses in regulation, and one overtime loss, by the way.
The next game is Tuesday, 9 November, against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It's also Military Night at the St. Pete Times Forum, so come out and support not only the Lightning but the troops as well. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern, and the Raw Charge game thread will open up 30 minutes before the game. So if you're not at the game, come join us!
Lightning vs Sharks coverage [SB Nation]
Fear The Fin [SB Nation San Jose Sharks site]
Lightning vs Sharks recap [TSN]