Game 49: Bolts lose battle of the hat tricks

Martin St. Louis put forth a historic and heroic individual effort but the team behind him wasn't up to the task, blowing a two-goal lead and losing to the San Jose Sharks 5-4 for their fifth straight loss at home.

The San Jose Sharks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Saturday afternoon.

Normally, when Martin St. Louis does something historic and the Lightning have a 4-2 lead in the second with Ben Bishop in net, Lightning fans can feel pretty good about the eventual outcome of the game. However, a substandard performance from Bishop, a lack of offensive production from anybody besides St. Louis versus one of the elite teams in the NHL and you've got what seems to be a disturbing new normal at the Tampa Bay Times Forum: lapses in intensity and sloppiness resulting in the Lightning coming up short.

"I thought we put ourselves in a good spot, up 4-2 against a pretty good San Jose team. We didn't keep pushing, we took penalties and next thing you know, we are down a goal, so it's deflating. We just didn't get it done." - St. Louis

The Lightning are now 0-3-2 in their last five home games and haven't experienced victory at home since before Christmas, a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on December 21.

The Sharks got on the board first, with Matt Nieto scoring at 9:46 on assists from Patrick Marleau and Tommy Wingels.

The Lightning tied things up at 11:56 on the power play, the first goal of the day from St. Louis with assists from Tyler Johnson and Teddy Purcell.

:Less than a minute later, San Jose regained the lead when Marleau scored at 12:52, getting help from Nieto and Wingels.

St. Louis tied the game again at 15:44 on an absolutely incredible second effort goal that saw the Captain reach behind himself with his stick, allowing him to tap his own rebound between his legs and across the goal line. Jean-Philippe Cote and goalie Ben Bishop were credited with assists.

St. Louis wrapped up the 1st period hat trick and gave the Lightning the lead at 19:30, getting helpers from J.T. Brown and Mark Barberio.

The Lightning pushed the lead to 4-2 at 2:07 of the second when St. Louis netted his fourth goal of the game, this time on the power play with help from Purcell and Johnson. In doing so, St. Louis tied the Lightning franchise record of four goals in a game, a record that has stood literally since the beginning of time in terms of Lightning history, equaling the four scored by Chris Kontos on October 7, 1992, opening night of the inaugural season.

Bishop, who has been rock-solid when not downright stellar this season, was not his usual self. He stopped 22 of 27 shots and was the beneficiary of a whistle that wiped out what would have been a sixth goal early in the game. His counterpart, Antti Niemi stopped 19 of the 23 shots he faced.

The Sharks bit into the lead at 12:48 with an extra skater on for a delayed penalty, Joe Pavelski scored on assists from Tyler Kennedy and Jason Demers.

They tied it at 13:09 on a power play goal. Again, it was Pavelski this time getting help from Dan Boyle and Marleau.

And at 19:00, they regained the lead again on what would turn out to be the game-winning goal that was reviewed and changed three different times but was eventually awarded to Pavelski, giving him a hat trick of his own. The assists were credited to Matt Irwin and Joe Thornton.

Game notes;

  • The Bolts are now 7-7-0 all-time against the Sharks at home. Today's loss broke a two-game home winning streak for the Lightning over San Jose.
  • This is the front half of a back-to-back weekend with the Bolts visiting the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow.
  • The Lightning now hold a record of  2-5-1 in the first game of back-to-backs and  5-1-1 in the second.
  • Could fatigue be a factor? This is the first time since the 1995-96 season that the Lightning will have played five games during a seven day span.
  • Defenseman Victor Hedman went down with a leg injury at the 4:40 mark of the third period and did not return.
  • St. Louis recorded his hat trick within the first 19:30, the second fastest in team history. The fastest, also by St. Louis, happened in 18:13 against the Hurricanes in 2006.
  • St. Louis's personal point-scored streak is now at seven games (eight goals and three assists).
  • Ben Bishop now has two assists this season.
  • The Lightning honored Laura Marchetti as the 23rd Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of today's game. Marchetti, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to More Health. Marchetti has lived through tragedy and has found a way to turn it into a positive for everyone, especially in the state of Florida. Marchetti experienced the death of her teenage daughter, Katie, when she was ejected from a car. Katie was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. This motivated Laura Marchetti to join More Health in educating teens on the importance of wearing seatbelts. Through Laura's efforts with More Health, she was able to help develop the More Health Trauma Education Lesson. This education session is intended for high school teens to know Katie's story and learn the value of seatbelt usage and other safe driving habits. So far, over 69,000 students since 2006 have heard this important lesson. In addition to her work on the More Health Trauma Education Lesson, Marchetti helped enact the Katie Marchetti Safety Belt Law in 2009/