Lightning sink in 2-1 loss to Sharks

Inconsistent play and listless offense leaves the Bolts going home without a point.

For the first minute of play I thought the Sharks alternate black uniforms were actually the Bolts wearing their alternates. Well, it turned out to be that type of night.

1st Period 0-0

Early on, FOX Sports color commentator Brian Engblom discussed how the Sharks want to “slow the game down” and are trying not to “play at a break-neck speed.” With Coach Jon Cooper’s whole “grit over skill” emphasis of late, I wondered how this game would go.

Towards the beginning of the frame the Bolts came out to a 6-1 shot advantage and eventually finished the period 12-7. Tampa Bay had a decent start which allowed them to keep up shot suppression and get shots on net. Occasionally the Sharks would get a successful back-check, but Andrei Vasilevskiy stood strong on multiple scoring chances. One in particular saw Joel Ward come in with a decent chance, yet Vasy was able to get a piece of it.

Vladislav Namestnikov had a few nice shifts. In the opening minutes he was able to find himself at the goal mouth on a redirect, but was able to get a hold of the puck. He then got tossed around. Poor Vladdy.

Later in the frame, Ward got called for tripping on Alex Killorn, but like any game, Killorn got a penalty, this time for embellishment. This led to a rather unproductive four-on-four. And this Tweet still remains relevant.

2nd Period 1-1

In the first period, Rick Peckham discussed how Sharks forward Ryan Carpenter was an Orlando native and played youth hockey at the RDV Ice Den [Nice! My daughter skates there. - Acha]. And although he’s on the opposing team, I was excited for the support of Florida hockey, particularly Central Florida. So as soon as I heard this I was going to do a shameless plug in this article on how great it is for an Orlando native to be in the NHL. Then minutes later he went on to light the lamp for the Sharks for the first goal of the game. (Insert shrug here).

Sharks’ Brenden Dillon eventually tripped up Brian Boyle on the forecheck and the Bolts went on the power-play. A few seconds in, Jonathan Drouin accidentally let a puck pass him and go offside. Upset with his blunder, Drouin made the Sharks’ penalty-kill look silly, deked out SJ’s Aaron Dell, and recorded the Lightning’s first of the night.

That angle not good enough? Here’s another.

Later, Nikita Nesterov took a shot that ricochetted of the post. Can’t help but think if that was Slater Koekkoek that would have gone in. (Again, insert shrug face here.)

Afterwards, a few possession changes continue until the Lighting found themselves with decent zone time. Gabriel Dumount, Michael Bournival, and Valtteri Filppula had a decent attack (interesting line). Zone time led to a Justin Braun hold on Tyler Johnson and the Bolts got their 2nd power play of the night.

Not much went on, sadly. The closing minutes of the period saw a few good shifts by the Sharks but the period ended tied 1-1. Shots end 20-13, Lightning.

3rd Period 2-1 Sharks

As soon as the period began, Logan Couture recorded his 15th of the season. A scrum occurred behind the Lightning net as the puck popped out. Couture was able to grab it and put it on net for a goal.

Immediately after Melker Karlsson got a slash on Ondrej Palat, Lightning went on their third power play of the night. Sharks won the faceoff and Bolts were forced to begin in their own zone. Nesterov took a nice shot to set up the puck in the crease with Johnson nearby, but TJ was unable to capitalize.

There was decent puck movement throughout the power play, but Sharks stood strong. Bolts got called for a handpass at 1:20 in which deflated the temporary momentum, but the kill held strong.

And as always and in every game, Andrej Sustr had a silly turnover in his own zone. Vladdy however was able to get it out.

Later Nesterov took a scary dive into the net after a trip up by a two-on-two fast break, but he was ultimately okay.

After this series of mishaps the Bolts just looked messy. The offense sputtered to a halt and the Sharks began to get same great chances. Vasy made some great saves in this one.

Anton Stralman got booked for holding and the Sharks went on the powerplay again. Brent Burns got off to a fast start off the faceoff on a set play and was able to get a shot on Vasy, but Vasy held strong.

So this was a thing.

And this was a thing.

Bolts eventually pulled Vasy with 1:02 to go. They struggled to get set up in the Sharks zone until the closing seconds. Killorn got a pass in the slot but shot wide. This was the last attempt to equalize, and the Bolts went on to lose 1-2.

Endgame Thoughts

  • Tonight was a nice glimpse at what the Bolts can be, but they just can’t seem to get together three good periods of hockey at a time. The California road trip is never easy but I would have liked to get more than three points out of the last three games.
  • I am a big #freekoekkeok supporter but Nesterov did have a good game with a few shots on goal and a decent amount of time of play (thanks to the special teams).
  • Drouin now has 11 goals in his last 20 games and that’s just fine. Did Jon Cooper make deal with the devil where he promised he would coach with “grit and strength” for a year in order to see Drouin improve? Conspiracy in the works. /
  • And I’ll leave you with this cute photo of this dog because we all need it./