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San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread

Feb 7, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) shoots as San Jose Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (36) defends during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game #8: San Jose Sharks (0-5-1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-2-2)
Time: 7:00 PM EST
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, ESPN+, NBCSCA

Opponent’s Site: Fear the Fin

Preview

If y’all thought the Lightning were struggling to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis, let us present to you the 2023-24 San Jose Sharks. A team that has scored just one goal in five of their six games, have yet to win in regulation or overtime, and keep adding forwards to injured reserve like I add debt to my bank account. How bad has their offense been? To put it in perspective, Detroit’s Alex DeBrincat has more goals by himself, nine, than the Sharks have as a team, eight.

They are 27th in scoring chances (150) and tied for 22nd in high-danger chances (64). They are 18th in power play success at 15% and have just two players that have scored more than one goal (Fabian Zetterlund and Filip Zadina). To make matters worse it looks like they will be adding Alexander Barabanov to the injured list along with forwards Logan Couture and Mikael Granlund.

After finally trading Erik Karlsson in the offseason, it was apparent that this was going to be a rebuilding year for the Sharks, but it’s hard to think they expected things to go off the rails quite this bad in regards to the offense.

The defense has been better, but only marginally. They’re allowing 2.76 goals/60 at 5v5 which is 21st in the league and their 73.9% penalty kill is 22nd in the league. MacKenzie Blackwood is posting a 3.47 GAA but a decent .914 SV%. His 3.37 GSAx indicates that he isn’t getting much help from the defense in front of him.

The question for the Lightning will be if they can take advantage of a team that is giving up 34.42 scoring chances per 60 minutes or if they will play down to their competition. After a couple of game against some offensively talented teams, this game does have that trap game potential. Sometimes, focusing and executing against a struggling team can be harder than getting ready for a good team.

In their win against Carolina, the Lightning showed a little better compete level than we saw in some of their previous games and they will have to keep that level going tonight. Frankly, they aren’t good enough right now to take a night off and still beat a struggling team.

It should be a good game for Coach Cooper to get his lines rolling and hopefully see some production out of the third and fourth lines. They’ve been looking better defensively, but still need to find a way to start getting shots on net and help sustain the run of play in the offensive zone.

With the stink of the Toronto loss off of them, it’s time for the Lightning to put a bit of a winning streak together and end this homestand on a positive note.

Stats Match-up

Game #8Tampa Bay LightningSan Jose Sharks
Overall Record3-2-20-5-1
Home Record3-0-10-3-1
Road Record0-2-10-2
Goals For238
Goals Against2423
xGF21.4114.54
xGA24.7724.44
Power Play33.3%15%
Penalty Kill94.1%73.9%
Stats via ESPN and Natural Stat Trick

Lines

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Forwards
Alex BarrĂ©-Boulet – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos – Nick Paul – Brandon Hagel
Tanner Jeannot – Anthony Cirelli – Waltteri Merelä
Conor Sheary – Luke Glendening – Michael Eyssimont

Defenders
Victor Hedman – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Darren Raddysh
Calvin de Haan – Nick Perbix

Goalies
Jonas Johansson
Matt Tomkins

San Jose Sharks Projected Lines

Forwards
Alexander Barabanov – Tomas Hertl – Anthony Duclair

William Eklund – Jacob Peterson – Kevin LeBlanc

Mike Hoffman – Nico Sturm – Fabian Zetterlund

Filip Zardina – Thomas Bordeleau – Luke Kunin

Defenders
Mario Ferraro – Jan Rutta

Matt Benning – Kyle Burroughs

Nikolai Knyzhov – Ty Emberson

Goalies

MacKenzie Blackwood

Kaapo Kahkonen

Question of the Night

Will anyone on the bottom six score a goal tonight?

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