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

Time for a good ol’ bounceback game.

San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #50

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, NBCSCA, ESPN+, HULU

Opponent SBNation Site: Fear the Fin

DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6.5


Alright, back-to-backs usually aren’t a good thing for teams, especially when one is on the road and one is at home. However, for the Tampa Bay Lightning, getting right back on the ice after their performance in Sunrise last night is better than having a day or two to dwell on it (or having to go through a grueling practice).

Even better, the Lightning will be back on home ice against a team that is struggling to keep the puck out of their net. The San Jose Sharks are in town for their second meeting of the year with the Bolts (Tampa Bay won the first one in San Jose back in October, 4-3) and are just trying to make it to the finish line this season. With 41 points they currently sit 28th in the NHL and defense has been an issue for them.

They are averaging 3.75 goals against which is 4th worst mark in the league and their goaltenders have, to be kind, not quite performed at their possible best. In 28 appearances James Reimer has posted an .895 SV% and 3.31 GAA while posting a -7.01 GSAx. His current counterpart, Kaapo Kahkonen is also struggling to the tune of an .871 SV%, 3.89 GAA, and -19.32 GSAx. In case you were wondering, that is not the worst mark in the league. Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins is at -23.87 GSAx.

The Sharks are at the point of the season where you start to wonder if it’s the final game in a San Jose uniform for some of their players. They began the process last week when they traded defenseman Jaycob Megna to the Seattle Kraken for a draft pick. Veteran forward Timo Meier is also likely heading out of town as the soon-to-be restricted free agent tops most of the trade deadline boards in the press.

While most of their core like Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are locked into long-term, expensive contracts, general manager Mike Grier does have some pieces that he might be able to move like Nick Bonino or Alex Barabanov up front.

San Jose is in the midst of a tough stretch where they play nine of ten games on the road (they did have a break, with their last game being played on January 28th). So far they are 1-2-2 with overtime losses to Detroit and Carolina, regulation losses to Columbus and Boston, and, in their most recent game, a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins where Logan Couture posted a 5-point game.

Couture is currently 4th on the team with 42 points (19 goals, 23 assists) with Erik Karlsson, who is putting up points like he was a 26-year-old leading the way. The veteran defenseman has 66 points (16 goals, 50 assists) and could threaten his career-high of 82 that he recorded way back in the 2015-16 season.

With all of that being said, the Lightning can’t just go out and throw their sticks on the ice and expect to win just because San Jose is having an off season. In order to keep their home winning streak going they have to be better in all three zones than they were last night, especially in the offensive zone. There were too many one and done rushes and not enough second or third chances against the Panthers.

In their own zone, they lost the battles in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy and struggled with their coverage from time to time. After the game, Coach Cooper said he was interested in seeing how the team responded to the blowout loss. Sometimes, especially for a veteran team, getting run off the ice in one game can be a huge motivator for the next outing.

Comparison chart:

San Jose Sharks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Comparison

Game #50Tampa Bay LightningSan Jose Sharks
Overall Record32-16-115-25-11
Home Record20-4-15-12-7
Road Record12-12-010-13-4
Goals For176157
Goals Against148196

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton (?) - Nick Paul - Patrick Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix


Brian Elliott

Andrei Vasilevskiy

San Jose Sharks Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Timo Meier - Tomas Hertl - Noah Gregor

Michael Eyssimont - Logan Couture - Alexander Barabanov

Nick Bonino - Nico Sturm - Evgeny Svechnikov

Oskar Lindblom - Steven Lorentz - Jonah Gadjovich

Defense Pairings

Mario Ferraro - Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Matt Benning

Jacob MacDonald - Scott Harrington


Kaapo Kahkonen

James Reimer