Lightning drop overtime loss to Sharks, 4-3

Two strong periods were not enough for the Bolts as San Jose comes back from a 3-1 hole to take the win.

Timo Meier scored 2:19 into overtime and the San Jose Sharks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning , 4-3. Brayden Point scored twice and Ross Colton added his 11th goal of the year as the Lightning built a 3-1 lead in the first period. A power play goal by Meier in the second cut Tampa Bay’s lead to one, and an early third period deflection by Jonah Gadjovich tied it.

The Lightning pressed in the third period, outshooting the Sharks 15-7 and outchancing them 24-8, but Kaapo Kahkonen stopped everything they put on net to pick up the win. He had 34 saves on the night. Overall, the Lightning had 81 shot attempts, 56 scoring chances, and 20 high-danger chances.  At the other end, Brian Elliott played well in the loss, stopping 18 of 22 and not really having too much of a chance on the three goals he allowed (one was screened, one was on a quick cross crease pass, and the third in regulation was a deflection.

Special teams was a factor as the Sharks scored twice with the advantage and stopped 5-of-6 power plays for the Lightning. Erik Karlsson ended up with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). His countryman Victor Hedman had an assist, pushing his career total to 499. Nikita Kucherov had two assists to run his home point streak to 16 games.

Nick Paul missed almost half of the game as he left with about 8 minutes to go in the second period and didn’t return to the bench for the rest of the game. There wasn’t anything apparent in his final shift that would indicate what was troubling him.

Hard work and a little luck paid off for the Lightning early. Ross Colton forced a quick pass from behind the net and Zach Bogosian pinched in at the blue line. When Oskar Lindblom’s pass didn’t exit the zone, Bogo shuffled it back down low. It’s not likely that he was intending to pass it to Colton who had skated toward the net, but when Kahkonen got caught in between staying home and playing the puck, it ended up being an easy tuck in goal for Colton.

Ross Colton (Zach Bogosian) 1-0 Lightning

The lead lasted until the Sharks went on the power play. With Ian Cole in the box for interference the Sharks won the initial face-off. Erik Karlsson was given more than enough space to drift into a good shooting spot and he ripped it past Brian Elliott. At least the Lightning didn’t expend a lot of energy killing the penalty as the play took all of 5 seconds.

Erik Karlsson (Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl) Power Play, 1-1

Saving all of that energy shorthanded paid off as the Bolts pretty much dominated the rest of the period. San Jose chose to collapse around their own net, giving the Lightning room to operate in the offensive zone. It wouldn’t take long for them to take advantage.

The first strike came on the power play. Kucherov slid past two defenders on the left side of the ice and fed the puck to an open Brayden Point. Point did not miss as he wristed it in for his 30th goal of the season. Hedman, who started the rush picked up the secondary assist, the 499th helper of his career.

Brayden Point (Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman) Power Play, 2-1

While the Lightning were applying pressure all period long (they had 29 shot attempts with 15 coming from the defensive corps) it was still just a one-goal lead. A fluke goal or another power play goal for the Sharks and all that hard work would be for nothing. The next goal would be key, and it would be, once again, Brayden Point.

This time it was Mikhail Sergachev who was given free reign to charge the net. As he came in, he tried to pass it to Stamkos in the slot. The pass hit a skate and deflected right to Brayden Point who had an empty net to shoot it into for his second of the night.

Brayden Point (Mikhail Sergachev, Nikita Kucherov) 3-1 Lightning

One thing that has gone well for the Sharks this season has been their penalty kill. It was strong again in the middle frame as the Lightning had three chances with the extra skater and failed to convert on all three. Outside of Brayden Point ringing one off of the post and Ross Colton missing the net on a one-timer, the Lightning didn’t really generate that many good looks on the power play.

San Jose was kind of hanging around (and forcing Brian Elliott to make some key saves).

With three-and-a-half minutes to go in the period, Ian Cole went to the penalty box, and the Sharks once again quickly capitalized. Another face-off win, this one not quite as cleanly and as the Lightning kind of got tangled up, the puck came out to Timo Meier at the side of the net and he swept it home.

Time Meier (Alexander Barbanov, Logan Couture) Power Play, 3-2

It looked like the Lightning had answered right back as Brayden Point dished the puck to Steven Stamkos and The Captain beat Kahkonen to make it 4-2. Unfortunately, after a challenge and a quick discussion, the play was determined to be offside and the goal was washed away into the ether.

Despite having three power plays the Lightning only generated 19 shot attempts in the middle frame. They drifted away from what had made them successful in the first period, speed through the neutral zone, decisive passing and quick shots. They fell back into the habit of trying to pass the puck into the dangerous areas instead of shooting and going for rebounds or redirects.

Perhaps sensing a bit of a lull in his teammates, Brayden Point decided he had enough of some after the play shenanigans perpetrated by Michael Eyssimont and they decided to have a quick tussle, much to the delight of the Lightning players on the bench.

The Lightning came out with a little push in the third period (although Nick Paul wasn’t on the bench), but Kaapo Kahkonen made saves on good chances by Anthony Cirelli and Stamkos.

Those saves would prove key as the Sharks came back down the ice and Scott Harrington shot the puck in the direction of the net. The puck gods were on his side as the shot hit Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s  Jonah Gadjovich’s stick and deflected past Elliott. Just like that, the game was tied.

Jonah Gadjovich (Scott Harrington, Erik Karlsson)  3-3

Following the goal, the Lightning started to press again, but Kahkonen was more than holding his own as he denied chances by Brandon Hagel, Hedman, and Nick Perbix. On yet another power play for the Lightning, Brayden Point had a sliver of the net on a bouncing puck, but he hooked it wide.

Point had another chance a few minutes later as he accelerated through the neutral zone and right past Karlsson (hitting 25 MPH at one point according to the broadcast). He shoveled a backhand that glanced off of the near post and away from glory. It would have been a heck of a way to cap off a hat trick.

The Sharks almost slipped out with a win in regulation as Timo Meier was in on Elliott with just over a minute to go. Meier had the goalie down, but his shot glanced off the crossbar and out of danger. If it had gone in, the Amalie Arena crowd would have blown the top off the building as it looked the officials appeared to miss a too-many-men on the ice penalty and a possible crosscheck moments before the opportunity.

Both teams collected a point as the whistle sounded on the third period, for the Sharks it was the 14th overtime game of the year for them. That experience paid off as they controlled the puck for most of the the extra frame. Timo Meier got free and down low and potted his second goal of the night to secure the victory and end the Lightning’s 12 game home winning streak.

Timo Meier (Erik Karlsson, Tomas Hertl) 4-3 Sharks