Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks Preview and Game Day Feed
Time: 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: SAP Center
Broadcast/Broadcast: ESPN+, BSSUN, NBSSCA
Opponent’s SBNation Site: Fear the fin
The Tampa Bay Lightning end their trip to California with a game against the San Jose Sharks. Unfortunately, they won’t be going home with a perfect record as the Bolts lost yesterday’s game to the Anaheim Ducks after winning the first game against Los Angeles Kings. The Lightning, however, remain in second place in the Atlantic Division and the entire NHL.
No big changes are expected in the injury department. Erik Cernak and Jan Rutta are still struggling with their injuries and were replaced yesterday by Andrej Sustr and Fredrik Claesson. Ondrej Palat wasn’t ready for yesterday’s game either, even though he was originally expected to return ahead of the trip to California. Zach Bogosian has been on injured reserve since last week and will be out for a few more weeks. The only expected change is Brian Elliott, who will replace Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal after playing last night in Anaheim.
Despite losing yesterday’s game by a pretty big margin and having serious injury issues on their blue line, the Lightning have been feeling quietly confident lately. Since the start of the 2022 season, they are 6-3-0, losing all three games to playoff teams. With the return of Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, the team became more diverse offensively, scoring 3.67 goals per game over that span. Their power play productivity also jumped to 22.6% PP, which is a slight improvement from their 18.5% PP before Kucherov’s return.
As with other California teams, the San Jose Sharks have improved from previous seasons. They are currently fourth in the Pacific Division and still have a theoretical chance of making the playoffs. Although a very strong Central Division essentially leaves them three playoff berths and the Calgary Flameswho are only two points behind the Sharks despite six games less, will be a very tough opponent.
One of the biggest weaknesses this season is the Sharks’ lack of offensive depth. They have a pretty solid front row with Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl leading the team in points. Just a few games before Meier had probably his best game of his NHL career, scoring five goals against the Kings. Their last six, however, haven’t produced enough to sustain the team, with their top lines struggling.
One of the bright spots for the Sharks this season is Erik Karlsson, who has found his form after a few lackluster seasons with the team. He currently has 26 (8+18) points in 33 games, playing around 23 minutes per game.
Overall, the Sharks have a mediocre power play, producing just 17.76% PP, but that’s partly offset by their penalty kill, which ranks in the top 10 in the league at 83.5%. . At 5-5, the team is underwater with just 47.2 CF%, indicating the Sharks are calm and often outplayed in their games.
After tonight’s game, the Lightning will have a four-day break before playing the New Jersey Devils next Thursday.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
Corey Perry – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn- Anthony Cirelli- Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Mathieu Joseph
Boris Katchouk – Ross Colton – Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman – Cal Foote
Ryan McDonagh – Mikhail Sergachev
Fredrik Claesson – Andrej Sustr
Projected Lines of San Jose Sharks
Alexander Barabanov — Tomas Hertl — Timo Meier
Jonathan Dahlen — Logan Couture — Noah Gregor
Matt Nieto—Nick Bonino—Andrew Cogliano
Jeffrey Viel — Jasper Weatherby — Adam Raska
Brent Burns Mario Ferraro
Ryan Merkley — Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Erik Karlsson — Jaycob Megna
Hill of Adin