Sharks aim to solve scoring woes vs. Lightning
LIGHTNING (7-3-2) at SHARKS (5-5-1)
TV -- CW44, CSN-CA (HD)
Last 10 --
Tampa Bay 5-3-2; San Jose 4-5-1
Season Series --
This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams. In their only matchup last season, in Tampa Bay, the Lightning took a 5-2 victory over the Sharks. Bolts goalie Mike Smith made 32 saves to record his first win in nine months.
Big Story --
The Sharks have struggled to get goals recently, and losing Joe Thornton
, their leading scorer, won't make things any easier. Thornton was given a two-game suspension for delivering an illegal check to the head to the Blues' David Perron on Thursday.
The Lightning lost consecutive games for the first time this year with their 1-0 loss to the Kings on Thursday. On Wednesday, Tampa fell in overtime, 3-2, to the Ducks.
They now trail the Capitals by two points for the lead in the Southeast Division, a position they previously held, and have had just five goals in the first three games of this western road swing.
While the Bolts were shut out on Thursday, they held the upper hand in terms of physical play, outhitting the Kings 36-29 and blocking 13 shots in what turned into a heated engagement.
"It was pretty intense for a game against a team you only see once a year," Steven Stamkos said.
Smith finished the night with 25 saves.
The Sharks were also shut out on Thursday in a 2-0 decision to the Blues and suffered a second-straight loss just like the Lightning. But it was also their second-straight shutout loss and their third-straight shutout loss on the road, a first for their franchise.
San Jose also had a season-low 25 shots on goal. The Sharks haven't scored since the second period a week ago against the Ducks, when they held a five-goal lead going into the third frame.
"We had three breakaways and didn't have any shots on goal," coach Todd McLellan said. "It's incredible when that happens. We had a couple 2-on-1s where we didn't get a shot on goal. We probably haven't had that many free looks at a net in a game all year."
"It's been kind of all or nothing," said Joe Pavelski
, who is seventh in the NHL and first on the Sharks with 48 shots. "We have to figure it out. We're offensively challenged right now."
Who's Hot --
Despite being held off the score sheet Thursday, Stamkos still leads the League in points with 20 and is tied with Patrick Sharp and Brandon Dubinsky for the lead in goals with 10.
Injury Report --
Simon Gagne (neck) is on injured reserve for the Lightning, while forwards Dominic Moore (groin) and Steve Downie (back) and defensemen Victor Hedman (foot) and Matt Smaby (ankle) are questionable for Saturday.
For the Sharks, defenseman Derek Joslin
(surgically repaired thumb) is on the injured reserve, while Thornton will serve his first of his two-game suspension on Saturday.
Stat Pack --
The Bolts are 1-5-0-1 in their last seven games in San Jose.
Puck Drop --
"That was a playoff game, and nobody was going to give each other an inch. There wasn't much out there for either team. It was going to be (a loss) for who made that mistake and we made that mistake." -- Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher