Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning loses to Sharks (w/ video)

SAN JOSE, Cali - Coach Jon Cooper said his team is in desperation mode, where it needs points out of every game to get back in the playoff race.

That's why this one hurts, a 2-1 loss to the Sharks at the SAP Center Thursday night. The Lightning (21-21-5), for the second straight game, played well enough to earn two points, but once again fell short.

This time, Tampa Bay left completely empty-handed, leaving it with three points in the first three games of this make-or-break road trip. With no margin for error, the Lightning can't afford many of these regulation losses.

"You've got to really feel for the guys in there," Cooper said. "We could have six points and we wouldn't even blink an eye. We've got three. It's killing us."

Logan Couture scored the winner 22 seconds into the third period, his bouncing shot from the slot slipping through the legs of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. While Vasilevskiy would likely want that shot back, Cooper said the team could have had better coverage in front on Couture, who was open and collected a loose puck from a board battle.

"(The puck) somehow found its way through," defenseman Anton Stralman said of the Couture goal. "That's the kind of stuff that makes it a little bit more frustrating. We're not getting those (breaks) right now."

The Lightning had its share of scoring chances, including Valtteri Filppula's wraparound in the third that came inches away from tying the game. Give Sharks backup goalie Aaron Dell credit for his 24 saves. But Tampa Bay's offense continues to sputter, with just five goals in its last four games.

"It's not for a lack of trying, not for lack of chances," Cooper said. "The sights are off, too many missed nets."

Said Stralman: "We're doing all the right things. It's just that finishing touch that's not there."

The Lightning, playing its third straight game without top defenseman Victor Hedman, continued its strong defensive stretch. It gave up two or fewer regulation goals for the third straight game. The Sharks struck first five minutes into the second period. Center Ryan Carpenter ripped a shot from the right circle that deflected in off Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov, beating Vasilevskiy. The goal was a bad break, but Tampa Bay didn't help itself with two turnovers that led to it. "The goals are preventable goals," Cooper said.

But Tampa Bay bounced back quickly, just a couple minutes later, on a dazzling power play goal by Jonathan Drouin. Drouin, who has amassed several highlight-reel moments this week alone, delivered again. After losing the puck above the blueline near the Lightning bench, Drouin regrouped and blew past not only Mikkell Boedker, but stout defenseman Marc-Eduoard Vlasic before wrapping it around goalie Aaaron Dell.

"That's just a big time skill play by a big time skill player," Cooper said.

It just wasn't enough.

Story here

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates past Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) CATA104

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) skates past Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) CATA104

Lightning loses to Sharks (w/ video) 01/20/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2017 7:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  3. Jones: What Bucs need in final preseason games, more or less


    That's it. Let's start the season. Start it right now.

    Tom Jones wants to see less of Jameis Winston playing hot potato with the football and throwing it up for anyone to catch. [Getty Images]
  4. Barts Mr Peabody the likely favorite in Derby Lane's T.L. Weaver finale


    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick and Rhonda Bartley have a date Saturday night. It may turn into a date with destiny.

  5. Rays series preview: Who are the Mariners?


    The Rays are back home again, duking it out with another club in the American League Wild Card chase — the Mariners, who have a slight advantage over Tampa Bay. Here's the information you need to know about Seattle before the action kicks off.

    Record: 61-61, third in AL West

    Starter Erasmo Ramirez will face the Rays after they traded him to the Mariners in July.