SAN JOSE, Calif. — There was little doubt the Sharks would come out flying for Saturday night's game with the Lightning.
The team had been shut out in consecutive games and was looking to make amends. It did so in a 5-2 victory at the HP Pavilion that would have been worse for the Lightning if not for goaltender Mike Smith, who made 34 saves.
"At some point in the game, we got away from the structure a little bit," Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "Little things, but structure is the most important thing — backchecking the right way, being first on the puck.
"That's our motto; we have to be first on the puck. If we're not, then we're not playing our game."
Tampa Bay (7-4-2) finished its four-game western road trip 1-2-1 and with only five goals.
Part of the problem against San Jose was goalie Antero Niittymaki. The former Lightning was terrific, making 33 saves, including 18 in the third period, and he preserved his team's momentum, and a 2-1 lead, with 15 seconds left in the first period by stopping Steven Stamkos' breakaway with a right-leg save of a backhand shot.
"That would have been a big momentum shift," Stamkos said. "Short-handed, it would have been nice."
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist for San Jose. Defenseman and former Lightning Dan Boyle had two assists.
The Lightning mostly was on its heels. The 20 shots it allowed in the second were a season high. The 39 shots it allowed in the game were also a season high. Tampa Bay also had to kill off four second-period penalties that sapped its momentum.
Stamkos had a rough time. His neutral-zone turnover led to Marleau's first goal. Logan Couture scored San Jose's fifth after he got away from Stamkos in the defensive zone.
Marty St. Louis made it 1-1 in the first period, but that was false hope, as was the Lightning's 19-7 third-period shot advantage that included Stamkos' 11th goal, on the power play.
It was a difficult trip for the Lightning, which had 11 players hurt or sick enough to miss Saturday's game, up from nine Friday. Coach Guy Boucher said goalie Dan Ellis was ill, as was center Nate Thompson, already nursing a knee problem, and wing Ryan Malone.
Before the game, Boucher asked right wing Steve Downie (back) if he could play. Defenseman Victor Hedman (foot) was able to get his skate on and play.
The scratches were left wing Simon Gagne (neck), defenseman Matt Smaby (ankle), center Dominic Moore (groin) and defenseman Mathieu Roy (healthy).
"We're at the end of a nine-day road trip," Boucher said. "We knew it took a lot out of us. It hurt us today."
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead with 7:44 left in the first period on Marleau's short-handed goal after Stamkos' cross-ice pass caused a neutral-zone turnover.
Tampa Bay tied it with 6:02 remaining when St. Louis tipped in Stamkos' wrist shot. But San Jose jumped ahead with 4:33 left, on the power play, when Marleau's shot deflected in off the stick blade of Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund.
Smith had no chance with 8:33 left in the second period, when Dany Heatley, unattended in front of the net, smacked in a rebound for a 3-1 lead.
First Period—1, San Jose, Marleau 5, 12:16 (sh). 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 6 (Stamkos, Lecavalier), 13:58. 3, San Jose, Marleau 6 (Boyle, Demers), 15:26 (pp). Penalties—Murray, SJ (interference), 11:50; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 15:08; Hedman, TB (delay of game), 17:50.
Second Period—4, San Jose, Heatley 6 (Couture, Boyle), 11:27. 5, San Jose, McCarthy 2 (Mayers, Murray), 17:27. Penalties—Bergenheim, TB (holding), :19; Bergenheim, TB (tripping), 2:50; Malone, TB, double minor (high-sticking), 11:57; Malone, TB, major (fighting), 16:54; McGinn, SJ, major (fighting), 16:54.
Third Period—6, San Jose, Couture 5 (Heatley), :27. 7, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 11 (Lecavalier, Clark), 18:13 (pp). Penalties—Downie, TB (high-sticking), 6:17; Huskins, SJ (high-sticking), 9:12; Nichol, SJ (interference), 17:00; McGinn, SJ (interference), 19:43. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 10-6-19—35. San Jose 12-20-7—39. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 4; San Jose 1 of 7. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Smith 4-2-0 (39 shots-34 saves). San Jose, Niittymaki 5-1-1 (35-33). A—17,562 (17,562).