Programming note: Sharks-Lightning coverage gets underway at 4:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California
Where they stand
Sharks: 8-7-2, 18 points, 5th Pacific Division
Lightning: 11-3-2, 24 points, 1st Atlantic Division
Sharks: The Sharks lost their second straight game on Tuesday in Florida, 4-1, in what was arguably their worst game of the season. The Panthers scored the first four goals of the game before Joe Thornton’s third period marker, and Antti Niemi took the loss in net with 26 saves. After tonight, the Sharks will have three games remaining on their seven-game road trip in which they are 1-2 so far, including a win in Dallas and a loss in Chicago.
Lightning: Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak was snapped in Chicago on Tuesday, 3-2 in a shootout. The Lightning haven’t lost a game in regulation since Oct. 25 in Minnesota, and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games to sit atop the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay has won four consecutive home games, and is averaging 4.7 goals-per game in its last seven (6-0-1).
Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Antti Niemi. Now that Alex Stalock is out for an unspecified period of time, Niemi will continue to get the bulk of the work. His numbers this season are decidedly average, with a 6-5-1 record, 2.79 goals-against average and .911 save percentage, reflective of his (and the Sharks) up-and-down start to the season. Niemi will try to end a personal three-game losing streak, and has allowed at least three goals in six of his last nine starts.
Lightning: Steven Stamkos. One of the league’s premier players is off to a tremendous start, tied for fourth in the NHL with 10 goals and 60 shots. The Lightning captain has at least one point in six of his past seven games (4g, 5a), and since the start of the 2009-10 season, Stamkos’ 220 goals leads the NHL. He has six goals and three assists in six career games vs. San Jose.
Goals per game: 2.88 (T - 8th)
Goals-against per game: 2.82 (20th)
Power play: 25.4 percent (4th)
Penalty kill: 82.0 percent (13th)
Goals per game: 3.69 (2nd)
Goals-against per game: 2.62 (T - 14th)
Power play: 25.0 percent (5th)
Penalty kill: 78.8 percent (17th)
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Matt Nieto – James Sheppard – Tyler Kennedy
Barclay Goodrow – Andrew Desjardins – Adam Burish
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Mirco Mueller – Brent Burns
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers
Valtteri Filppula – Steven Stamkos – Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Nikita Kucherov
Jonathan Drouin – Vladislav Namestnikov – Cedric Paquette
Brenden Morrow – Brian Boyle – J.T. Brown
Anton Stralman – Matt Carle
Jason Garrison – Radko Gudas
Eric Brewer – Andrej Sustr
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right knee), Mike Brown (left hand) and Alex Stalock (lower body) are out.
Lightning: Victor Hedman (fractured finger) is out. Brett Connolly (lower body), Alex Killorn (upper body) and Tyler Johnson (ribs) are day-to-day.
Did you know?
Joe Thornton scored his first career hat trick against the Lightning on March 1, 2001. Joe Pavelski did the same last season on Jan. 18, a 5-4 Sharks win in Tampa Bay. … Sharks asst. coach Jim Johnson served in the same role with the Lightning in 2010, and was a development coach in 2008-09. … The Lightning will be debuting new, black third jerseys tonight, and will be worn at each Saturday home game at Amalie Arena. … The Sharks and Lightning are each outscoring the opposition 18-10 in the first period.
The Sharks are 15-13-4 all-time against the Lightning, with San Jose winning both matchups last season.
Tampa Bay visits San Jose on Feb. 15 to kick off a five-game road trip.
“I’m actually disappointed because I thought we had a really good meeting this morning. We discussed some things about how we wanted to play and things we wanted to do. We didn’t see it consistently enough to be successful.” – Todd McLellan, after Tuesday’s loss to Florida