It was another fast-paced game between the Sharks and the Lightning on Saturday night in Tampa Bay. But despite Evander Kane scoring two goals, this game didn’t go San Jose's way.
The Sharks put up a strong effort for the bulk of the contest but were defeated by Steven Stamkos and the NHL-leading Bolts 6-3.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
You shouldn’t point the finger at Martin Jones
Jones gave the Sharks another effort worthy of a win, picking up right where he left off Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was particularly impressive when he froze both Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat on one shift in the first frame, then halted Nikita Kucherov during a second-period penalty kill.
Had Jones not been on his A-game right from the start of the contest, Tampa Bay might have tallied more than two goals in the first period before San Jose found the back of the net. Unfortunately for Jones, he didn’t have quite enough help in front of him to hold off the Bolts as they capitalized on some of the Sharks’ mistakes in the second and third periods.
Special teams ended up having a big impact
You could tell early in the game that special teams would end up playing a big role.
Even though Tampa Bay scored two quick goals, San Jose had the edge in shots, and began getting more offensive zone time as the game progressed. If anything was going to give either team an extra boost, it was the special teams.
The Sharks' power play helped get them on the board before the first frame expired -- a beautiful sequence between Joe Thornton and Timo Meier to set up Kane. But the Bolts also benefited from the power play, scoring their fourth and sixth goals of the evening on the man advantage as San Jose started getting into penalty trouble.
Impact of Karlsson’s absence
You have to hand it to San Jose for pushing the tempo despite Erik Karlsson’s sudden absence. They continued to get good offensive zone time and put pucks on net despite Andrei Vasilevkiy standing tall between the pipes for Tampa Bay.
As of game time, there was no news on what exactly Karlsson’s ailment is. While San Jose of course wants its star defenseman back in the lineup to help the team win games, it also isn’t going to want to push Karlsson and injure him even further.
With the All-Star break and bye week coming up, giving Karlsson enough time to heal could benefit the Sharks in the long run.