The Sharks put together another solid road game on Saturday in Tampa Bay, overcoming the Lightning at Amalie Arena, 3-1. Three takeaways from the Sharks’ third straight win, all away from home…
1 – Beating a speedy team
The Sharks have struggled with the faster teams, dating back, of course, to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Already this season, they dropped a pair of decisions to the Penguins and lost to the swift-skating Rangers and Red Wings, too. Tampa Bay possesses some of the fastest forwards in the league in guys like Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson, as well as one of the best scorers in the game in Steven Stamkos, but scoring chances were few and far between for the Lightning, who managed just 26 shots on goal.
2 – Special teams success
The Sharks’ penalty killing streak is becoming quite remarkable, as they’ve now killed off 24 straight opponent power plays and 28 of 29. They managed to stay out of the box against the Lightning, who entered with the NHL’s third ranked power play, giving them just two opportunities.
While the Sharks’ power play isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, bringing a 1-for-16 streak in their last five games into Saturday, they did get a goal with a man advantage from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Any coach will tell you, though, that they would rather have a strong PK rather than power play. The Sharks’ top unit is likely to get going at some point.
3 – Concern for Karlsson
Tommy Wingels extended his goal-scoring streak to a modest two games with a first period tally, while linemates Chris Tierney and Melker Karlsson recorded the assists. Just when it looked like that group was developing some real chemistry, though, Karlsson was injured in the first period and was seen leaving the arena in a walking boot, probably from blocking a Victor Hedman shot. Coach Pete DeBoer didn’t give much of an update after the game.
If Karlsson is out, Matt Nieto or Micheal Haley would likely play on Tuesday in Carolina. Or, perhaps the Sharks could give Barclay Goodrow a chance. The forward recorded a hat trick for the Barracuda on Friday in Texas, and had a strong training camp before he was eventually assigned to the AHL.