In the Crease: Lightning strike in San Jose

In the Crease: Burns back for tough homestand

In the Crease: Lightning strike in San Jose
November 21, 2013, 9:45 am
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The Sharks are 13-13-2-2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning all-time. (AP)

Programming note: Sharks-Lightning coverage gets underway today at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 13-3-5, 31 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference
Lightning: 14-7-0, 28 points, 2nd Atlantic Division, 2nd Eastern Conference

Vitals
Sharks
Goals per game: 3.38 (3rd)
Goals-against per game: 2.19 (7th)
Power play: 20.6 percent (10th)
Penalty kill: 83.3 percent (12th)

Lightning
Goals per game: 3.00 (7th)
Goals-against per game: 2.62 (15th)
Power play: 19.5 percent (14th)
Penalty kill: 84.2 percent (9th)

Probable lines
Sharks
Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau– Logan Couture – Tommy Wingels
Marty Havlat – Joe Pavelski – Tyler Kennedy
James Sheppard – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Justin Braun
Scott Hannan – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi (confirmed starter)
Alex Stalock

Lightning
Brett Connolly – Alex Killorn – Martin St. Louis
J.T. Brown – Valtteri Filppula – Teddy Purcell
Ondrej Palat – Tyler Johnson – Richard Panik
Ryan Malone – Nate Thompson – Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Matt Carle – Radko Gudas
Eric Brewer – Victor Hedman
Dmitry Korobov – Sami Salo

Anders Lindback (confirmed starter)
Ben Bishop

Last game
Sharks: The Sharks’ five-game road trip ended with the club’s most convincing defeat to date, 5-1 in Chicago. Joe Pavelski tied the game at 1-1 in the second period, but the Blackhawks responded with four straight goals, including two from Patrick Sharp. Antti Niemi took the loss in net with 22 saves on 27 shots, as San Jose ended it’s trip with a 3-1-1 mark.

Lightning: Tampa Bay lost consecutive games for the first time this season with a 5-2 loss in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Kings jumped ahead to a 4-0 lead, and won comfortably. Valtteri Filppula and Victor Hedman scored in the loss, goalie Ben Bishop surrendered all five goals in net on 31 shots, and Martin St. Louis played in his 1000th career game.

Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Marty Havlat. The forward was scratched on Friday and relegated to fourth line duty against the Blackhawks. Indications are he’ll be back on the third line with Joe Pavelski tonight, providing a chance to get his season on track after he’s scored just two points in his first eight games. Havlat has 22 points (9g, 13a) in 19 career games against the Lightning.

Lightning: Valtteri Filppula. One player the Sharks should be very familiar is the long time Red Wing, who joined the Lightning in the offseason. In order for the Lightning to stay competitive with Steven Stamkos out for many months, Filppula may have to take a larger role. He’s off to a solid start with 16 points (9g, 7a) in 21 games in his first year in the Sunshine State.

Injuries/Scratches
Sharks: Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery) and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out. Brent Burns (upper body) is probable.

Lightning: Brian Lee (knee surgery), Mattias Ohlund (left knee), Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone), Keith Aulie (upper body), Steven Stamkos (right tibia surgery) are out. Mark Barberio (lower body) is questionable.

Season/All-Time series
The Sharks are 13-13-2-2 against the Lightning all-time. In the last 17 meetings, Tampa Bay has started 11 different goaltenders. San Jose closes out a three-game road trip at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Jan. 18.

Quoteable
“You don’t ever want to miss games. It’s always the goal at the start of the year, it’s not about points. It’s about playing every game, and winning. Yeah, you don’t like to miss games.” – Brent Burns

Burning question
Why has Brent Burns had such a major impact on the Sharks since moving up to play forward? Leave your answer in the comments section below.