Highlights: Sharks return home, cruise past Tampa Bay
With their win Thursday night, the Sharks stand at 33 points and are in a three-way tie for second place in the Western Conference. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – Tommy Wingels’ first career multi-goal game and Patrick Marleau’s one goal, two assist effort helped the Sharks to a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night at SAP Center. Logan Couture added three assists.
San Jose quickly put its worst loss of the season – a 5-1 drubbing in Chicago on Sunday – in the rearview mirror. The Sharks also broke a modest three-game losing streak (0-1-2) in the first of a season-high five-game homestand.
Wingels, who was slotted alongside Couture and Marleau after filling in for an injured Brent Burns on the Joe Thornton line, scored the Sharks’ first and third markers. His snap shot high to the short side of Anders Lindback at 3:39 on a pass from Couture gave San Jose the early lead.
Wingels took a tripping penalty in the neutral zone later in the first, but Marleau, Scott Hannan, Joe Pavelski and Brad Stuart killed off the entire two minutes after Tampa Bay maintained control on the offensive zone for the duration of the penalty.
That may have been the key moment, as San Jose increased its lead by the end of the first. Couture’s wraparound attempt deflected to Stuart at the top of the circle, and Stuart hammered it in for his second goal at 18:03.
The Lightning made a push in the second, but couldn’t solve Antti Niemi. Wingels’ second goal of the night, on a helper from Marleau behind the net, gave San Jose a 3-0 cushion at 11:47 that it took to the locker room after 40 minutes.
Burns got credit for a goal at 4:23 of the third period when a Hannan shot deflected off of Thornton’s stick and Burns’ leg before kissing the back of the net. Just 19 seconds later, Marleau’s backhand on a breakaway, after he whiffed on the original shot, gave San Jose a commanding 5-0 lead.
Niemi allowed only Tyler Johnson’s goal from the slot at 7:39 in picking up his 11th win.
Burns returned to lineup after a 13-game absence. The Sharks are 8-0-1 this season when he plays, and 24-9-2 since his converting him to a forward last season.
Stuart, Couture and Justin Braun were each a +4.
The Sharks and Lightning meet on Jan. 18 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Neither team scored a power play goal in a game with very few whistles. San Jose was 0-for-2, and the Lightning had only the one chance with a man advantage in the first period.
Niemi allowed all five goals to the Blackhawks on Sunday, but rebounded with 36 saves against Tampa Bay. He’s 3-0-1 against the Lightning in his career.
Lindback, who spelled regular starter Ben Bishop, fell to 1-5-0 on the season with 31 saves on 36 Sharks shots.
Matt Nieto was a healthy scratch. The 20-year-old rookie, who has two goals and four assists in 19 games, but is scoreless in his last seven.
Tampa, of course, was without superstar Steven Stamkos, who broke his leg on Nov. 11.
The Sharks’ five-game homestand continues with the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The Devils remain without Ryane Clowe (head injury), who will not make the trip.