Sharks 5, Lightning 1

Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After winning their first seven games against Western Conference opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning have run into a brick wall.
The San Jose Sharks snapped a three-game winless streak at home with a 5-1 win Thursday, handing the Lightning their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Right winger Tommy Wingels benefited from the hard work of his San Jose linemates to enjoy the first two-goal game of his career. Left winger Patrick Marleau, playing alongside Wingels and center Logan Couture on a line that gave Tampa Bay fits, contributed one goal and two assists while Couture collected a career-high three assists.
Right winger Brent Burns scored his fifth goal of the season in his return to San Jose's lineup for the first time in 14 games. And defenseman Brad Stuart scored his second goal of the season.
That was plenty of offense to support goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 36 of 37 shots for his 11th win.
The Sharks scored the only goal of the second period when Wingels connected for his career-high seventh at 11:47 to make it 3-0. Marleau fed the suburban Chicago native with a feed from behind the goal.
Marleau narrowly missed when his long slapper with one minute remaining in the period rang off the goalpost. Marleau did not miss at 4:42 of the third, however, making it 5-0 when he slipped a backhand shot past Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback after fanning on a forehand in front.
Marleau's 11th goal of the season came just 19 seconds after Burns was credited with a goal at 4:23, a slap shot from defenseman Scott Hannan that ricocheted off of both center Joe Thornton and Burns in front.
The Lightning finally broke through at 7:39 of the final period when center Tyler Johnson scored his fifth goal of the season by tapping a centering feed from left winger Ondrej Palat past Niemi.
The Sharks took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, a period that featured Niemi making a number of key saves until his team could get its legs following three idle days.
Wingels scored his first of the game at 3:39 to cap a strong San Jose cycle that featured Marleau winning a battle in the corner against Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman and right winger Martin St. Louis. Couture found Wingels, who snapped a shot from the edge of the left circle past Lindback.
The Sharks were on the heels for most of the next 10 minutes, especially during a Lightning power play after Wingels tripped center Valtteri Filppula. Tampa Bay put three shots on Niemi while keeping possession entirely in the San Jose end for all but the final three seconds of the two-minute minor.
Shortly after Lindback robbed Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle with a left-pad save, Stuart's drive from the left point found its way in at 18:03 after right winger Tyler Kennedy was foiled on a wrap-around attempt.
NOTES: RW Brent Burns returned after missing San Jose's last 13 games due to a facial injury sustained Oct. 12. The Sharks were 6-3-4 without Burns after starting the season unbeaten in regulation at 7-0-1 with the converted defenseman scoring four goals and eight points. ... Tampa Bay's current injuries include C Steven Stamkos (right tibia surgery), D Brian Lee (knee surgery), D Mattias Ohlund (left knee), C Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and D Keith Aulie (upper body). San Jose continues to play without RW Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery) and RW Adam Burish (back surgery). ... LW Patrick Marleau was sore, but played despite being involved in a two-car accident Tuesday. ... The Sharks opened a season-long five-game homestand while the Lightning played the third of a four-game road trip with only Friday's matchup in Anaheim remaining. ... C John McCarthy, D Matt Irwin and RW Matt Irwin were healthy scratches for San Jose while D Andrej Sustr and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie did not dress for Tampa Bay.

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