By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

San Jose, Calif. (CBS) The Tampa Bay Lightning endured a severe beating Wednesday night, giving up five goals in the first period which eventually ended in a 7-2 victory for the San Jose Sharks.

After appearing to have recovered from an ugly stretch of play in the month of December, the bolts measly two-game win streak was snapped and their pride went right out the window with it.

Martin St. Louis made a surprising return to the lineup after two weeks of rest, but even his return couldn’t give the Lightning a boost. The Sharks netted five goals in less than 15 minutes, and before the game even began it was clearly over.

It was the most goals Tampa Bay has given up in one single period this season, but San Jose’s five goals in the first set a franchise record for the most goals scored in a period. Benn Ferriero, Joe Pavelski and Andrew Desjardins opened the scoring 6: 21 into the first period to give the Sharks an early 3-0 lead.

Logan Couture rounded out the scoring in the first with back-to-back goals to give San Jose some early insurance heading into the final two periods.

Mathieu Garon can’t be the only one blamed for the embarrassing first period performance, but letting up three goals on eight shots is unacceptable. Guy Boucher pulled him after allowing the third goal, but Dwayne Roloson entered the game and gave up two goals on five shots to end the first.

Boucher proclaimed that his team played a “soft” first period, but even that is an understatement. Entering last night’s game San Jose was ranked 29th in the league in penalty kill opportunities, but agaisnt the Lightning they managed to kill all five penalties.

The defense will take the brunt of this mess for the sloppy play, but in retrospect the offense didn’t produce and the goaltending was hideous.

St. Louis’ goal and his return in general was the only bright spot for the Lightning last night, but the overall lack of consistency will hurt the bolts come playoff time.



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