The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to Amalie Arena tonight after a pretty successful road trip, during which they took five of six points from the Blue Jackets, Red Wings and Blackhawks. Currently the Lightning sit tied for second in the NHL with Vancouver with 24 points and have been almost lights out at Amalie Arena posting six wins, one loss and one overtime loss while being just as good on the road with a record of 5 wins, 2 losses and 1 overtime loss. But the road trip wasn’t one hundred percent positive as forward Tyler Johnson sustained an upper body injury in the shootout loss to Chicago and is listed as day to day by the team.
Tonight is a night a lot of fans were eagerly anticipating since the team unveiled their newest third jersey back at Fan Fest. The Lightning called tonight Back in Black to signify the teams return to a black jersey that hasn’t been seen since game 7 of the eastern conference finals back in 2011. Each fan in attendance received a Lightning t-shirt with the words Back in Black across the back. The team welcomed in the San Jose Sharks who currently sit at 8 wins, 7 losses and 2 overtime losses. The Sharks though have a winning record while playing on the road this season.
The first period was a defensive battle with neither team able to put it in the net. San Jose held the Lightning to nine shots on goal while having seventeen shots on Ben Bishop. Of the nine shots the Lightning had on net defenseman Jason Garrison and Nikita Kucherov lead the team with 2 a piece. By the time the 2nd period began both teams were 0-1 on the power play Gudas went to the box 2 minutes for illegal contact to the head while San Jose received a too many men penalty with 1:30 left in the 1st.
Neither team would score until Joe Thornton put the Sharks ahead 5:23 into the 2nd period. Thornton also tied Bobby Clark ranked 42nd all time for points in a career with 1210. Tyler Kennedy extended their lead nearly 4 minutes later at 9:22 giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead. The Lightning only managed 8 shots on net while the Shark added 14 more in the middle period.
The Lightning looked very sluggish for most the game missing wide open passes an d lacking the scoring touch the had shown in numerous games scoring 7 goals in 3 games already this season. But the Lightning can’t be blamed for everything Antti Niemi played a great game in net for the San Jose Sharks showing that he is better than his 6-5-1 record would suggest.
In the third period Steven Stamkos was able to finally get the Lightning on the board at 9:35 in the 3rd period, but it would seem to be too little too late as the Lightning would lose only their 2nd game at home this season.
Coming up next for the Lightning on Saturday will be John Tavares and the New York Islanders.