Game 49 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs San Jose Sharks

On the losing end of another close affair against the Islanders, this time the club coming up short in the shootout the other night, the Lightning get another crack at jump-starting another home winning streak with a matinee match against the visiting San Jose Sharks, which dispatched the Panthers on Thursday with, after largely controlling play, a three-goal burst in a near twelve-minute window beginning towards the end of the middle frame.

The Sharks present a difficult draw in the midst of a relatively soft — in terms of the competition and ignoring being on the road so frequently — stretch of the schedule. San Jose have been one of the league’s elite regular season teams for years now, one that has, with the exception of a wild back-and-forth bout in February of the 2010-2011 season, handled the Bolts with ease in the infrequent matches between the two clubs in recent years.

The Sharks are a heavyweight because they are very good in every game-state at each end of the ice. San Jose spends the bulk of play on the attack generating league-best rates of shot attempts at even-strength and on the power play. Opponents simply don’t get nearly the amount of looks as the Sharks do, in large part because San Jose leverages its advantage at evens — forcing opponents to spend the balance defending — by drawing far more penalties than it takes. If the team does have a weakness, it is its penalty-killing, which allows a high rate of opposition attempts, like the Lightning. Perhaps, arguably, it’s the goaltending. However, again, the Sharks minimize these perceived vulnerabilities by staying out of the box more than any other team in the league (it has spent more than a period’s duration killing penalties than the closest team) and a superior possession game that translates to significant production which ensures Antti Niemi doesn’t have to stand on his head night in and night out to enable the Sharks to scrape by clubs.

In short, the Sharks are largely rewarded for great process, one that leads to an offensive juggernaut in terms of the goal counts even though the Sharks have middling shot conversion rates. In other words, San Jose has a very healthy and sustainable approach to winning. Mercy on the rest of the league if San Jose starts getting Ben Bishop-like numbers from this season moving forward.

SEASON SERIES

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NOTES

STANDINGS

LIGHTNING
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SHARKS
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ACTIVE ROSTERS

LIGHTNING
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SHARKS
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STATPACK

LIGHTNING

RANKINGS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING RATES
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TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING PERCENTAGES
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TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
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GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
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PLAYER SCORING
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RATES

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
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GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
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PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
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GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


SHARKS

RANKINGS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING RATES
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TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING PERCENTAGES
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TOTALS

TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]
PLAYER SCORING
[table “76” not found /]

RATES


TEAM POSSESSION & SCORING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]

PERCENTAGES

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING & SHOOTING
[table “75” not found /]
GOALTENDING (ON-ICE)
[table “81” not found /]


Team stats cited from Extra Skater.

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