NHL Hockey

2
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Tampa Bay 1 1 0 2
San Jose 2 1 2 5
5
8:00 PM PT9:00 PM MT10:00 PM CT11:00 PM ET4:00 GMT12:00 9:00 PM MST11:00 PM EST8:00 UAE23:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 5, 2019
SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California  Attendance: 17,562

Lightning-Sharks Preview

Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks

  1. Tampa Bay is 15-0-1 in its last 16 games for the second-longest point streak in franchise history behind an 18-game run during its Stanley Cup-winning 2003-04 season. The only team to earn more points in a 16-game span in the last two decades was Columbus (16-0-0) during the 2016-17 season.
  2. Nikita Kucherov has eight goals and 19 assists during a 12-game point streak, the longest by a Lightning player since Valtteri Filppula (12 games) in March 2014. If he gets a point Saturday, Kucherov would record Tampa's longest point streak since Steven Stamkos' club-record 18-game run in 2009-2010.
  3. San Jose has scored and allowed at least four goals in three consecutive games. The only other time that's happened to the Sharks was during their inaugural 1991-92 season. The only team to have a longer such streak in the past decade was Ottawa with four straight in November of this season.
  4. These teams have the league's top two power plays since Thanksgiving (November 22), with the Lightning converting 32.8 percent (20-for-61) and the Sharks at 32.1 percent (18-for-56). San Jose has scored two power-play goals in each of its last two games, and Tampa Bay scored three on Thursday.
  5. Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski, both named All-Stars this week, each had four points Wednesday. It was the first time that more than one San Jose player had 4+ points in a game since October 27, 2010, when Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau accomplished the feat.
  6. The Lightning won both meetings between these clubs last season and scored five goals in each. They've scored at least five in all but four games during their 16-game point streak and have done so in 18 games overall this season, four more than any other team.

It's a new year, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are doing the same old thing they did in 2018.

Being the NHL's best club.

As teams hit the halfway point of the 2018-19 campaign, the sizzling Lightning (32-7-2, 66 points) keep getting hotter and hotter with their top players still performing among the league's best and the power play continuing to click.

Tampa Bay is riding a spectacular 15-0-1 record and 16-game point streak dating back to Nov. 29, did not lose in regulation in December, and is 18-1-1 in its last 20 contests.

While road trips in different time zones can wear on clubs, nothing changed when the NHL's top team embarked on a three-game West Coast road swing. Tampa Bay posted 2-1 and 6-2 wins over the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings, respectively, this week.

The Lightning, who have won seven straight, conclude the trip with what should be their toughest test on Saturday, facing the San Jose Sharks (22-13-7, 51 points) at SAP Center.

Tampa Bay has plenty of reasons - more like plenty of elite offensive talent - to be optimistic as its group prepares to play the Sharks, currently third in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov, the league's top scorer with 69 points and riding a 12-game point streak, recorded his 20th goal of the season and 400th career point as Tampa Bay scored twice on first-period 5-on-3 power plays in building a 3-0 lead over the Kings on Thursday.

Brayden Point (54 points) and Steven Stamkos (46) round out the trio of 20-goal scorers, and Stamkos, whose 23 goals trail Point by just one, said he and his teammates are having fun at the rink.

"We have a pretty unique nucleus in terms of guys that have been here for a while and then you add in the skill set, you add in the leadership qualities that are within this room, it's one of the best I've ever played with," the Lightning captain told the media.

"You put all of those things together and you just don't get complacent, especially when you're on a stretch like this."San Jose is also rolling right now, going 2-1-0 on its recent road trip and 10-3-2 in its last 15 games.

The trip ended with a 5-4 win against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Wednesday, and the Sharks' lone loss was an 8-5 defeat to the high-scoring Calgary Flames on New Year's Eve.

The club will welcome the return home to Northern California, and despite the winning ways that began 15 games ago in a 3-1 win in Montreal on Dec. 2, the Sharks have given up 30 total goals in their last seven contests.

San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said his team's defensive setbacks may stem from taking chances to increase offense.

"We're still giving up a little too much. The offense is a result of us being a little bit loose and we're cheating a little bit and giving up an extra half goal a night," DeBoer said.

"We've done a better job of walking that line the last 25 games. ...We can score goals, but we've got to find that balance."

San Jose suffered a pair of injuries to its defensive corps as Marc-Edouard Vlasic (wrist) and Justin Braun (knee) were both injured against the Avs. The team is already playing without Radim Simek (concussion).

Updated January 4, 2019

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