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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 21st (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (14-7-0) at San Jose Sharks (13-3-5), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning aim to snap their first losing streak of the season in the continuation of a four-game road trip out west with Thursday night's clash against the San Jose Sharks.
The Bolts have dropped games to Phoenix and Los Angeles to begin the swing, marking the first time they have lost two straight since April 25-27. This comes on the heels of losing star forward Steven Stamkos indefinitely to a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 in a road loss to Boston.
Tampa Bay won on the road in Montreal and bested Anaheim at home following Stamkos' injury, but lost 6-3 to the Coyotes last Saturday. The Lightning followed up with Tuesday's 5-2 setback to the Kings.
Victor Hedman had a goal and assisted on Valtteri Filppula's marker, while Ben Bishop allowed all five scores on 31 shots.
The defeat spoiled a milestone for Martin St. Louis, who skated in his 1,000th career game. He had an assist, giving him 348 goals and 585 helpers for 933 points in his career.
Despite the losing streak, head coach Jon Cooper is just worried about his club's effort, hoping the wins will come.
"I can't sit here and say our guys didn't try, because we tried," said Cooper. "We've just hit a little bit of a rut, where our goalie was making saves and we were tipping pucks in and the pucks were going in for us, they're not going in for us anymore.
"Everything evens itself out, and I look to see work ethic. They tried, and they did a lot of good things out there tonight, we just didn't get any bounces and it's kind of being going like that for the last couple of games."
Hedman reached 100 career points in Tuesday's loss, while Filppula now has nine goals and 16 points in 21 games with the Lightning. He notched just nine goals and 17 points in 41 contests last season with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Bolts are slated to end their trip on Saturday in Anaheim, meaning both Bishop and Anders Lindback could see action over the next two nights.
Both have faced the Sharks just once before and in a uniform other than a Lightning sweater.
Bishop gave up four goals on 43 shots faced in a shootout loss while with St. Louis on Nov. 6, 2008, while Lindback halted 25 shots in a victory on Dec. 15, 2010 while with Nashville.
The Sharks look to rebound after dropping a 5-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Joe Pavelski scored and Antti Niemi was touched for all five goals on 27 shots.
San Jose had a three-game win streak snapped and finished a five-game road trip 3-1-1 thanks to just their third regulation loss of the season (13-3-5).
"We lacked a lot of energy that was needed to play in this type of game," said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.
The Sharks are playing their next five at home and are close to getting forward Brent Burns back the lineup. He has missed the last 13 games with an upper-body injury.
Also, forward Patrick Marleau was able to practice on Wednesday despite being involved in a car accident the previous day.
Niemi is 2-0-1 with a 2.61 goals against average in three lifetime meetings with the Lightning and the Sharks are 6-1-1 in the previous eight encounters overall.
Tampa Bay has lost four straight in San Jose.
11/21 11:10:38 ET
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