Stamkos scores twice, leads Lightning past Sharks 6-3
By ERIK ERLENDSSON
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) A three-point night from Steven Stamkos sent the Tampa Bay Lightning into their extended All-Star break with another victory.
Stamkos scored a pair of goals in the third period and Tampa Bay beat San Jose 6-3 Saturday night.
NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov added a pair of assists.
Victor Hedman finished with a goal and two points.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves and recorded his 20th victory of the season.
Evander Kane had two goals, and Marcus Sorenson also scored for the Sharks, who dropped their second consecutive game since winning seven in a row.
Martin Jones stopped 20 shots and had his personal eight-game winning streak halted.
"I didn't think the score was super indicative of how the game went," said Kane, who has four goals in two games against Tampa Bay this season. "I thought we carried the play to be honest for most of the game. But every mistake we made or when we took penalties, they capitalized on those opportunities."
San Jose played without All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was a late scratch despite participating in warmups.
"He's been dealing with something for a little while here and he felt that he was going to be able to play through and just couldn't," Sharks' coach Peter DeBoer said. "We'll see how he feels (Sunday). I don't have a full report on what is it. We're not going to risk anything with him."
DeBoer indicated shutting down Karlsson for the final two games before the All-Star break is an option they will consider.
The Lightning pulled away in the third on a pair of goals from Stamkos. He took a pass from Kucherov and scored on a wrist shot high to the stick side at 5:08, and added a power-play goal with a one-timer off a pass from Hedman at 14:15 for his 26th goal of the season. Stamkos reached the 25-goal mark for the ninth time in his career.
"It's been a lot of fun contributing to the team with the season we've been having so far as a team," Stamkos said. "I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I feel in rounding out my game, I've found myself putting myself into better positions to create offense and score some more goals."
Kucherov's two assists gave him a league-leading 56 on the season. He has 78 points overall.
Joseph opened the scoring for the Lightning with his 12th of the season, taking a rebound of a shot by Anthony Cirelli and netting a backhand at 3:32. Killorn made it 2-0 on another rebound at 17:51.
Kane cut the lead in half with a power-play goal with 20.1 seconds left in the first period.
San Jose tied the game on the opening shift of the second period as Kane pounced on his own rebound off the end boards 58 seconds in.
But Gourde answered at 7:29, while Hedman scored a power-play goal at 12:01 to regain the two-goal edge.
"You have the 2-0 lead and give it up, that's tough," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "But I thought we settled down (after the tying goal) and (Gourde) gets a big one to give us the lead. I liked the way we weathered the emotions of `we coughed up the lead now we need to go get it back.' It showed a little maturity."
NOTES: Lightning RW Yanni Gourde scored his first goal since Dec. 29. . Sharks' D Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed his ninth consecutive game with a wrist injury. . Tampa Bay played its final game before going into its bye week. . Marcus Sorensen is the eighth San Jose player to reach 10 goals on the season. . Tampa Bay has held the top spot in the NHL standings continuously since Dec. 2.
Sharks: At Florida Panthers on Tuesday
Lightning: At Pittsburgh on Jan. 30
More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated January 19, 2019