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Thornton, Sharks top Lightning

Center's two assists help San Jose open trip with win

by Corey Long / NHL.com Correspondent

Nieto puts Sharks in front

SJS@TBL: Nieto dekes Bishop, puts Sharks back on top

2/16/16: Matt Nieto gets a pass on a 2-on-1 and fakes out Ben Bishop with a silky move to his forehand before sliding home the go-ahead goal

  • 00:36 •

TAMPA -- Matt Nieto scored the game-winning goal at 1:17 of the third period to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 4-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday. 

Melker Karlsson, Joel Ward and Joe Pavelski scored for the Sharks (30-20-5), who were opening a five-game road trip. Martin Jones made 28 saves, and Joe Thornton had two assists.

"It was a good hockey game," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "I thought Tampa played well, showed up and was ready to play. First [few] minutes they had us on our heels. But we found our game and ... I like the way we won." 

Ryan Callahan and Cedric Paquette scored for the Lightning (30-22-4), who have lost four of their past five games. 

"The guys are trying ... [but] we're cheating the game a little bit right now," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "All of the things on the defensive side of the puck we've done for the past two-and-a-half years, we're going through a stretch where we're not doing those things."

Video: SJS@TBL: Sharks take lead on Pavelski's one-timer

Nieto's game-winner came after Tampa Bay failed to keep the puck in the San Jose zone, setting up a 2-on-1 opportunity the other way. Patrick Marleau fed Nieto, who went backhand to forehand to beat Lightning goalie Ben Bishop past his outstretched right pad. 

Pavelski's 26th goal gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 6:34 of the second period. He put a shot past Bishop from the slot after Thornton hit him with a pass from behind the net. 

"Coming out of the first, they had the lead, but we thought in the second half of that period we took control of it and had some chances," Pavelski said. "Some guys made some plays at the right times." 

Paquette scored his first goal in 22 games with a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Jones to the short side at 8:46 of the second to tie it 2-2.

Video: SJS@TBL: Lightning take lead on Callahan's goal

Ryan Callahan opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the season and first in 19 games at 17:51 of the first period. He scored with a backhand shot from the slot off a pass from Alex Killorn.  

"I've been getting some opportunities that haven't been going in, but I was happy to get this one," Callahan said. "But we have to tighten up defensively. It's breakdowns, for sure. We kill some penalties in the third, and then end up giving up [even-strength] goals." 

Ward tied it 1-1 at 1:43 of the second with a slap shot from the point that went through Bishop's pads. 

Karlsson put the game out of reach with 1:43 remaining when he scored off Thornton's feed. Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr tried to play the puck behind the Tampa Bay net, but it hit referee Gord Dwyer and ended up on Thornton's stick. Karlsson was open in the slot and scored with a wrist shot to make it 4-2.

"For a passer, it's nice when the guys are finishing the way they are," Thornton said. "We're just working for our chances and right now they are going in the back of the net for us." 

Video: SJS@TBL: Ward's shot beats Bishop, ties game

Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic extended his NHL career-high point streak to eight games with an assist on Ward's goal. It's tied for the longest streak by a defenseman in San Jose history (Brent Burns, Dec. 22, 2015-Jan. 12, 2016; Sandis Ozolinsh, Feb. 5-21, 1994). 

"[Jones] gave us some saves early and the goal really backed them off a little bit," DeBoer said. "I liked our composure, even when we got behind or they tied it up. We had a good feeling of confidence and we played that way."   

Bishop had 27 saves. 

"We had 20 minutes to get a win on home ice and had a couple of breakdowns," Bishop said. "We're going to wake up tomorrow and not be in the playoffs. We've got 26 games left and they're all going to be important. It's gut check time." 

The Pittsburgh Penguins (64 points), who were idle, moved past the Lightning (64 points) into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference by virtue of having played one fewer game.

Video: Sharks score twice in 3rd, beat Lightning 4-2

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