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Lightning, Sharks look to get back on track

by Jon Lane

LIGHTNING (14-7-0) at SHARKS (13-3-5)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 6-4-0; San Jose 4-2-4

Season series: This is the first of two games between the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks. The teams meet again in Tampa on Jan. 18.

Big story: The Lightning started the season 7-0-0 against Western Conference opponents, but that was before they began their four-game West Coast trip. In the first two games, the Lightning were outscored 11-5 by the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes.

"It's not a panic time," forward Martin St. Louis said. "It's just correcting the mistakes … we got to stop this. We don't want to turn a two-gamer into a [four- or five-game losing streak]. Be honest and assess your game. Be honest in how you're playing … we all got to do more."

The Sharks are home after a 3-1-1 road trip, but they are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Team Scope:

Lightning: Tampa Bay's loss to Phoenix on Saturday dropped it out of first place in the Eastern Conference, behind the Boston Bruins. The Lightning head to SAP Center at San Jose losers of consecutive games for the first time in 2013-14.

''This hasn't happened in back-to-back games for us this year,'' coach Jon Cooper said. ''This was the first time we've been on the wrong end of the score twice in a row. Coming out West is a tough trip. There are some good teams out here, and I'm sure L.A. was licking their chops a little bit after what happened to them in Tampa (a 5-1 loss Oct. 15).''

Sharks: San Jose's lineup will receive a boost with the return of forward Brent Burns from facial injuries.

Burns has skated in his familiar spot in practice with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl, a line that sparked the Sharks to a 7-0-1 start before Burns' injury.

"We'll see how he is when he comes to the rink, but he's telling me now that he's ready," coach Todd McLellan said Thursday, noting Burns was taken off injured reserve. "He looks ready, and right now he is. You don't take a 6-foot-5, 230-pound player out of your lineup that can skate and shoot like that and not miss him. It's as simple as that. He is a big, big part of our team."

Who's hot: St. Louis, who skated in his 1,000th career NHL game Tuesday, is on a three-game point streak (one goal, four assists). Valtteri Filppula's nine goals match his total in 41 games last season with the Detroit Red Wings. Richard Panik (plus-3 in his past 10 games) leads all rookies with four assists on the power play and his eight total rank fourth among League freshmen. … Hertl has four goals and three assists in his past seven games. Joe Pavelski has points in five straight (two goals, three assists) and nine of 10 (five goals, five assists). Captain Joe Thornton had a four-game point streak (six assists) snapped Sunday.

Injury report: Stamkos (right tibia surgery) is out indefinitely. Mark Barberio (lower body) is questionable. Four other Tampa Bay players are on injured reserve: Brian Lee (knee surgery), Mattias Ohlund (knee surgery), Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and Keith Aulie (upper body). … The Sharks' Raffi Torres (knee surgery) and Adam Burish (lower body) are on IR.

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