Skip to main content

Sharks-Lightning Preview @NHLdotcom

The Tampa Bay Lightning finally gave new coach Barry Melrose a victory. Making it two in a row won't be an easy task as they host the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks on Saturday night.

After opening with five straight losses, Tampa Bay (1-2-3) blew a two-goal lead but won 3-2 in overtime over Atlanta on Tuesday for Melrose's first victory with the Lightning and first since 1995 when he was coaching the Los Angeles Kings.

"I'd like an easier one," Melrose said. "I'd like a 7-0 or something. But this is probably a really important win for us because of us coming back and winning after giving up a 2-0 lead."

Vincent Lecavalier scored the winner, while Vinny Prospal and Mark Recchi each added a goal. Martin St. Louis recorded a pair of assists in Tampa Bay's fourth straight overtime contest.

"When you're up 2-0, you don't want to go to overtime," said Lecavalier, who has scored his team-leading three goals over the last four games. "But the guys stayed positive and we kept playing hard. We battled through and got the game."

Mike Smith made 31 saves to improve to 1-1-2 with a 1.92 goals-against average for Tampa Bay, which faces San Jose for the first time since losing 4-2 at home to the Sharks on Oct. 29, 2006.

It's uncertain if defenseman Marek Malik will make his debut after signing a one-year deal with Tampa Bay on Thursday. The 33-year-old veteran played in 42 games with the New York Rangers last season, recording two goals and 10 points.

Lecavalier and St. Louis had a goal apiece in the most recent contest with San Jose, and both Tampa Bay stars have tallied three goals and three assists each in their careers against the Sharks.

The pair will likely need to be at their best Saturday as they face San Jose (6-2-0), which owns a Western Conference-high 12 points and has matched its best start in franchise history after eight games set in 2005-06.

The Sharks, though, hope to conclude their three-game road trip by bouncing back from a 4-3 loss at Florida on Friday. Patrick Marleau scored his team-leading fifth goal and Evgeni Nabokov made 30 saves for San Jose, which has allowed four goals or more in each of its last four games where it is 2-2-0 during that span.

"I hope we're figuring out that four is sort of the magic number," said San Jose coach Todd McLellan, whose team lost 4-0 at Anaheim on Oct. 17. "We're not going to win many games giving up four goals."

Nabokov, a first-team All-Star last season, was in goal for each of the last four games, giving up 18 goals for an .820 save percentage during that span.

"It's early in the season and he's working on his game," said McLellan of Nabokov, who is 2-3-0 with a tie and a 2.78 GAA against Tampa Bay. "Our confidence in him hasn't wavered one bit. He's still one of the top goalies in the league."

With a back-to-back situation presenting itself, Brian Boucher could make his second start after recording 21 saves in a 1-0 win at Los Angeles on Oct. 12. Boucher is 5-4-0 with a tie and a 2.87 GAA against the Lightning.

Marleau has three goals in his last two games and eight goals with five assists in 14 versus Tampa Bay. He has five goals with an assist in his last five contests against the Lightning.

EA SPORTS NHL09 Game Predictions
Three Stars
Vincent Lecavalier
g: 1 | A: 1

g: 0 | a: 2

G: 1 | A: 0


View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.