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game recap

Top line shines for Lightning against Sharks

Kucherov, Stamkos, Namestnikov combine for nine points in Tampa Bay win

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Steven Stamkos each had three points to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for Tampa Bay (12-2-2), which leads the NHL in points (26) and is tied with the St. Louis Blues for the lead in wins.

 

[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Sharks highlights]

 

Namestnikov had two goals and an assist, Kucherov had a goal and two assists and Stamkos had three assists. Jake Dotchin and Slater Koekkoek also scored for Tampa Bay.

Stamkos leads the NHL with 28 points. Kucherov ranks first with 15 goals and is second in the League with 26 points.

Video: TBL@SJS: Dotchin scores first career NHL goal

"It's a treat to play with him," Stamkos said of Kucherov. "And [Namestnikov] too. I know he slides under the radar. But he had a fantastic game tonight and was a huge part of our line. We obviously have a lot of fun, but we work hard. We're always trying to improve.

"Tonight was a night where maybe things weren't bouncing our way early on but our line played well and just kept building on it. It was nice to get rewarded."

The Sharks (8-6-0) took a 1-0 lead 25 seconds into the game when Joonas Donskoi scored from the slot. After that the Lightning scored five straight goals, including three in the second period when they took control of the game.

"We had no panic," Stamkos said. "Great response in the second and third. Probably the second for sure was probably our best period of the year. That's against a really good team."

Martin Jones allowed four goals on 21 shots for the Sharks, whose four-game winning streak ended. Jones was replaced by Aaron Dell after the second period.

Video: TBL@SJS: Namestnikov one-times home his second goal

"As the game went on, we just didn't reset ourselves," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "We kept missing passes and just fed their rush. They're good players, for sure. They made some plays, played with the puck a lot. And partly that's on us. Any time we had it we seemed to give it back to them."

Kucherov buried a wrist shot into the upper left corner of the net 44 seconds into the second to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.

Koekkoek made it 3-1 at 9:21 when he scored on a backhand between Jones' pads from close range.

The Lightning extended their lead to 4-1 at 12:00 on Namestnikov's wrist shot. Stamkos took a cross-ice pass in the left circle from Kucherov and quickly sent the puck to Namestnikov on the other side.

Namestnikov scored a power play goal at 6:14 of the third period to make it 5-1.

"There was a lot said in between the first and second," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who got his 200th NHL victory. "We had seven shots on goal and we were passing up Grade-A chances. It's pretty clear that that wasn't working for us. They started getting after it a little bit in the second and it worked out."

Video: TBL@SJS: Donskoi scores in game's opening minute

After Donskoi scored, the Lightning tied it 1-1 on Dotchin's first NHL career goal at 7:17 of the first period on a slap shot.

"Our game tailed off," Sharks center Logan Couture said. "We turned pucks over, didn't forecheck. They felt comfortable. They had the puck all night. They're so talented. All four lines are fast. They outskated us all over the ice. It seemed like they had five more skaters than we did."

 

Goal of the game

Kucherov's game-winner 44 seconds into the second period.

Video: TBL@SJS: Kucherov picks corner with scorching wrister

 

Save of the game

Vasilevskiy's glove save of Tim Heed's shot at 14:51 of the first period.

Video: TBL@SJS: Vasilevskiy flashes the leather on Heed

 

Highlight of the game

Namestnikov's goal at 12:00 of the second period.

Video: TBL@SJS: Namestnikov buries pass from Stamkos

 

They said it

"We were on top of them. We were skating and we weren't giving them really any space to make plays. Then it turned into a little bit of a shot and retrieval game, and that kind of swayed in our favor. And fortunately, some of the pucks went in for us." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

 

"When you play an elite team, you have to bring your 'A' game and we didn't do that across the board. When you bring your 'B' game, you see what happens. We didn't do anything well. " -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer

 

Need to know

Lightning forward Chris Kunitz played his 900th NHL game. ... Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic returned to the lineup after missing one game with a concussion. ... Sharks defenseman Paul Marin (ankle) missed his 12th straight game. ... Lightning forward Yanni Gourde, a former Sharks prospect, had two assists. ... Lightning forward Cedric Paquette (upper body) missed his ninth straight game.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; SN, FS-W, SUN, NHL.TV)

Sharks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Namestnikov, Stamkos lead Lightning past Sharks, 5-1

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