SAN JOSE, Calif. - Joe Thornton had two goals and an assist, Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves and the San Jose Sharks returned home for another one-sided victory, 7-1 over the weary Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Milan Michalek had a goal and two assists for the NHL-leading Sharks, who improved to 32-5-5 with the highest goal total and margin of victory in their successful season. After playing just one home game in the past three weeks, the Sharks opened a four-game homestand by improving to an incredible 20-0-2 at the Shark Tank this season, going up 5-1 with three goals in the second period.
Devin Setoguchi had San Jose's first goal and an assist, while Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Tomas Plihal added goals as the slick-skating Sharks piled on Tampa Bay backup goalie Karri Ramo, who made 35 saves in the Lightning's first visit to San Jose in nearly three years.
Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning, whose five-game road trip ended with a thud after three earlier victories, including back-to-back wins at Anaheim and Los Angeles. Tampa Bay fell well short of its first three-game sweep of the NHL's three California clubs since the 1993-94 season.
San Jose still hasn't lost a regular-season game at home in regulation since last Feb. 14, a span of 31 games. With seven of their next eight games at home, the Sharks are within striking distance of the Canadiens' NHL record of 37 consecutive home games with at least one point in the late 1970s - although Montreal had it tougher, since overtime losses weren't worth one point in those days.
San Jose's streak gets two stiff tests later this week with visits from Calgary and Detroit, which lead the Western Conference's other two divisions.
Dan Boyle, San Jose's all-star defenceman, faced Tampa Bay for the second time since the Lightning traded him to the Sharks in the off-season. Boyle, whose four-game point-scoring streak was snapped, felt betrayed by his longtime club's new ownership, but he has been outstanding in his debut season on the West Coast.
Boyle didn't need to contribute to this blowout. Setoguchi scored less than 2 1/2 minutes in when he won a race for a dumped-in puck and then got it back for a one-timer from Thornton, who added his first goal later in the period.
Michalek appeared to score early in the second, but the San Jose forward's goal was overturned on video review when officials decided the puck was kicked into the net. A few seconds later, Stamkos tipped home Mark Recchi's long shot for his fifth goal of the season.
But Thornton replied with a quick rebound goal in front of Ramo, clinching the first multigoal game of the season for one of the NHL's best passers. Michalek finally got a goal late in the period when Tampa Bay defenceman Andrej Meszaros failed to keep him away from a rebound in front of the net late in a power play.
Clowe slapped home another power-play goal four seconds before the period ended, getting his 18th goal of the season. Pavelski and Plihal added easy goals in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the third period, but Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet left Ramo in the game and rested starter Mike Smith, who played against the Kings on Monday night.
Tampa Bay also lost its cool in the third period. Enforcer Evgeny Artyukhin took a run at Mike Grier with a late hit, and Vaclav Prospal got a misconduct penalty for arguing an interference call a few minutes later.
David Koci then was sent off with another misconduct for a dangerous cross-check with about 4 1/2 minutes to play while Tampa Bay already was at a 5-on-3 disadvantage.
Notes: Tampa Bay's Jeff Halpern attempted to start a fight with San Jose D Doug Murray after Murray landed a legal open-ice hit on Ryan Malone in the first period - but Halpern slipped and fell on his back right when Murray touched him. Both got two-minute penalties for roughing instead. ... The Lightning have yielded seven goals in three different games this season, with each of their three goalies getting one of the losses. ... San Jose D Brad Lukowich missed his third straight game with a hernia that might require surgery. The Sharks hope Lukowich will miss only a few games around the upcoming all-star break.