Wingels Leads Sharks Past Lightning
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SAN JOSE (CBS / AP) — Tommy Wingels fit right in with new linemates Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau after Brent Burns returned to the ice for the San Jose Sharks.
Wingels scored two goals and Marleau added a goal and two assists to help the Sharks get their first home win in more than a month with a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
“It’s fun scoring goals in this league,” Wingels said. “Patty and Logan on both of those plays made really nice passes, and I happened to be the beneficiary of it.”
Couture added three assists, and the trio helped shut down Martin St. Louis on Tampa’s top line to give the Sharks the win in their first game back following a winding, five-game road trip in which they changed time zones after every game.
Burns and Brad Stuart also scored for the Sharks, and Antti Niemi made 36 saves.
Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning, who dropped their season-worst third straight game on a rough West Coast trip that ends Friday night in Anaheim. Tampa Bay has been outscored 16-6 in losses to Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose as they are struggling since losing star center Steven Stamkos to a broken right leg last week.
“There have been six points on the table, and we have yet to find one,” coach Jon Cooper said. “To me this is a rough trip. Things had been going our way for a long time this year to start the season, and now not so much.”
Since beating Calgary on Oct. 19, the Sharks have gone on a pair of five-game road trips around a winless three-game homestand that featured a pair of shootout losses. They found their winning touch at home again at the start of a season-high, five-game homestand.
Wingels played a big part in his first career two-goal game. He got the scoring started early in the first period and then with the Lightning making a strong push in the second, Wingels added his second goal.
Marleau found him with a slick pass from behind the net, and Wingels one-timed it past Anders Lindback on the short side for his seventh goal of the season. That is one shy of his career total in 80 games coming into the season.
“He’s playing with so much confidence right now,” captain Joe Thornton said. “That line looked dangerous all night long. Good for Tommy to keep it going. Patty looked great, Logan looked great. They did a good job for us.”
San Jose broke it open with two goals in a 19-second span early in the third. Burns, back after missing 13 games with an upper-body injury, got the first when Thornton’s deflection of Scott Hannan’s shot-pass hit his leg on the way into the net.
“I didn’t do anything. But hey, I don’t say no to them,” Burns said.
Marleau then scored his 11th goal following the next faceoff to make it 5-0.
Lindback, making his fifth start of the season in place of Ben Bishop, made 31 saves but got no offensive support in the loss.
The Sharks got off to another fast start with two goals in the first period. San Jose has outscored the opposition 30-12 in the first, a big part of the team’s success in the first quarter of the season.
Couture and Marleau won a battle in the corner to get it started, setting up Wingels in the slot for his first goal.
The Lightning had their chances in the first period, including a power play when they spent the entire 2 minutes in the offensive zone, but Niemi stopped all three shots.
Stuart added to the lead late in the period with a point shot that beat Lindback, putting the Lightning in a 2-0 hole in the first period for the third straight game.
“Anytime you are down 2-0 to start a game it is always pretty tough to get back into it,” Johnson said. “The pucks are just going in. We have to be better.”
NOTES: Jim Craig, the goaltender on the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won the gold medal, got a warm ovation when he was interviewed after the second period. … The Sharks avoided their first four-game home losing streak since dropping six straight in 2010-11. … The Sharks improved to 8-0-1 with Burns in the lineup and are averaging 4.9 goals per game in those contests. … The Lightning had won their first seven games against Western Conference teams before losing three straight on this trip.
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