Preview: Tampa Bay at San Jose
When: 10:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 5, 2015
Where: SAP Center at San Jose, San Jose, California
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to clinch a winning road trip to California when they visit the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night. The Lightning, still waiting for three key forwards to return from injuries, knocked off Anaheim 2-1 on Wednesday night to start their trek and will take on the Los Angeles Kings to end it Sunday.
Skillful left wing Jonathan Drouin returned to the lineup Wednesday and contributed a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay while Tyler Johnson, Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat were missing and remain questionable for Saturday. The Lightning won at San Jose last season and hope to keep the Sharks in a downward spiral. San Jose dropped a 1-0 decision at Anaheim on Friday for its third loss in four contests since completing a perfect six-game road trip. Veteran Patrick Marleau saw his four-game goal scoring streak come to an end as the Sharks remained three points behind Los Angeles in the Pacific Division.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sun Sports (Tampa Bay), CSN California (San Jose)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (12-11-3): Drouin played with Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov on Wednesday on a speedy line while captain Steven Stamkos skated with Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn — a unit that had success in the playoffs last season. Stamkos (team-best 11 goals) has gone four games without a tally and right wing Ryan Callahan is suffering through a 12-game scoring drought. Ben Bishop has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his last 12 outings, but managed only five wins in that span.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (14-11-0): San Jose has scored just once in the past two games after posting 26 combined in the previous eight, and recorded only 23 shots on net in Friday’s contest. Captain Joe Pavelski leads the team with 12 goals and 24 points while defenseman Brent Burns, along with free-agent signing Joel Ward, have notched 20 points apiece. Alex Stalock (2-3-0, 2.88 goals-against average, .898 save percentage) is expected to get the start in goal after Martin Jones (12-8-0) was in net Friday.
1. Tampa Bay F Jonathan Marchessault has notched a pair of goals in seven games since his latest recall — both on the power play.
2. San Jose F Dainius Zubrus has not registered a point in four games since being signed as a free agent.
3. The Lightning signed coach Jon Cooper to a multi-year contract extension Friday.
PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Sharks 2