Tampa Bay Lightning (14-7-0) at San Jose Sharks (13-3-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday November 21, 2013, 10:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: San Jose Sharks -215 / Tampa Bay Lightning +195 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Lightning look to shake off Tuesday’s debacle in Los Angeles as they head to San Jose to take on the equally daunting Sharks.
The Lightning continue life without Steven Stamkos on the West coast Thursday night as they travel from Los Angeles to San Jose to face a Sharks team who despite playing through some bumpy times at the moment are still one of the league’s best teams. The Bolts won their first two contests without their bets player but have dropped back to back games since and they’ll look to avoid losing a third straight at the Shark Tank. Tampa Bay is a good team but to me a lot of their success and team mentality surrounds the play of Stamkos and while I expected the effects to be immediate it looks as though they’re finally starting to set in. Ben Bishop has been great so far in his first full season as a starter but again a lot of his success and confidence to me depends on the confidence the team has in front of him offensively and right now I don’t think that level is where it was before Stammer’s injury. Bishop will get another shot at a win as he goes head to head with Antii Niemi.
The Sharks once again stormed out of the gates this season and just like last year they have hit a bit of a speed bump and need to get back on track. San Jose is to me the deepest team in the league down the middle and when you have confidence in your forward anchors the rest of the team rallies around that and the Sharks have been able to do that for years. Antii Niemi continues to be one of the game’s best goaltenders even though it is a silent type of success as he doesn’t garner the same respect that Henrik Lundqvist and Jonathan Quick garner but he certainly knows what it takes to win. While the Bolts looked good at the start of the year I think their time is coming to an end and while they still might make the playoffs it’ll be a much busier road travelled than they first expected. I like the Sharks to do what the Kings did on Tuesday and lay a beating to the Lightning.