EditorsNote: Slight tweak in 4th graf; makes two corrections and an addition to Stamkos in 7th graf
Steven Stamkos continue his climb up the NHL’s career goals list, and Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the host San Jose Sharks 3-0 Saturday night.
Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat also scored for the Lightning, who went 3-0-1 on their four-game trip to Dallas, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose, and improved to 15-2-1 in their past 18 games.
Tampa Bay also improved to 8-0-0 this season against Pacific Division teams. The Lightning have won 11 straight against that division dating to Feb. 12, 2019.
San Jose goaltender Aaron Dell stopped 32 of 34 shots, but the Sharks lost their second straight and dropped to 1-5-0 in their past six games.
The first period was scoreless, despite the Lightning having a 13-2 advantage in shots on goal. Dell made a spectacular pad save to keep things even, sliding across the crease to stop Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point at the right post.
Stamkos opened the scoring at 4:04 of the second period. After a Tampa Bay shot went wide of the net, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk skated to the side boards to retrieve the puck and sent a cross-ice pass to Stamkos at the left faceoff dot. Stamkos blistered a one-timer just inside the left post before Dell could fully scramble into position.
The goal was the 416th of Stamkos’ NHL career, moving him into a tie for 85th place all-time. He passed San Jose’s Joe Thornton, who has 415. Stamkos, who turns 30 this Friday, has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in a seven-game point streak and 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 17 career games against San Jose.
The Sharks outshot Tampa Bay 18-8 the second, but couldn’t solve McElhinney, who was making just his 14th start of the season in place of Andrei Vasilevskiy, who earned his 150th career victory Friday night in a 4-2 victory at the Anaheim Ducks. McElhinney improved to 6-6-2.
Kucherov scored on a backhander at 17:57 of the third, off an assist from Stamkos, and Palat added an empty-netter at 19:43 to cap the victory.
—Field Level Media