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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 18th (All times Eastern)

San Jose Sharks (30-12-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (28-15-5), 2 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled to string together wins lately, but help could soon be on the way in the form of injured star Steven Stamkos.

However, the club will once again be without Stamkos on Saturday when they host the San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning, who are just one point behind Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division, have managed to play well despite being without their sniping centerman since he suffered a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 in Boston. However, Stamkos, a two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner, participated in his first full team skate on Tuesday and is nearing a return from the injury that required surgery.

There is still no official word on when Stamkos, who has 14 goals and nine assists in 17 games this season, will be able to return to game action but it expects to be before the NHL goes on hiatus for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Stamkos was selected to represent Team Canada at the Winter Games, but right now he is more focused on getting back to help his NHL club.

"I just want to get back out there and help these guys win," said Stamkos."I think we can really do something special this year and I look forward to contributing to that."

Stamkos' team began the month of January with two straight wins, but Tampa has alternated losses and wins since then, going 3-3-1 over the past seven games. The Bolts last played on Thursday when they dropped a 2-1 shootout decision against the visiting New York Islanders. Frans Nielsen scored the winner in the shootout to help the Isles gain the extra point at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis scored in regulation for the Lightning and Ben Bishop made 29 saves in the losing effort.

"We had our chances to put them away and we didn't", said Bishop. "I thought we played a good game, just came up on the short end against a team that's been pretty hot."

St. Louis has the longest current point streak in the NHL at six games. He has recorded four goals and three assists during the stretch and is leading the Lightning in both goals (21) and helpers (24) this season.

The Lightning are capping a brief two-game homestand on Saturday and are 14-5-3 as the host this season.

The Sharks will try to wrap a three-game road trip with a perfect record today after notching wins at Washington and Florida to begin the swing. San Jose recorded a 2-1 shootout victory in D.C. on Tuesday and then posted a 3-0 win over the Panthers.

Alex Stalock made 24 saves to record his first career shutout in the win over Florida. Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three of their last four. Matt Nieto and Joe Thornton also lit the lamp to help San Jose improve its road record to 14-10-3.

"A win is a win on the road, but a shutout is pretty special too. It will be something I will remember," Stalock said.

It's uncertain if Sharks coach Todd McLellan will play the hot hand and return to Stalock again today or if he decides to go with No. 1 netminder Antti Niemi. Stalock has never faced the Lightning, while Niemi is 3-0-1 with a 2.22 goals against average versus Tampa Bay.

San Jose downed the Lightning by a 5-1 score on Nov. 21 in Northern California and has taken three of four and seven of the past nine meetings in this series. Tampa has claimed two straight encounters in its home arena, however, and the Lightning boast a 5-2-0 record with a tie in the last eight meetings against the Sharks at the Forum.

The Sharks will return to Silicon Valley following today's road tilt and are set to begin a four-game homestand Monday against Calgary.

01/18 10:35:57 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TAM 2
7:30pm Tonight
ND
DUKE
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
CHA
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCSU
CLEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MEM
ECU
 
Final
IND 91
TOR 104
Final
DET 95
CLE 103
Final
MIA 102
MIL 109
Final
DAL 90
MEM 109
Final
GSW 111
CHI 113
Final
LAL 92
WAS 98
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
POR
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
ATL
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
DEN
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
OKC
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
CHA
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
WAS
 
Final
AKR 59
BST 47
 
Final
KSU 63
CMICH 53
 
Final
VCU 72
GWU 48
Final
TOL 70
UMO 65
 
Final
MICH 58
NEB 44
Final
BGU 56
NILL 46
 
Final
EMICH 76
OHIO 40
 
Final
VT 70
PITT 67
Final
LAS 53
STJOE 48
Final
TULA 55
TULSA 62
Final
UGA 70
VANDY 62
Final
KYST 59
WVU 65
Final
BUF 77
WMICH 71
 
Final
GEOR 53
XAV 66
Final
EVAN 89
INDST 78
 
Final
ORU 94
TABOR 53
 
Final
OKST 64
BAY 53
9:00pm Tuesday
PROV 0
DEP 0
 
Final
ALA 50
UF 52
9:00pm Tuesday
RUTG 0
MSU 0
 
Final
ARK 69
TENN 64
Final
AUB 61
TEXAM 71
Final
UTST 56
WYO 44
Final
SDST 58
FRES 47
Final
CALST 79
SDCHR 54
 
Final
NEV 62
UNLV 67
Final
BSU 82
COLST 78
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMBC
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
DUQ
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ELON
 
7:00pm Tonight
USB
HART
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PSU
MINN
 
7:00pm Tonight
MAINE
UNH
 
7:00pm Tonight
DREX
NE
 
7:00pm Tonight
FORD
RIU
 
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SMU
 
7:00pm Tonight
MARQ
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
LSU
SCAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
 
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LONG
UNCA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FSU
WAKE
 
7:00pm Tonight
CCAR
WINT
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
ND
DUKE
 
7:30pm Tonight
GHND 0
HC 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
CSOU
RAD
 
7:30pm Tonight
OKLA
TTU
 
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
DRAK
 
8:00pm Tonight
BUCK
LEH
 
8:00pm Tonight
WICHS
LOYC
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLST
MIZST
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDKST
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
ORST
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
RICE
 
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NIOWA
 
9:00pm Tonight
NCSU
CLEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
MEM
ECU
 
9:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
GT
 
9:00pm Tonight
PURD
IND
 
9:00pm Tonight
TCU
KU
 
9:00pm Tonight
BC
LOU
 
9:00pm Tonight
MISS
MSST
 
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
STJ
 
10:00pm Tonight
SJST
AFA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
OREG
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
STAN
 
Final
PHI 4
ARI 3
Final
NYI 4
NYR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 3
Final
PIT 5
WIN 3
Final
MON 3
DAL 2
Final
FLA 4
DET 5
Final
CAR 4
TAM 2
Final
NAS 4
COL 3
Final
CAL 4
BUF 1
Final
EDM 1
MIN 2
Final
VAN 0
ANA 4
7:30pm Tonight
NJD
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
WAS
PIT
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CHI