Dominic Moore was traded from Tampa Bay to San Jose Thursday
Moore is a solid checking forward, making dropping back about 150 places in the draft worthwhile for a team that is looking to win now. Trouble is, when Martin Havlat returns, the Sharks will have four first-line and four second-line-calibre forwards, including Jamie McGinn and Michal Handzus on the third line.
Even if Moore were better than Torrey Mitchell, there is no way that productive line is getting broken up. How much of an upgrade is Moore (or Tim Kennedy, who Doug Wilson acquired last month) than the three Sharks that would otherwise man the fourth line? For that matter, the Sharks have plenty of talent in this tier on the Worcester Shuttle (see above link for explanation).
Oddly enough, Moore did not play for either team Thursday. Pavel Kubina also sat out in anticipation of being traded.
Tampa needed neither, because Antti Niemi played poorly for the Sharks. He let six goals in on 25 shots, including one through the five-hole from a sharp angle.
The Sharks got on board first, with Joe Thornton redirecting a puck from Patrick Marleau to Logan Couture for the power-play goal. But the Bolts countered with a goal from Steven Stamkos and a late power-play conversion by Teddy Purcell to end the period up 2-1.
San Jose dominated the second period, out-shooting the Lightning 20-4. Goals by Handzus, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Colin White more than made up for Steve Downie's goal, and the Sharks led 4-3 going into the third.
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Stamkos and Martin St. Louis scored in the first half of the third to give the hosts the lead. Couture found Tommy Wingels in the slot for the game-tying one-timer with 5:10 left, but St. Louis buried Tampa's only shot of overtime with just over 30 seconds left before the shootout.
The Sharks dominated almost every statistic. They out-shot the Bolts 50-25 and had a 76-43 edge in attempts, yet they had more blocked shots (12-10). They held the possession edge by being both plus-six in the circle and plus-three on giveaway/takeaway differential, yet they were only out-hit 26-22.
San Jose also stayed out of the box more, taking only one penalty to Tampa's three. But both teams converted once on the power play—in a total of nine seconds for the Bolts.
Fortunately, San Jose extended its lead in the division with the Phoenix Coyotes overtaking the Los Angeles Kings. But they remain over three games back of the Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings for the top seeds in the Western Conference.
The Sharks have to shake off the disappointment and any fatigue caused by such a high-shooting overtime affair. Friday's Carolina Hurricanes are one of only two non-playoff contenders remaining on this road trip. Thomas Greiss will almost certainly be in net.
The Sharks will have an edge in every measurable way in this game (shots for and against, goals for and against, faceoffs, five-on-five, penalty kill and power play)—often a sizable one. If they are going to challenge the top two seeds, they need to beat teams like Tampa and Carolina.