TAMPA, Fla. -- The San Jose Sharks took advantage of their few chances with the man advantage.
The Sharks, with the NHL's top power-play unit, converted two of three chances. Ryane Clowe scored his first career NHL goal, Mike Grier added an empty-net goal and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 18 shots for San Jose.
"We have the best power play in the league, so maybe the memo's gone out and the referees are not going to give us power plays to see if we can figure out another way to win," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said.
Thornton scored at 4:02 of the first on the Sharks' only power play during the first two periods. The center hadn't had a goal in 12 previous games since April 15.
"We were effective when we played in their end," said Thornton.
Clowe, who returned after missing six games because of a foot injury, made it 2-0 at 2:51 of the second. Grier set up the goal, beating Tampa Bay defenseman Doug Janik to the puck behind the net and passing it to Clowe.
"I really stopped thinking about it," said Clowe, whose first goal came in his 22nd career game. "When you just go out and play, it will happen. That's what I tried to do this year. It's really special. It feels great."
Lightning coach John Tortorella said Clowe's goal was the key.
"The one that bothers me, Clowe, he scores the second goal," Tortorella said. "We're trying to keep Thornton and Marleau off the board, their lines, and get beat on really just a dump in. It wasn't a lack of effort, we didn't get the job done."
Grier completed the scoring with his empty-net goal with 1:21 left.
The Lightning, who entered the game tied for 23rd in the power-play rankings, had five consecutive man-advantage chances, but converted just one when Lecavalier cut the deficit to 2-1 with 3:52 left in the second.
Lecavalier has a goal in four straight games. Vinny Prospal picked up his 300th career assist on the goal.
After Marleau scored at 10:51 of the third, St. Louis pulled Tampa Bay to 3-2 with 6:58 to play. St. Louis has six goals in his last four games.
"We just couldn't get that one more big play," Tortorella said.
|Insult to injury: Cory Sarich (L) takes a punch from San Jose's Doug Murray in Tampa Bay's loss. (AP)|
|San Jose (8-4-0) «||1||1||2||4|
|Tampa Bay (5-6-0)||0||1||1||2|
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|04:02||Power Play - Joe Thornton, Slap Shot - Assists: Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo|
|02:51||Ryane Clowe, Slap Shot - Assists: Mike Grier, Scott Hannan|
|16:08||Power Play - Vincent Lecavalier (6), Slap Shot - Assists: Vaclav Prospal, Dan Boyle|
|10:51||Power Play - Patrick Marleau (6), Slap Shot - Assists: Scott Hannan, Marc-Edouard Vlasic|
|13:02||Power Play - Martin St. Louis (7), Slap Shot - Assists: Nikita Alexeev, Dan Boyle|
|18:39||Mike Grier (2), Empty Net - Assists: Pat Rissmiller, Marcel Goc|
|02:44||Tarnasky: Tripping - 2 min.|
|07:49||Cheechoo: Hooking - 2 min.|
|11:45||Marleau: Diving - 2 min.|
|15:32||Murray: Roughing - 2 min.|
|07:23||Murray: Fighting - 5 min.|
|07:23||Sarich: Fighting - 5 min.|
|14:46||Murray: Hooking - 2 min.|
|18:30||Clowe: Slashing - 2 min.|
|06:06||Kuba: Hooking - 2 min.|
|08:55||Fedotenko: Interference - 2 min.|
|11:37||Goc: Delay of Game - 2 min.|
|19:22||Cheechoo: Interference - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 19904|
|Game Time - 60:00|
|Referees - Dave Jackson, Greg Kimmerly|
|Line Judges - Jean Morin, Tony Sericolo|