- Associated Press - Sunday, December 6, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Steven Stamkos found himself on the penalty kill for the first time this season. He threw himself into it, literally, to help stave off a late rush.

Nikita Kucherov scored twice and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Saturday night.

“We need guys like Kuch to step up and he did tonight,” Stamkos said. “It wasn’t a pretty win by any means but we got the two points.”

Erik Condra and Brian Boyle also scored for the Lightning, who have won five of seven.

Ben Bishop, who stopped 24 of 26 shots en route to his fifth win in six starts, left the ice with 11:10 remaining to play after taking a stick to his mask. He has a small cut near his eye but is OK. Andrei Vasilevskiy saved six of eight shots he faced.

The win came a day after Lightning coach Jon Cooper signed a multi-year contract extension.

Stamkos, a center playing on the wing the past few games, made a couple of body stops as the Sharks drew within one with four minutes to play and a new goalie in the net.

“You get a couple of penalty kills and you get your adrenaline going,” Stamkos said. “With all the penalties, we didn’t completely do the job but we did have some big kills. Vasey get thrown into the fire and makes some big saves for us.”

Matt Tennyson, Joel Ward and Brett Burns each scored a power-play goal for the Sharks, who continue to struggle at home. They’ve lost five of six and fell to 4-8 on their home ice. Alex Stalock finished with 16 saves.

“In the first period we only gave them six shots but spotted them two goals,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “When you do that, you’re going to be in trouble. We fought back, but it was too little, too late.”

Kucherov gave Tampa Bay the lead just over 3 minutes into the game following a Sharks turnover in their own end. Victor Hedman took the puck away along the boards and tapped it to Kucherov, who skated into scoring position.

Condra scored midway through the first period when Andrej Sustr’s sharp pass hit off his skate and into the net. The Lightning entered the game with 11 first-period goals, second-fewest in the league.

Tennyson put the Sharks on the board in the second period with a slap shot that beat Bishop to the glove side, ended his 29-game goal-scoring drought.

Kucherov responded with a power-play goal less than 3 minutes later.

Boyle gave the Lightning a 4-1 lead early in the third period when Stalock lost sight of the puck. It broke free from his grasp and Boyle scored easily as Stalock had his back turned.

Ward redirected Burns shot to make it 4-2 and then Burns scored soon after to make things interesting.

“You look at the positives. We killed off five penalties,” Cooper said. “Stamkos is not usually on the PK but he’s doing it. A lot of guys are doping things they don’t normally do. We are going to have to grind this season out. We have no margin for error.”

NOTES: Sharks D Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the game with a lower body injury. … Lightning C Tyler Johnson missed his third straight and sixth in eight games with an undisclosed injury. … The Sharks have scored a power-play goal in six of their last seven after scoring in five of their first 20. … The Lightning improved to 5-0 against the Pacific Division and have outscored it 16-6. … Tampa Bay has allowed one first-period goal in its past eight games. … The Sharks travel to Calgary to play the Flames on Tuesday. … The Lightning play at the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

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