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Pavelski's first career hat trick sends Sharks back home from Tampa with smiles

Joe Pavelski came up big in Tampa Bay today, scoring three goals in the second period to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead they wouldn't lose.
Joe Pavelski came up big in Tampa Bay today, scoring three goals in the second period to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead they wouldn't lose.
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks just went 3-0 on their latest road trip, thanks to Joe Pavelski's timely hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning today.

Martin St. Louis scored four goals in the first 22:07 of the game today to give the hosts a 4-2 lead on the visiting Sharks. But Pavelski responded with three straight goals, in the span of 6:12, to give San Jose a one-goal lead heading into the third period.

And the Sharks held this time, surrendering only six shots on goal in the final 20 minutes to secure the 5-4 win.

With the road victory, San Jose finished its three-game sweep of Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay away from home, and the Sharks pushed their overall record to 31-12-6 this season.

San Jose has 68 points in 49 games, the fourth-best total in the Western Conference. They are 15-10-3 now away from the SAP Center.

For Pavelski, it was his first career hat trick. His first two goals came 21 seconds apart, and on Little Joe's game-winning shot with one minute left in the second frame, Joe Thornton collected his 1,170th career point -- that ties him with Bobby Hull on the all-time scoring list.

Now, the Sharks come home for four straight in San Jose, where they've been pretty darn good this year, posting a 16-2-3 record in front of their loyal fans. The two regulation losses are the second-lowest total in the NHL this year, as the Pacific Division leaders in Anaheim have yet to lose a home game this year in regulation.

On Monday, San Jose will host the Calgary Flames (16-26-6), before they play another three games in five days, starting Thursday -- Winnipeg (22-23-5), Minnesota (26-19-5) on Saturday and Los Angeles (29-14-5) the following Monday on national television.

NBCSN will cover that game against the Kings, and no one likes the spotlight more than Little Joe, that's for sure.

He earned with this game today against Tampa Bay, and he'll look for more in the next four games at home for the Sharks.