With the Pittsburgh Penguins coming into their building, the Sharks had the opportunity to find some consistency on home ice and follow up the victory over Calgary with another win.
Despite their best efforts, they didn’t get the same bounces and chances that the visitors did in a 5-1 loss.
“When they go in for you, their great. When they don’t, (they’re not),” Joe Pavelski discussed the Pens’ opening two goals. “We kind of talked. It wasn’t going to beat us tonight. We just never really found a way to get that goal, goals that would have made it closer.”
Former Penguin Paul Martin agreed: “We created some of our own opportunities, had some chances to score some goals. We didn’t give up too much. So I think it’s a frustrating loss when you play pretty well and the score doesn’t really depict that.”
“I don’t think it was a 5-1 game,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “It was one of those nights. I thought — we kept working. We kept at it. I think the feeling on the bench was that, right up until the end, at the empty-netter, that we could still get back into the game. So I liked that aspect of it.”
Not to say that Pittsburgh won on sheer luck. On top of Evgeni Malkins three points (1g, 2a) on the evening, the Pens’ defense in-front of Marc-Andre Fleury fought off San Jose’s constant drive to put the puck in the back of the net. “There were some rebounds there that (Fleury) kicked out, and we had some second chance opportunities,” Martin said. “But it seemed like they were always there to whack it into the corner, and make us start over.”
The game had a great pace right from the start of the first frame. The only marker in the opening 20 minutes was Phil Kessel’s odd goal, where the puck skipped over Jones’ right skate and skipped up to the top of the net.
San Jose was on fire right at the start the second stanza, but it was Matt Cullen who converted, echoing Kessel’s weird goal and squeaking the puck past Jones’ right skate blade to give the visitors the 2-0 advantage. Not two minutes later Malkin found the back of the net, putting the Sharks in the 3-0 hole.
Things got chippy in the second after Beau Bennett checked Justin Braun hard into the boards to put the Sharks on the power play that produced the Sharks’ first goal on the evening.
The intensity went up not long after Patrick Marleau notched the power play goal at 15:35, when an apparent goal by Tomas Hertl was waived off for incidental “goalie interference” on linemate Tommy Wingels. “It’s tough, (when you have) a big shift there and you think you have the goal,” Wingels said afterward. “It is what it is … and we live with it.”
San Jose didn’t appear to move on from it on the ice however, as tempers flared at the end of the second frame — even Hertl got angry, trading in his signature smile and dimples for an angry glare. Then just before the frame expired, Sidney Crosby shoved Pavelski from behind, fueling a full-on dog pile right by the Sharks’ bench.
That heated nature carried over past the intermission. But despite the continued momentum and work that San Jose put in in the third to get that second goal back on the board, it was the Penguins with the power play goal from David Perron, then put the nail in the coffin with an empty-netter with 4:06 left in the game.
“Pittsburgh was hungry tonight,” DeBoer said. “You’ve got to give them some credit for coming in here and getting the job done.”