Dec 5, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) backhands the puck past San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) for a goal during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

San Jose Sharks Flounder In 5-1 Loss To Penguins

This evening at the Consol Energy Center the Pittsburgh Penguins (20-9-1, 41 points) defeated the San Jose Sharks (19-4-5, 43 points) by the final score of 5-1. The loss ends San Jose’s six-game win streak and puts them at an even 1-1-0 on this four-game road trip.

The biggest lineup adjustment was not on the Sharks but the Penguins, who were without second-line center and NHL assist leader Evgeni Malkin this evening. He was out with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. The Penguins did not seem to miss him too much, though, as they put plenty of pucks in the net tonight.

We start in the second period which was a back-and-forth affair with plenty of shots to go around; 41 in fact, as the Sharks outshot the Penguins 24-17. But, despite outshooting Pittsburgh, the Sharks allowed four goal in the first seven minutes of the period before finally netting one of their own. The good news was the Sharks had plenty of chances, however they were unable to capitalize like the Penguins were.

Pittsburgh’s goals, which were scored by Pascal Dupuis, Jayson Megna and a pair by Chris Kunitz, came of off sloppy defensive play. It was hard to fault Antti Niemi on any of them and perhaps that is why San Jose’s coaching staff decided to leave him in for the rest of the period before going to Alex Stalock to start the third.

The Sharks’ lone goal was scored by Tomas Hertl after he just threw the puck at the net and got a fortuitous bounce that saw the puck go five-hole on Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and in. Other than that though, Fleury was the best player on the ice in the period and was a major reason his team took a 4-1 lead into the locker room.

In the third period the Penguins struck again, this time with a goal by Kris Letang on a shot from the point, and that pretty much quelled any thoughts the Sharks had of a comeback. Stalock looked as if he did not see the puck and by the time re realized where it was it was behind him in the net. At that point you could see the Sharks’ pace slow down a bit and from then on Pittsburgh hit cruise control all the way to their 5-1 victory.

The San Jose Sharks will now look to move on quickly from this loss as they head to Carolina for the second game of a back-to-back against the Hurricanes tomorrow night.

GGS 3 Stars
1. Marc-Andre Fleury (44 saves)
2. Chris Kunitz (2 goals)
3. Sidney Crosby (3 assists)

Tags: Alex Stalock Antti Niemi San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl

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