San Jose Sharks Falter Late, Lose to Pittsburgh Penguins

Oct 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau (12) scores a goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Patrick Marleau (12) scores a goal against Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Jose Sharks failed to make an early statement. In a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals last season, three unanswered goals by the Penguins secured a 3-2 victory.

Patric Hornqvist appeared to have tied the game in the second period. Upon further review, his goal was taken away when determined he punched the puck in with his glove. He tried to make his case, but the refs had made their decision in the San Jose Sharks’ favor.

He would eventually find the back of the net for what would be the game-winner on the power play. Down two defensemen to start the third period, Pittsburgh rallied with three goals in a seven-minute, 15-second span to stun San Jose.

The rally began after Pittsburgh killed a San Jose penalty. Evgeni Malkin, who took the tripping penalty, put in a loose puck from the slot. A scramble had ensued in front of the Sharks’ net after failing to clear out the puck. With persistence and a little luck, the puck slid to Malkin in the slot, where he shot it by three Sharks’ players and goaltender Martin Jones.

Malkin’s goal was Pittsburgh’s 13th shot on net. San Jose already had 28 shots.

Persistence in the attacking zone prevailed again for the Penguins on Scott Wilson’s first goal of the season to tie the game. A battle along the boards was won by the Penguins’ Matt Cullen. With Wilson heading towards the net, Cullen fed a pass from the corner for Wilson to tap the puck by Jones.

San Jose had done an excellent job killing off Pittsburgh’s penalties, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s slashing penalty proved costly. The Sharks’ most effective defenseman could only watch from the penalty box as Hornqvist tapped in the winning goal.

For San Jose, failing to play 60 minutes of hockey allowed Pittsburgh to come back after being in control the first two periods.

After both teams exchanged scoring chances to begin the game, the Sharks’ began taking control. The transition game was clicking for the Sharks’ but the finish was not executed. Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall, keeping the game scoreless.

In the second period, a breakthrough came courtesy of the Sharks’ top line. A bad line change by the Penguins created open ice for the Sharks to take advantage. Brent Burns fed Joe Pavelski, who fired a shot on net. Fleury gave up a rebound where Tomas Hertl scooped up the loose puck to give the Sharks’ a 1-0 lead.

Prior to the goal, Fleury lost his goalie stick fending off a shot during a Sharks’ power play. Without a stick, Fleury was unable to make a play on Hertl to prevent the score. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was arguing that Fleury’s stick got knocked away, but the refs saw what occurred.

The Sharks’ caught a break after Hornqvist’s goal was disallowed. In what could have changed the momentum, the Sharks immediately regained control by taking a 2-0 lead. Patrick Marleau initiated a turnover in the neutral zone and would finish the play for his second goal of the season. He fed Logan Couture, starting a mini two-on-one into the Penguins zone. Marleau caught the pass from Couture to slip the puck by Fleury.

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Marleau’s tally was the 483rd of his career, putting him in a tie with Sergei Federov at 50th in career NHL goals.

Pittsburgh was playing short-handed towards the end of the second period when defensemen Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot suffered injuries. The two did not return to the bench to begin the third period. San Jose looked to take advantage of wearing down the remaining four Pittsburgh defensemen having to pull double shifts. However, the Penguins ended up turning the tables in the third, stealing a win.

Not only did Pittsburgh pull off a comeback against a talented San Jose team, the comeback was without a few players not dressed for them. Sidney Crosby remains out with a concussion. Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Conor Sheary suffered injuries against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Sharks outshot Pittsburgh 34-20 and even held them without a shot the first ten minutes in the second period. But the penalties in the third period ultimately allowed Pittsburgh back in the game. With Detroit up next to finish the road trip, San Jose needs to turn in a complete game.

Next: San Jose Sharks Defeat New York Islanders

With the late collapse, San Jose could not make an early statement in the season. Instead of leaving Pittsburgh with two points, the bitter taste remains after losing the final to the Penguins. The Sharks’ should learn from this defeat that 40 minutes of hockey does not get the job done.