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Bad bounces sink Sharks early
Pittsburgh rolls Sharks from odd angles
12/1/15 - By Mike Lee -

There's something to be said about intestinal fortitude. Unfortunately for San Jose, they didn't have it on Tuesday night as the Pittburgh Penguins came calling. The Penguins were the benefactors of a couple of fortuitous bounces, but when a would be San Jose goal was waved off in the 2nd period, the Sharks packed it in and left the 13,000 plus in attendance to wallow in another home loss.

And so it goes for San Jose at home this season. The Sharks fell to 4-7-0 with a 5-1 loss to the Penguins. The most troubling thing to come from the loss was all the rhetoric from the Sharks on how the loss didn't feel like a 5-1 drubbing.

"I don't think it was a 5-1 game," said Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer. "Having said that, they did what they had to win. From the fist goal, there were a couple of goals you won't see in a month. Three of them were scored from behind the goal line."

"We had some chances to score some goals," said defenseman Paul Martin. "We didn't give up too much, so it's a frustrating loss when you play well, but the score doesn't reflect that."

Paint it anyway you want, but 4-goal losses are typically a reflection of a lopsided game. This one tilted in the wrong direction from the get go.

Phil Kessel started things rolling for Pittsburgh 2:30 into the game, by whipping around the back of the net from right to left than throwing a puck that deflected off Paul Martin, then bounced off the back of goaltender Martin Jones' leg and into the Sharks goal.

Matt Cullen made it a 2-0 game 4:40 into the 2nd period when he bounced a shot off the back of Jone's right pad from behind the Sharks goal. Again, another unlucky deflection, but the fact is Cullen beat Paul Martin and Tomas Hertl to a loose puck after Brent Burns made the misguided decision to try and block a shot by leaving his feet to slide in front of a Brian Dumoulin shot. Cullen had one option, which was to throw the puck at Jones, and by doing so, it netted the Penguins a goal. Jones didn't help matters by creating a gap between himself and the left post, which was all the room Cullen needed.

Evgeni Malkin took advantage of Martin less than two minutes later, easily beating the flat-footed defenseman around the left side of the net and wrapping the puck around the opposite side of the goal for the 3-0 lead. Jones seemed to be pinned to the left post which prevented any opposition to Malkin's shot.

A Beau Bennett roughing penalty opened up an opportunity for the Sharks late in the period. Patrick Marleau took advantage by scoring his 10th goal of the season one a one-time chance off a back pass from Joe Pavelski. Marleau floated down the left side of the slot, trailing Pavelski who drew the defense over to the right side. The goal was the only thing that tarnished goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's 33 save night.

Hertl appeared to cut the Penguins lead to a single goal seconds later, but referee Eric Furlatt immediately waved off the goal. DeBoer challenged the ruling on the ice, but replays confirmed that Tommy Wingels came into contact with Fleury, negating the goal because of interference.

Had the goal stood, the Sharks would have benefited from a huge swing in momentum, and a little energy that was absent from the building. Instead, the decision to overturn Hertl's tally took the life out of the Sharks. They never threatened from that point on.

The Penguins had a crack on the power play 6 minutes into the 3rd period when the Sharks were whistled for too many men. David Perron redirected a Bennett feed from the left corner, skating across the top of the crease while three Shark defenders stood motionless around their own net.

For whatever reason, DeBoer elected to pull Jones with 5 minutes remaining in the game. That resulted in a gimme goal for Kessel who carried a Malkin feed half the length of the ice at three-quarter speed, walking the puck into the open net.

"Energy wise it was a pretty good start," said Sharks captain Joe Pavelski. "We felt like we were on them, we had the puck. We were making a few plays. The first couple were like, the bounces when they go in for you are great, when they don't it kid of tough. We talked that we weren't going to let them [the goals] beat us."

Game Notes:

Justin Braun returned to the ice after missing two games with an infection in his left elbow.

The Sharks honored Patrick Marleau for his 1000th career point with a ceremony before the opening faceoff. Marleau was joined on the ice by his four sons.


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1 2 3 T
PIT 1 2 2 5
SJ 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, PIT, Kessel 8 (Malkin, Perron), 2:30.
2nd period - 2, PIT, Cullen 2 (Dumoulin, Fehr), 4:40. 3, PIT, Malkin 12 (Kunitz), 6:35. 4, SJ, Marleau 10 (Pavelski, Ward), 15:35, (pp).
3rd period - 5, PIT, Perron 4 (Kunitz, Bennett), 8:42, (pp). 6, PIT, Kessel 9 (Malkin, Cole), 15:54, (en).
1st period - Braun, SJ (hooking), 4:33.
2nd period - Malkin, PIT (hooking), 0:56; Bennett, PIT (roughing), 14:30; Crosby, PIT (roughing), 19:09; Pavelski, SJ (roughing), 19:09.
3rd period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 6:51; Cole, PIT (tripping), 11:13.
Shots Saves
PIT - Fleury 34 33
SJ - Jones 28 24
SJ - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PIT 13 7 9 29
SJ 12 8 14 34
Power Play Conversion
PIT 1 of 2
SJ 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Evgeni Malkin
Chris Kunitz
Phil Kessel
Referees: Leggo, Furlatt. Linesmen: Heyer, Mach.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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