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Pens no match for red hot Sharks
Tomas Hertl's 2nd career hat trick leads SJ
1/15/19 - By Mike Lee -

The next time someone in a Sharks sweater steps on SAP Center ice, it will be for the NHL All Star Game. That made Tuesday night's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins was all the more important. The Sharks played a complete game from horn to horn en route to a dominating 5-2 win over the Penguins. Pittsburgh entered the game with a 8-20 record in their last 10 games, but the Sharks have been equally hot. Tomas Hertl helped propel San Jose with his second career hat trick.

Hertl and Evander Kane were a force in this one, combining for 3 goals and 3 assists. Hertl couldn't miss the net, and Kane did everything but score. San Jose overcame an early deficit, and then went on a tear, putting 4 consecutive pucks past goaltender Matt Murray.

Kris Letang staked the Penguins to that 1-0 lead on a goal 10:17 into the contest. LEtang carried the puck up the middle of the ice than got a step on defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was caught flat-footed. The Penguins defenseman worked around Karlsson on the left wing then lifted a backhand chance over Martin Jones' left shoulder for the 1-0 lead.

Marcus Sorensen knotted the game at 1-1 less than 2 minutes later. Karlsson fired a knee-high shot from the right point with Sorensen parked in front of Murray. The Sharks forward tipped Karlsson's shot perfectly, redirecting it down and slightly to the left, putting it perfectly between Murray's pads for his 9th goal of the season.

Hertl scored the first of his three goals at 14:05 of the period, lifting a highlight reel effort from the just inside the right circle. Hertl fished the puck out of the right corner before shedding a check by Evgeni Malkin along the right wing boards. The Czech forward then circled back toward the net and undressed Jack Johnson with a deek to the left before snapping a shot that beat Murray.

Joe Thornton got in on the act in his 1000th game in a Sharks uniform. The big centerman stepped into a one-time feed from Joe Pavelski in the high slot, blasting a shot through traffic and into the Penguins net. Sorensen had just missed on a chance moments earlier, but the Sharks kept possession in the Pittsburgh zone. Pavelski threw the puck out of the left corner to Thornton, who uncharacteristically ripped the one-timer for his 10th goal of the season.

Hertl added his second goal of the night 2:06 into the 3rd period on a rebound from the doorstep. Justin Braun ripped a shot from the right point, but Murray made the initial save. The puck kicked out three feet, but Hertl used incredible hand-eye coordination to get his stick blade on the puck in the blink of an eye. The puck once again beat Murray through the 5-hole and pushed the Sharks lead to three goals.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan got creative and decided to pull Murray with more than 3 minutes left in regulation. Trailing by 3 goals, it seemed like a pointless move, but Derick Brassard scored with 1:50 left to pull within a pair of goals. Brassard snapped a wrist shot from the right dot that slipped between Jones and the right post.

Hertl left no doubt that a Penguins comeback was not to be when he finished his hat trick with an empty net goal late. Some of the 17,292 in the house tossed their lids on to the ice to celebrate Hertl's feat and the Sharks 7th consecutive win.

Game Notes:

* The Sharks extended their hot streak in 2019, having won seven straight to start the new year. In contrast, they were 4-1-2 last season to start January.

* Barclay Goodrow, Lukas Radil, Kevin Labanc and Malker Karlsson were the only Sharks skaters to finish with a negative plus/minus.

* In addition to his 3 assists, Evander Kane led the Sharks in shots with 6. Erik Karlsson added 4 shots.

* Tomas Hertl was also 11 of 19 from the faceoff circle (58%)

* San Jose had little time to celebrate the win over Pittsburgh, as they jumped on a plane headed for Phoenix. The Sharks have a quick turnaround as they play the Coyotes on Wednesday night.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
PIT 1 0 1 2
SJ 2 1 2 5
1st period - 1, PIT, Letang 11 (Dumoulin), 10:17. 2, SJ, Sorensen 9 (E. Karlsson, Dillon), 12:00. 3, SJ, Hertl 17 (Kane, Dillon), 14:05.
2nd period - 4, SJ, Thornton 10 (Pavelski, Simek), 3:39.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Hertl 18 (Braun, Kane), 2:06. 6, PIT, Brassard 8 (Pearson, Rust), 18:10. 7, SJ, Hertl 19 (Kane), 19:35, (en).
Penalties
1st period - Guentzal, PIT (hooking), 18:30.
2nd period - Donskoi, SJ (closing hand on puck), 14:52; Johnson, PIT (tripping), 19:26.
3rd period - Thornton, SJ (hooking), 9:44.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
PIT - Murray 28 24
PIT - empty net 1 0
SJ - Jones 24 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PIT 7 8 9 24
SJ 7 15 7 29
Power Play Conversion
PIT 0 of 2
SJ 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Tomas Hertl
Evander Kane
Brendan Dillon
Attendance
SAP Center - 17,292
Officials
Referees: Peel, Walsh. Linesmen: Gawryletz, Murchison.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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