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Sharks use wild 3rd to upend Penguins
San Jose scores 4 goals in the final period
3/6/14 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks slept-walked through the first 40 minutes of Thursday night's marquee matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins at SAP Center, then turned on the jets in a wild 3rd period to shock the Penguins with a crazy 5-3 win. The Sharks scored 4 goals in the final period to avenge a 5-1 loss to the Penguins in early December. Brent Burns scored a pair of goals and Joe Pavelski added three assists to lead San Jose.

* Urgency was not at the top of the Sharks agenda early in the contest. San Jose stumbled through a contentious opening 10 minutes without conceding any goals, but they would pay for the lack of focus later in the period.

* Rookie forward Olli Maatta scored the first of his two goals at 15:09 of the opening period. San Jose failed to clear the zone against the Penguins 4th line, who positioned things for a Tanner Glass shot from the high slot. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi made the pad save, but kicked the puck out to the top of the slot where Maatta was lurking for the put back goal.

* Burns took a penalty of the brainless variety, roughing Rob Scuderi with a series of cross checks to the Penguins defenseman who had fallen to the ice. Chris Kunitz scored his 13th power play goal of the season on the ensuing man-advantage, one-timing an Evgeni Malkin feed from the right corner. Malkin and James Neal outmanned Scott Hannan who was trying to dig the puck out of the corner. Malkin grabbed the loose puck and sent a pass to the front of the net where Kunitz put a shot past Niemi for his 29th tally of the year.

* San Jose failed to get much pressure on Penguins backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff until late in the 2nd period. Justin Braun threw the puck to the front of the net from the right wing boards. The puck bounced off something and slipped past Zatkoff for the Sharks first goal. The goal was originally credited to Adam Burish, but the official scorekeeper shifted it to Braun. The goal came with 2:17 left in the period and seemed to jumpstart San Jose.

* Brooks Orpik was sent off for slashing with 58 seconds left in the period as the Sharks began to pick up the pace. The penalty carried over to the 3rd period, but San Jose failed to convert. They would go scoreless on 4 power play chances throughout the evening.

* Matt Nieto almost slit his own team's wrists by taking a double minor for high sticking Simon Despres 2:26 into the 3rd period, but his teammates bailed him out. Jason Demers stepped in front of a cross-ice pass attempt by the Penguins. Demers then pushed the puck up ice to Patrick Marleau who took on Malkin in a 1-on-1 race up the ice. Malkin had clear position on Marleau, but the Sharks centerman faked left and cut back to his right, getting around the Russian forward enough to put a backhand shot past Zatkoff. The short-handed goal was the 16th of Marleau's career.

* Maatta quickly subdued the crowd with his 2nd goal while Nieto was still parked in the penalty box. Pittsburgh went back to the pass through the slot from right to left, exposing Niemi's right side. Maatta took a feed from Brandon Sutter before snapping home his 9th goal of the season past Niemi.

* San Jose tied it back up less than 2 minutes later when Thornton slid a pass to Pavelski along the end boards, who then sent a centering feed to Burns in the slot for the one-time chance that beat Zatkoff. Pavelski placed a perfect pass on Burns' tape as the converted defenseman split two Pittsburgh defenders.

* Thornton would score what turned out to be the game winning goal at 14:21 of the period in peculiar fashion. Pavelski kicked the puck up the left wing boards where Thornton was lurking. The Sharks captain grabbed the puck, crossed the blueline and appeared to just soft toss the puck at the net from 90 feet out. The puck may have been partially deflected by Maatta, but in any case, it knuckled on Zatkoff who failed to stop it from hitting twine for the 4-3 Sharks lead.

* Marleau should have been credited with a goal in the final minute after he was hauled down as he skated the puck toward an empty net. Had he not been impeded, Marleau would have easily scored an empty-net goal, but the on-ice officials failed to credit him as they should have done by rule.

* Burns added a cherry on top of the 3rd period treat when he snapped a shot into the open net from the right wing boards.

* Penguins captain Sydney Crosby was held scoreless, but more importantly he was on the ice for all 5 Sharks goals. I was the first time the NHL's scoring leader recorded a -5 in his career.

Post Game Quotables:

Head Coach Todd McLellan: "I thought that's as physical as we've played in a while. We were really engaged. And it's not about running out of position and big hits. It's about body position, playing on the inside, knocking people off 50-50 pucks, playing around the opposition's net, even in front of the net. It's nice to get rewarded for that type of effort."

Patrick Marleau: "It is really good, and we have to build off it for sure. I think that was probably one of our better second periods, especially with the physicality we had. We were able to hem them in a little bit. It feels good when you play that way-- you want to bottle it up and keep playing that way. It's a hard way to play, but we go get some rest, take care of ourselves, and keep replicating it."

Raffi Torres: "I think tonight was a solid team effort. This is how you become a team; this is how you start knowing that you can win these kind of games against teams like that. Everybody was in, four lines, six d. Ultimately, our top guys were good tonight, real good, and that's how we're going to win games. Guys like myself and Sheppard and kind of the supporting cast need to create some energy for these guys so that they can get some room out there. And they showed it tonight."

Jason Demers: "It was awesome. It's fun to come to the rink to play a game like that. It was playoff hockey. It was hard, it was dirty, it was everything. I think the refs managed it well. They made a lot of good calls and they let it go when they should, and both teams played hard. Their goalie played great. I think both team just played great games, and we came out on top."

Head Coach Dan Bylsma: "They play not only a physical game but a fast game and I think it's something that they counter quickly. They play that type of game. We just weren't able to negate that by playing back in the other end."

Chris Kunitz: "Early in the game we had enough going the other way where we were able to get some momentum ourselves. As the game wore on they just took it over, and we were hanging on and they eventually score."

Sidney Crosby: "They got a big goal there on their penalty kill. And that was a big boost, I'm sure. But they we got the lead back shortly after and then when they tied it 3-3 they seemed to come pretty hard after that. I think the whole second half of the game we were on our heels a bit."


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1 2 3 T
PIT 2 0 1 3
SJ 0 1 4 5
1st period - 1, PIT, Maatta 8 (Glass, Goc), 15:09. 2, PIT, Kunitz 29 (Malkin), 16:21, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Braun 4 (Wingels, Desjardins), 17:43.
3rd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 26 (Demers), 5:18, (sh). 5, PIT, Maatta 9 (Sutter, Jokinen), 5:39, (pp). 6, SJ, Burns 16 (Pavelski, Thornton), 6:52. 7, SJ, Thornton 9 (Pavelski), 14:21. 8, SJ, Burns 17 (Pavelski, Vlasic), 19:57, (en).
1st period - Jokinen, PIT (hooking), 9:11; Burns, SJ (roughing), 15:40.
2nd period - Irwin, SJ (hooking), 1:55; Glass, PIT (hooking), 4:30; Goc, PIT (diving), 9:20; Hannan, SJ (interference), 9:20; Orpik, PIT (slashing), 19:02.
3rd period - Nieto, SJ (high sticking - double minor), 2:26; Jokinen, PIT (holding), 7:34.
Shots Saves
PIT - Zatkoff 46 42
PIT - empty net 1 0
SJ - Niemi 22 19
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
PIT 10 8 4 22
SJ 13 18 16 47
Power Play Conversion
PIT 2 of 4
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Brent Burns
Olli Maatta
Referees: Joanette, Rooney. Linesmen: Galloway, Heyer.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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