The good news is the Sharks didn't give up six
1st period goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night like they did in
Pennsylvania two weeks ago. The bad news is they squandered 4 power play
chances and a 41-shot night, dropping a 2-1 decision in overtime to the
Penguins at SAP Center.
The game was a marked improvement over the
pasting they took in Pittsburgh on January 2nd. The Sharks actually looked like
the better team in an up-tempo 1st period, but the Penguins kept the game close
and capitalized on Shark mistakes.
It was a tough result for Adin
Hill, who stopped 25 shots, but it was a far cry from the 8 goals San Jose
surrendered to the Pens earlier this month. Pittsburgh played a more
disciplined game, their 5th on their current 6-game road trip.
some tired legs prevented the Penguins from truly unloading on the Sharks, but
San Jose's inability to put pucks past goaltender Louie Domingue prevented them
from taking advantage of any Penguins fatigue.
Rudolfs Balcers scored
his 1st goal since November 6th, when he redirected a fantastic Erik Karlsson
feed 7:01 into the game. Timo Meier threw the puck into the Penguins zone,
along the right wing boards where Karlsson grabbed it as he was spinning in a
clock-wise direction off the boards. Karlsson continued his rotation and threw
a blind pass 80 feet to the front of the net where Balcers lifted it past
Domingue for his 3rd goal of the season.
Kris Letang answered 4
minutes later, when he raced around Mario Ferraro on the right wing, then raced
in an put a deek on Adin Hill before sliding it past the netminder's right
skate. The Sharks had controlled the first 10 minutes of the game, holding the
Penguins to a single shot on goal, but a defensive lapse allowed Letang to
San Jose would out-shoot Pittsburgh 11-4 in the period, but
sat square with them 1-1 after 20 minutes. They added another 17 shots in the
2nd period to take a 28-12 advantage, but could not get anything past Domingue.
Jake Guentzel cut Jonathan Dahlen with a high stick with 70 second
left in the 2nd period, putting the Sharks on the power play for 4 minutes. The
penalty would carry over into the 3rd period, where San Jose 2:50 of power play
time, but the Sharks squandered the chance.
Adding to the Sharks
special teams woes, Pittsburgh actually had the two best scoring chances on the
4-minute minor penalty.
Marcus Pettersson hauled down Matt Nieto on a
Sharks break to draw another penalty at 9:58 of the 3rd period. As was the case
to start the period, the Sharks special teams could generate no serious chances
The Sharks won two faceoffs in the overtime, but a
push in the Penguins zone ended up in the net when Noah Gregor sent a shot
wide. Gregor handed the puck to Pittsburgh off the second faceff, and that
proved to be the kiss of death.
Sydney Crosby crossed up the Sharks
defense after they gained the zone, catching Timo Meier who was out of
position. The Penguins captain slid a pass to Guentzel who was parked between
Meier and the Sharks net. With inside position, there was nothing the Sharks
forward could do to prevent Guentzel from tapping home Crosby's feed.
It was one of many miscues by the Sharks, but it proved to be the fatal one.
* Bryan Rust, one of the two Penguins who
recorded hat tricks against the Sharks two weeks ago did not play as he is on
the NHL's COVID protocol list.
* James Reimer returned to the lineup,
although he served as Adin Hill's backup. Reimer suffered a lower body injury
which cost him 4 games.
* TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported that the Sharks
are prepared to offer forward Tomas Hertl a contract that extends beyond this
season. Hertl's current contract expires at the conclusion of the Sharks
season. No reports on the term or amount yet.
* Noah Gregor and Hertl
combined for 13 of the Sharks 41 shots.
* The Sharks tried to kick
start their power play by pairing Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson when the Sharks
have the mad advantage. The strategy was a fruitless one, as the Sharks
migrated back to a point-shot approach that the Penguins easily defended.