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Squandered chances cost Sharks
Penguins take 2-1 overtime decision
1/15/2022 - By Mike Lee

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.

Perhaps 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 capialize.

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 against Domingue.

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.

Game Notes:

* 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.


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Scoring
1 2 3 OT T
PIT 1 0 0 1 2
SJ 1 0 0 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Balcers 3 (Karlsson, Meier), 7:01. 2, PIT, Letang 3 (Guentzel, Blueger), 10:56.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - 3, PIT, Guentzel 19 (Crosby, Letang), 0:37.
Penalties
1st period - Balcers, SJ (high sticking), 12:48.
2nd period - Guentzel, PIT (high sticking - double minor), 18:50.
3rd period - Pettersson, PIT (interference), 9:58; Pettersson, PIT (cross checking), 14:36.
Overtime - None.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
PIT - Domingue 41 40
SJ - Hill 27 25
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
PIT 4 8 14 1 27
SJ 11 17 13 0 41
Power Play Conversion
PIT 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Louis Domingue
Jake Guentzel
Adin Hill
Attendance
SAP Center - 13,686
Officials
Referees: #46 Brandon Schrader, #19 Gord Dwyer. Linesmen: #91 Ben O'Quinn, #58 Ryan Gibbons .





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