PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins faced a penalty kill for the final 3:49 of overtime against the San Jose Sharks. They successfully killed the long power play, in what might have been one of the signature moments of their season.
Each team failed to convert on a late power play in the third period. But the Sharks were given a 4-on-3 advantage 1:11 into overtime when Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist was assessed a double minor for high-sticking San Jose defenseman Brent Burns.
The Sharks had several chances during the long power play but couldn't get anything past Fleury.
"My thoughts were, we had an awfully long penalty kill against a very good team," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "Our penalty-killers, I give them a lot of credit. First, they prepare well. So, we knew what San Jose was going to do if there was a 4-on-3. I didn't know if they were going to pull their goaltender to make it 5-on-3, so we were thinking about that. And they were prepared.
"I just think they executed really well."
Perron, who returned after missing one game with an illness, beat goalie Alex Stalock with a backhand shot to start the tiebreaker. Crosby sent a wrist shot past Stalock to start the second round, and Sharks forward Logan Couture's attempt hit the post, ending the game.
"They took a lot away [on the final power play], but you have to score. You have to find a way to score," Couture said. "We know the importance of that game and we have to score on that four-minute power play … I thought I had [Fleury in the shootout]. I got a good shot off. Shot just about where I wanted to, it was just about a half an inch too high.
"It's been that type of year for me. So, it's a tough one."
Pittsburgh (42-23-11) is second in the Metropolitan Division; the Penguins and New York Islanders each have 95 points but Pittsburgh has a game in hand. The Penguins won two games in two days and are nine points ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who are three points behind the Boston Bruins for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
The Sharks (37-30-9) got one point in the finale of a seven-game road trip. They are six points behind the Calgary Flames, who are in third place in the Pacific Division, and seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets, who hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.
"[The players] are going to keep playing. They're proud players," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said. "I keep telling you, we go until somebody tells us we can't go anymore and that's the attitude they've taken. Will it continue? I expect it to. We're not out of it yet. We're still not out of it.
"There's people probably watching and reading, going 'This guy's nuts.' But who knows? We'll see."
The Penguins scored two goals 56 seconds apart and carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Daniel Winnik collected the puck behind the San Jose net and sent it in front of the crease for Hornqvist, whose soft wrist shot bounced off Stalock's pads. But the rebound came back to Hornqvist, who backhanded it past a prone Stalock at 7:08.
Hornqvist, who returned Saturday after missing five games because of an undisclosed injury, is third on the Penguins with 24 goals, four behind Evgeni Malkin and one behind Crosby.
"Obviously, we're on the right track," Hornqvist said. "We're winning games. Last month, we probably lose these kind of games, but it feels good to win these kind of games and obviously, that builds some confidence too."
Chris Kunitz quickly made it 2-0. With Sharks defenseman Taylor Fedun in the penalty box for hooking, defenseman Derrick Pouliot sent a cross-ice pass to Crosby at the top of the right circle while falling. Crosby fed a pass to the left of the net, where Kunitz tipped the puck Stalock at 8:04 for his first goal since Feb. 25.
"I don't know if he cracked a smile. I think he was more relieved," Crosby said. "But I think there will be many more here to follow. Once you get that first one, it takes a lot of weight off your shoulders and he had a great game today, regardless of the goal. He played really well and did a lot of things all over the ice, so it's nice to see him get rewarded with that goal."
The Sharks answered with two goals in the second period. Shortly after Stalock robbed Malkin, Ben Smith scored at 6:44 to cut Pittsburgh's lead in half. Defenseman Justin Braun fired a slap shot into traffic in front of Fleury; Smith outbattled defenseman Ian Cole for position and deflected Braun's shot under Fleury's glove.
Couture tied the game at 15:38 with a power-play goal. Patrick Marleau carried the puck into the offensive zone and slipped it to Couture directly ahead, sending him in alone on Fleury. His wrist shot hit the top of Fleury's right pad and trickled into the net. It was Couture's 25th goal; he's second on the Sharks, 11 behind Joe Pavelski.
Getting a point in a game they trailed 2-0 was an achievement for the Sharks. But they were more concerned about the point that slipped away.
"We fell down 2-0 and they got on the power play and we could have sat back and let them play," Stalock said. "But down 2-0 going into the second, it showed the character in this room to come back and we wanted these two points tonight. It stings."