Skip to main content

Malkin, Kessel power Penguins past Sharks

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com

SAN JOSE -- It took the Pittsburgh Penguins more than 18 years, but they finally found a way to defeat the San Jose Sharks again at SAP Center.

Phil Kessel scored two goals, Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists, and the Penguins won 5-1 against the Sharks on Tuesday. It was Pittsburgh's first victory in San Jose since Oct. 22, 1997.

The Penguins (14-8-2) established a season high for goals to earn a split of the two-game season series with the Sharks, avenging a 3-1 loss at Consol Energy Center on Nov. 21.

"It's good when you can start to score like that," Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said. "They're a very good hockey team, San Jose. I know they had a middle portion to the start of this season where they kind of stumbled, but ever since we saw them in Pittsburgh and their road trip, they've been playing really well. They look like one of the better teams we've faced.

"They're dangerous at home, as everybody knows. I think it was 1997 the last win in here. It's a long time. It's a tough building to win in. I know when I was in the West, it's always a tough building to play in."

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves, and Matt Cullen and David Perron also scored.

Malkin has five goals during a four-game goal streak; he has three assists in those games.

Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks (14-10-0), who are 4-7-0 at home.

"Pittsburgh was hungry tonight," San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. "You've got to give them some credit for coming in here and getting the job done."

Kessel gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 2:30 of the first period with his eighth goal. He skated right to left behind the net and sent a sharp-angled shot that bounced off former Penguins defenseman Paul Martin's skate, and then ricocheted off goaltender Martin Jones' right skate and over his shoulder into the net.

"That was puck luck for sure," Kessel said. "It hit off a guy twice. That was puck luck there."

The Penguins extended their lead to 3-0 with goals 1:55 apart by Cullen and Malkin in the second period.

Cullen's shot from below the goal line bounced off of Jones' left skate and into the net at 4:40 for his second goal of the season.

"I thought the first one was tough off my skate, but no excuses," Martin said. "We created some opportunities to score. It's frustrating when you think you play well and you don't think it's a 5-1 game. There were some rebounds, some second-chance opportunities, but it seemed like they were always there to slap it into the corner and make us start all over again."

Malkin scored his 12th goal at 6:35 on a wraparound, skating past Martin and beating Jones, who was out of position. He scored one shift after getting hit in the face with the butt end of Sharks forward Joel Ward's stick after a faceoff at center ice.

"We're not even talking about it, his goal, but it's another highlight reel at a key time," Perron said of Malkin's goal. "That's right up there with the last two unreal goals he had. It's amazing. He's feeling it right now. We have to give him the puck every single time."

Malkin has eight goals and five assists in his past seven games.

"It's something I've seen over the years," Fleury said. "He's finding his rhythm. It's fun to see him go like that."

Marleau cut Pittsburgh's lead to 3-1 at 15:35 of the second on the power play, taking a slick pass from captain Joe Pavelski in the slot and beating Fleury for his 10th goal.

Sharks center Tomas Hertl put a rebound past Fleury at 15:52, but the goal was immediately waved off because of goaltender interference on Tommy Wingels. DeBoer challenged the ruling, but video review upheld the call on the ice.

"It's tough," Wingels said. "You think you've got a goal, but you don't."

Perron made it 4-1 at 8:42 of the third period with a power-play goal. He took a pass from Chris Kunitz and beat Jones from close range. It was Kunitz's second assist of the game.

Kessel scored an empty-net goal at 15:54, increasing the Penguins lead to 5-1.

Pittsburgh reunited Sidney Crosby, Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on its top line. Kunitz moved up from the third line and traded places with Patric Hornqvist, who skated with center Nick Bonino and Beau Bennett.

Dupuis did not play in the third period.

"He wasn't feeling well at the end of the second, so they came in and told me he wasn't feeling well and they were taking him out of the game," said Johnston, who was waiting for an update.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun (left elbow infection/surgery) was activated from injured reserve before the game and was in the lineup, replacing Matt Tennyson and skating with Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Braun missed two games.

Defenseman David Warsofsky made his Penguins debut, skating with Ian Cole.

View More