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Sharks 3, Penguins 2 @NHLdotcom

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -The San Jose Sharks figured they could wear down Pittsburgh and its talented young offensive trio with physical play all over the ice.

Both teams had to be exhausted after this body-slamming night of hockey.

Kyle McLaren had a goal and an assist and the Sharks kept Pittsburgh rookie Evgeni Malkin from scoring in his seventh straight game to start his career, beating the Penguins 3-2 on Saturday night.

"I don't care who we're playing against or what, my role is banging the body," McLaren said. "With skilled players, you need to finish your checks. It doesn't need to be a bone-crushing check but you have to finish it."

Matt Carle and Mike Grier also had goals, and Joe Thornton added three assists as San Jose snapped the Penguins' five-game winning streak and ended Pittsburgh's stretch of four straight road victories to start the season.

The Sharks overcame the ejection of right winger Jonathan Cheechoo just 1:03 into a penalty-filled game that was uncommonly testy considering the teams rarely play each other and aren't rivals.

Sharks coach Ron Wilson was disgusted with the officiating, especially the ejection of Cheechoo. Wilson called for more communication between referees and linesmen.

"That always comes as a shock," Wilson said. "You're not prepared to lose a player like Cheech right off the bat. ... I wish when making these kind of critical decisions in this league, why can't one referee ask the other what he saw before you say you're kicking a guy out or you're disallowing a goal. I've never understood that.

"I mean, I don't stand on the bench and always make decisions just on my own. If I'm confused I ask my assistants."

Malkin, the rookie of the month for October who had scored in each of his first six NHL games, was trying to become the first player with goals in the first seven games of his career. Nobody has accomplished the feat in seven games to start a season since 1992-93, when Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux began with a 12-game streak.

"He's a nice player," Thornton said of Malkin. "It's good to keep him off the board. That could have been the difference."

Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal - the Penguins' top young players - had little impact.

"The Sharks just stopped my scoring streak," Malkin said through a translator. "It was hard to play against San Jose because they're a really tough team. It was hard for me to take a shot."

Pittsburgh was on its best winning streak since getting six straight victories from Jan. 17-26, 2002, but the Penguins have had trouble in recent years on the road against the Sharks. They are 0-6-1 in San Jose since a win on Oct. 22, 1997.

This was the third game of a four-game trip that had a stop in Los Angeles and concludes Monday at Anaheim.

There were 15 penalties, 10 in the first period when the teams briefly played 3-on-3. Each team had a goal waved off, too, because of infractions that happened before the puck found the net. The sellout crowd of 17,496 booed loudly when the buzzer finally sounded to end the long opening period, then again when the officials skated out before the second.

McLaren - whose earlier goal was disallowed - made his second opportunity count, scoring on the rebound one minute into the second. He passed to Joe Thornton, who fired a shot that rebounded off Marc-Andre Fleury's chest. McLaren charged in and backhanded in a chip shot while using only one arm, marking the first time in his career he's scored in consecutive games.

Pittsburgh's Michel Ouellet tied it at 7:20 on a 2-on-1 breakaway, beating goalie Vesa Toskala stick side in the lower left corner for his fifth goal. San Jose took a 2-1 lead on Carle's power-play goal at 9:44.

Dominic Moore, who also had an earlier goal waved off, scored 1:45 into the third period for Pittsburgh.

Toskala made 25 saves for the Sharks, who had lost the last two on home ice including a 3-1 defeat to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

For fans at the Shark Tank, seeing the Penguins was a rare treat and the chance to watch an exciting matchup of two of the NHL's top teams on the power play. The way the non-conference schedule works, Pittsburgh won't come back to San Jose until the 2009-10 season.

Crosby, Pittsburgh's second-year pro who had a sensational rookie season, took part in the physical play early. He came in with only six minutes in penalties, but took a seat 1:03 into the game for roughing - and Cheechoo was done for the night at the same time.

Cheechoo got a major for boarding and a game misconduct when he landed hard on Mark Eaton after Eaton had slipped. Crosby entered the fray and began punching Cheechoo, leading to his penalty.

"That was vicious," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said.

Notes: Pittsburgh is 2-2 vs. Western Conference. ... The Sharks are 2-8-1 in their last 11 meetings with the Penguins. ... Fleury finished with 31 saves.

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