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Aftermath: Sharks 5, Penguins 0

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

Injuries continue to catch up to the Penguins as they lose back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in the regular season under head coach Dan Bylsma. Already down Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy, Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar, defenseman Kris Letang left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. His absence meant the Penguins played without five of their top-18 skaters for a majority of the game.

Despite playing so shorthanded, the Penguins skated with the Sharks the final two periods, outshooting them 24-22 during the final 40 minutes. This game could have had a totally different outcome had Sidney Crosby’s shot less than a minute into the second gone into the net and not off the post, as it would have cut the San Jose lead to 2-1 and given the Penguins some much-needed momentum. Pittsburgh never quit and battled all the way through the final seconds when Crosby hustled to get a shot on Evgeni Nabokov with less than five seconds remaining in regulation.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist in his first game back from the injured list and Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves and the San Jose Sharks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins for the seventh straight time at home, 5-0 Saturday night.

Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby was held pointless for a fourth straight game for the first time in his career. He hit the post with a shot early in the second period but was unable to convert against Nabokov and the Sharks.

Chris Kunitz fights for a rebound
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Faceoffs
San Jose entered this game with four of the league’s top 11 performers on draws, but it was the Penguins who held the advantage on the dots, 30-28. Sidney Crosby went 16-7 (70%) and Jordan Staal was 9-5 (64%). Crosby dominated his matchup, Joe Thornton, who won only four of 14 draws (29%).

What Could Have Gone Better: Penalty Killing
Pittsburgh had killed off eight straight opposition power plays after they killed of Sidney Crosby’s penalty 52 seconds into the game, but the Sharks proceeded to score twice on their next five chances with the man-advantage to break the game open.
Like the rest of his teammates Jordan Staal did not factor onto the score sheet against the Sharks, but it was not for a lack of effort or chances. Staal used his 6-foot-4 frame all night in the offensive zone to create opportunities, and looks to be close to breaking out in a big way.

Continuing a trend began when Evgeni Malkin left the lineup with a shoulder strain, Staal’s 21:11 of ice time tied Sidney Crosby for the highest total among forwards. He was credited with two shots on goal but barely missed the net on a few other quality chances. Staal won nine of 14 faceoffs as well.
Jamie McGinn skated down the left side into the Penguins’ zone and fired a shot off the chest protector of Marc-Andre Fleury. Scott Nichol kept the puck alive behind the net and McGinn walked the biscuit out of the far corner and snuck a shot behind Fleury. San Jose 1, Pittsburgh 0.

With Sharks on the power play Manny Malhotra slid the puck from the left point over to Dan Boyle at the right point. The slick-skating defender fired a shot/pass to the slot area where the puck glanced off the heal of Joe Pavelski’s stick behind Fleury. San Jose 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Boyle increased the Sharks’ lead with a great individual effort 1:41 into the second period. The San Jose defenseman skated the puck over the blue line and made a great inside-out move to get himself open before firing a shot just under the blocker of Fleury. San Jose 3, Pittsburgh 0.

The Sharks welcomed Brent Johnson to the game with a beautiful fourth goal. Boyle skated the length of the blue line to keep the puck in the zone before feeding to Joe Thornton in the near corner. Thornton passed in the slot to Pavelski, whose shot was denied by Johnson, but Dany Heatley was there to pounce on the rebound. San Jose 4, Pittsburgh 0.

San Jose struck on the power play for the second time on the night when Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s original shot was blocked in front, but the puck came to Malhotra at the point and he rifled a shot past the glove of Johnson. San Jose 5, Pittsburgh 0.
Kris Letang left the game early in the first period due to injury, forcing the Penguins to play a majority of the contest with only five defensemen. Later, Jay McKee received 19 minutes in penalties leaving Pittsburgh to go with only four blueliners the final 12 minutes. Alex Goligoski played a team-high 27:01 while Brooks Orpik (26:00) and Mark Eaton (24:11) picked up a majority of the extra minutes.

San Jose might have won the battle on the scoreboard but the Penguins did a good job winning the small battles that over the course of time will lead to them continuing to win a lot of hockey games. They blocked 19 Shark shots, outhit San Jose, 25-19, and forced 11 takeaways compared to only six for the Sharks.

Pittsburgh switched goaltenders mid-game for the first time in 2009-10 as Marc-Andre Fleury was replaced by Brent Johnson 1:41 into the second period following Dan Boyle’s goal. Overall, Fleury stopped 11 of 14 shots in 21:41 and Johnson made 19 saves on 21 shots in 38:18.
> Scoring Summary:
SJ, J. McGinn (2), 3:27 1st period: Sharks 1, Penguins 0
SJ, J. Pavelski PP (1), 16:04 1st period: Sharks 2, Penguins 0
SJ, D. Boye (3), 1:41 2nd period: Sharks 3, Penguins 0
SJ, D. Heatley (11), 3:31 2nd period: Sharks 4, Penguins 0
SJ, M. Malhotra PP (3), 9:51 3rd period: Sharks 5, Penguins 0

> Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Bruins will be a 7 p.m. start and will be broadcast nationally by Versus.

> The Penguins’ 12-5 record through 17 games is the third-best start in team history behind the 13-2-2 start in 1994-95 and the 12-3-2 start in 1992-93.

> The Penguins are now 30-8-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 15-4-3 on the road.

> Pittsburgh is now 1-2 on a four-game road trip that began in Los Angeles and San Jose and will conclude Tuesday night Boston. The Penguins return home Nov. 12 to face the New Jersey Devils at Mellon Arena.

> Prior to the past two games the Penguins had not lost back-to-back games in regulation since a 5-4 setback in Toronto on Jan. 31, 2009 and a 4-2 loss in Montreal on Feb. 3, 2009, the longest such streak in the National Hockey League.

> Kris Letang’s first-period injury meant the Penguins played a majority of this game without 30 percent of their goal-scoring production from a year ago as Evgeni Malkin (35), Tyler Kennedy (15), Maxime Talbot (12), Kris Letang (10) and Sergei Gonchar (6) accounted for 78 of the team’s 258 goals in 2008-09.

> Alex Goligoski is tied with the Philadelphia Flyers Matt Carle with a plus-14 rating after an even showing against the Sharks. Goligoski is tied with Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf and Atlanta’s Zach Bogosian for the league-lead among defensemen with six goals.

> Jay McKee re-took the NHL lead in blocked shots (55) after stepping in front of five shots against the Sharks.
1. E. Nabokov
2. D. Boyle
3. J. Pavelski
“Things aren’t always going to run smoothly … We
need to take a look in the mirror and
hopefully it will spark something
for us.”
- Alex Goligoski


Author: Jason Seidling

Author: Jason Seidling

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