It It has been 16 years since the Penguins last won a game against the Sharks in San Jose.
That streak will be stretched to 17.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton scored the game-winning goal with just over five minutes remaining in the third period to lift San Jose to a 5-3 victory over the Penguins at SAP Center.
Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was under fire most of the game. San Jose had a lopsided edge in shots, 47-22. Zatkoff was strong throughout the game, with his only blemish coming on Thornton’s goal, which fluttered and dipped under his glove for the score.
“He made a lot of saves tonight,” head coach Dan Bylsma said of Zatkoff. “He made a lot of big ones. Unfortunately that shot is from a bad angle and a distance away, but it does drop about a foot on its way to the net. It’s a tough one to have define the game.”
It was an intense, back-and-forth battle between two of the best teams in the NHL. The Sharks had the edge in shots and physical play, and the Penguins couldn’t find a way to counter the Sharks’ zone time.
“They played not only a physical game but a fast game,” Bylsma said. “You saw them come at us with that speed and that size. They are maybe the best team in the league at getting pucks and bodies to the cage. They certainly did that.”
DOUBLE SHOT OF MAATTA
The Penguins offensive was spearheaded by 19-year-old rookie phenom Olli Maatta. He recorded his first career two-goal game while playing 24:38 minutes.
“It felt good (to score), but the score wasn’t what we wanted,” Maatta said. “Giving up five goals is too much. We should win games with three goals.”
Both of his goals were the result of Maatta playing aggressive and attacking deep in the offensive zone. On the first goal he pinched to keep the puck in the offensive zone and then crashed the net. Maatta found a rebound and slid it past a sprawled out Antti Niemi.
Maatta scored his second goal on the power play. He sneaked into the backdoor and found a pass from Brandon Sutter. He snapped it into the netting for the tally.
“When you have a chance you can pinch down,” Maatta said. “I just had to tap it in. I basically got two empty-netters.”
The two newest additions to the Penguins family made their team debuts against San Jose.
Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak were acquired Wednesday by general manager Ray Shero at the NHL’s trade deadline. Both players boarded early flights and arrived in San Jose in the afternoon. Even though neither player took part in the morning skate due to their late arrival, they both suited up for the contest.
Stempniak skated on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Taylor Pyatt, but he also saw some time working with Sidney Crosby.
“It went pretty well,” Stempniak said. “I bounced around and played with different guys. I just tried to skate and play a simple game and get some shots on net. There is a lot of room for improvement and I think it will come quickly.”
Goc recorded his first point with his new club when he helped set up Maatta’s first goal of the game after winning a puck battle along the wall.
Goc centered the team’s fourth line and also saw some time on the team’s penalty kill.
“You feel the depth they add to our team immediately,” said Bylsma, who added it’s too early to evaluate their games.
POWER PLAY BUZZING
The Penguins scored two power-play goals against the San Jose Sharks. They’ve now scored 14 power-play goals in their past 13 games (14 for 48, 29.2 percent).
Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo suffered an upper-body injury in the first period. He left the game and did not return.
“He’s just being re-evaluated at this point in time,” Bylsma said. “Obviously, he didn’t come back in the game. So we will see on him.”