Pittsburgh Penguins Fall to San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Shootout


Heading into tonight’s match-up with the San Jose Sharks, much was said about the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins hadn’t won in San Jose since 1997.

The dry spell lasted 11 straight games in the Shark Tank and that number got pushed to 12 tonight as the Pens lost a close, hard-fought battle against the Sharks.

Pittsburgh did manage to earn one point, however, as the game finished in a shootout.

The Pens seemed to do everything right against San Jose but simply couldn’t find a way to earn the ‘W’. Pittsburgh put 40 shots on Sharks netminder Antti Niemi, while San Jose registered only 30 on Marc-Andre Fleury.

Both goaltenders were fantastic, as neither allowed more than one goal through 65 minutes of play.

After a closely contested period that saw the Penguins outshoot San Jose 15-6, it was the Sharks who drew first blood.

In the final minute of the first period, San Jose forward Chris Tierney slipped the puck from behind the net into the slot, wherein Matthew Nieto slammed it top shelf to beat Fleury, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.

The goal gave the Sharks momentum, which they used to pressure Pittsburgh throughout the second period – flipping the script and outshooting the Pens 15-9.

Heading into the third period down 1-0, and having already seen 24 shots turned aside, the Pens were in dire need of a goal.

Captain Sidney Crosby provided the necessary spark, tallying the tying marker seven minutes into the final frame.

Taking a pass from linemate David Perron, Crosby raced into the Sharks’ zone with speed and wired a swift backhand on net, beating Niemi and earning Crosby his 67th point of the season.

Continuing the back-and-forth pattern that persisted throughout the game, the Pens paced the Sharks in the third, outshooting them 13-8.

With the score tied at 1-1 as 60 minutes expired, the game extended into overtime.

Pittsburgh again had the edge when it came to quality chances during the extra frame, but again found themselves stifled by Niemi.

Thus, a shootout was needed to decide the game’s fate.

After two rounds that saw no goals (including failed attempts from David Perron and Sidney Crosby), San Jose struck first when Melker Karlsson beat Fleury and slipped the puck through his five-hole.

With a goal needed to keep the Pens alive, Kris Letang took the ice.

The smooth-skating defenseman made no mistake, faking out Niemi three times before wiring the puck through the five-hole as well, evening the shootout score up at 1-1.

Four more rounds would take place again without any goals (Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Brandon Sutter, and Beau Bennett took the attempts for Pittsburgh).

In the 8th round of the shootout, however, Sharks’ forward Tommy Wingels found the back of the twine, pulling the puck from right to left to avoid a poke check from Fleury, before lifting the puck into the top of the cage.

Pittsburgh’s Steve Downie tried his hand at tying things up again for Pittsburgh, but was unsuccessful in his attempt, allowing the Sharks to head to the locker room as victors.

The loss moves the Pens’ record to 33-18-10. They remain in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division with a four-point lead over the 4th-place Washington Capitals.

After having won 6 of their last 8, the Pens will have an excellent chance to get back in the win column on Mar. 12th when they face the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

Next: Recent Games Show Marc-Andre Fleury's Value

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