Pittsburgh Penguins Top San Jose in Shootout as Perron Powers Through


One day after losing top defenseman Kris Letang to a concussion, the Pittsburgh Penguins managed to grind out a win against the San Jose Sharks, earning their third win in their last five contests.

It was an interesting one for Pittsburgh as the team’s lineup remained very much in flux. With Letang out, the Pens dressed five defenseman. Ben Lovejoy and Paul Martin played the most of the group – each racking up over 27 minutes of ice-time – followed by Rob Scuderi, Ian Cole, and Derrick Pouliot, respectively.

As well, the team added in a key contributor at the last minute as David Perron, who missed the Pens’ last game with an illness and was said to be too sick to play tonight, joined the team despite his present state.

The talented forward suited up on the fourth line with Maxim Lapierre and Craig Adams, logging 10:06 of ice-time as he powered through for the Pens.

With Perron on the fourth line, forward Daniel Winnik remained on the top line with Patric Hornqvist and Sidney Crosby.

The trio worked quite well together once again, most notably early in the first period when Winnik spun around behind the Sharks’ net to set up Hornqvist for the game’s first goal.

Just one minute later, veteran winger Chris Kunitz got on the board, taking a cross-ice pass from Crosby and roofing it in for a powerplay marker. The goal, which was Kunitz’s 17th of the season, was his first in over a month – he last tallied on Feb. 25th against the Washington Capitals.

It’s certainly been a down year for Kunitz. He racked up 35 goals last season and was on pace for nearly 40 the year before that. The winger is surely hoping tonight’s marker will open the floodgates for him and allow him to reach the 20-goal plateau for the fifth consecutive season.

Heading into the second period with a two-goal lead, the Pens saw it quickly evaporate as San Jose scored two markers in the middle stanza (courtesy of Ben Smith and Logan Couture) to even things up.

Pittsburgh fought back in the third but were unable to break the deadlock, prompting overtime.

It was San Jose who got the better of the two teams’ chances in the extra frame – the Sharks registered five shots on Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, while the Pens didn’t manage a single shot on goal.

Neither club found the back of the net for their elusive third goal, however, sending the game into a shootout.

Still suffering from the illness that kept him out of the Pens’ last contest, Perron skated to centre ice to take the first shot.

The smooth-skating winger made no mistake, faking a shot before pulling the puck to his backhand and lifting it into the back of the cage.

After Fleury stopped San Jose’s Melker Karlsson, captain Crosby stepped up with the chance to put his team ahead.

Skating in on Sharks netminder Alex Stalock with patience, Crosby pump-faked before sniping a quick shot past the tender, putting the game back on Fleury’s shoulders.

With a goal needed to keep the game alive, Couture came down on the Pens’ net and wired a shot off the post, giving Pittsburgh the victory.

The win takes the Pens’ record to 42-23-11. They’ll have a couple days off to get healthy before they face a tough task in the form of the Philadelphia Flyers on April 1st.

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