The Penguins (25-20-3) took on the San Jose Sharks (24-14-6) in the third and final game of their latest West Coast road trip. Following his 28-save performance against the Kings, Mike Sullivan went back to Casey DeSmith as the starting net minder.
The rest of the Penguins looked like this:
Daniel Sprong sat for the second game in a row and Justin Schultz was not forced out of the lineup after the hit he received from Dustin Brown.
The Sharks swam out looking like this:
Three minutes and eighteen seconds in, Conor Sheary got the Penguins going. Dominik Simon, Sidney Crosby, and Sheary broke into the offensive zone and after a slick feed from Simon, Sheary would not be denied.
The Penguins attack in the Shark Tank.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 21, 2018
Crosby → Simon → Sheary → pic.twitter.com/jN20W7ZL8U
After the goal, the Penguins were awarded with the game’s first power-play. Melker Karlsson was called for cross-checking. This power-play never really found a consistent rhythm and as a result, the penalty was killed.
With 8:37 left in the first period, the Penguins were caught with too many men on the ice, giving the Sharks their first power-play. The Penguins proved why they have the third-best penalty-kill in the league by killing the Shark power-play.
Towards the end of the period, the Sharks started to come to life and were rewarded with a game-tying goal.
Timo Meier got the game even after the Sharks had applied an enormous amount of pressure to the Penguins in their own end.
The period came to an end soon after and both teams headed to the locker room locked at 1-1.
Stats after one:
Early on in the period, Jean-Sebastian Dea drew a second penalty. The Bearded One, Brent Burns, was called for tripping. After a decent start, the wheels just fell off and the Sharks controlled the flow on the back end of the power-play to kill it.
The Sharks were awarded with a power-play of their own right after they killed the Penguins’ chance. Dominik Simon was called for slashing. Towards the end of the Sharks power-play, Carl Hagelin drew a tripping penalty. San Jose’s Dylan DeMelo was sent to the box. The Penguins had 1:50 of power-play time to work with.
The Penguin power-play ended, and after all of this chaos, the score was still locked at 1.
Late in the period, Conor Sheary was forced out of the game after taking a shot to his wrist or upper arm area. He would return to the ice to start the third period.
A frantic pace of play helped dwindle the time on the clock throughout the period.
Time would wind down to end the second frame and both teams ended the period as they began it, tied at one goal apiece.
Two things were certain through the second period: the pace of play was outstanding and the play of both goaltenders was equally impressive. Chances were aplenty for both sides and the goaltenders were stopping everything thrown their way.
Stats after 40 minutes:
Two minutes into the period, Jamie Oleksiak was sent to the box for cross-checking.
A mere four seconds into the power-play, Tomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Right off the faceoff, the puck got deflected in front of DeSmith and Hertl put the finishing touches on it for the go-ahead goal.
Another fast period put the Penguins in a race against the clock.
With 3:14 left, the game was sent into 4-on-4 mode. Hertl got two minutes for roughing and Malkin was called for cross-checking.
The Penguins pulled DeSmith with about 90 seconds left in the game, but nothing ever materialized. The Sharks would take the game by a score of 2-1.
- Sidney Crosby was simply outstanding tonight. He was gunning all night long, doing anything and everything to secure the 400th goal of his career. Sid finished the game with 4 shots on goal with an assist. His presence loomed large all throughout the game.
- Who says you need elite goalies to have a goaltending duel? This was a great goaltender matchup from two relatively unknown players. Aaron Dell stopped 31 out of 32 shots and DeSmith saved the puck 34 out of 36 times.
- While Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel are playing on all cylinders at the moment, they can't be relied on every game for the team’s total offensive output. Paging Daniel Sprong. Rather, Mike Sullivan to play Daniel Sprong.
- The Penguins will return to PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town for another divisional showdown.