Casey DeSmith is in the net, otherwise the Penguins lineup is the same as last game.
Jack Johnson takes a tripping penalty to send Pittsburgh to the penalty kill less than a minute into a game. The ref never gave him a chance, just watched him play and literally called him on it. Life isn’t fair!
It doesn’t take long for the Sharks to convert, with Tomas Hertl open out in front. DeSmith makes one save but then falls down and Hertl has plenty or time and space to snap the puck into the open net.
Pittsburgh gets a power play, but uh oh, the bad power play is back. Phil Kessel makes a dumb decision to try and carry the puck into the zone and is easily dispossessed and the play goes the other way. Evander Kane goes to the backhand to beat DeSmith and it’s 2-0.
The hits keep on coming. Sweet Zach Aston-Reese never does anything wrong, right? Wrong. ZAR takes an offensive zone penalty sending the Pens back to the penalty kill. Johnson does...well whatever he does there to stop moving his legs and bother to be in position and Hertl does what he does against Pittsburgh and scores. 3-0, and for the love of God make it stop.
Shots are 12-9 SJ. Goals are 3-0 in one of the worst periods of the game.
Evgeni Malkin takes a penalty and for the first time in four tries, Pittsburgh doesn’t give a goal on special teams. Bryan Rust blocks a shot and hits Malkin with a pass for a breakaway as Geno is getting out of the box but 39-year old Joe Thornton busts his ass at the end of a shift and hustles back on defense to break it up (send that tape to Malkin and Kessel for the Pens’ power play...)
Rust leaves the game briefly after blocking that shot with possibly his hand area, Dominik Simon falls upward to fill in on the Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby line (though it’s not like there were many alternatives).
The Sharks are back to their power play - the fourth of the game - when Aston-Reese takes another offensive zone penalty. Pittsburgh kills it off, though not without the help of a crossbar shot.
Kane dumps Guentzel rudely, and Pittsburgh gets a second power play. Kessel and Patric Hornqvist are booted from the top unit in exchange for Guentzel and Justin Schultz.
Pens power play doesn’t score but at least they’re not scored on!
Later Schultz sets Kessel up perfectly, wide open net and he somehow shanks it just wide. Just nothing right.
Game drags on.
During the last TV timeout there’s almost an all-out line brawl after Kane stares down the Pittsburgh players and throws a punch at Jared McCann who is just standing there. Eventually Crosby ends up fighting with Brenden Dillon and Micheal Haley (wut) and Kane drops gloves and beats on Tanner Pearson for a bit. Weird flex, but ok as all hell almost breaks loose.
Mike Sullivan sceams at the refs for how they sort it out and he gets ejected.
4:36 left and the Pens pull DeSmith to go 6v5 with an offensive zone faceoff, because why not. But Kessel high-sticks a player right on the faceoff and that is it for that.
Hertl takes an extra unnecessary hack at DeSmith’s pads with the puck no where in sight and Kris Letang takes Hertl out with a cross-check. Letang is the only player called and the Sharks go to a 5v3.
Brent Burns wires a one-timer into the top of the net to make it 4-0 with 3:09 left.
- This one got away from ‘em and got ugly early. From an early penalty and quick goal against, the Pens never gave themselves a chance. Kessel’s bad play to quickly make it 2-0 just seemed to be the nail in the coffin that “yuuuup, this one isn’t going to be pretty”.
- But the Pens did win the last two. Always stinks to lose, but if they win two for every three games that will work. Easier said than done, but if you have to have a stinker, not too damaging out of conference too.
- At least Rust was able to return, looked scary to see him leave the game for a bit after blocking a shot up high. Crosby also had a close call, blocking a shot with his foot and going down in pain but seemed no worse for wear.
- Keep an eye on the weather for next game. Hearing it’s a high, high probability the scheduled outdoor game in Philly will be moved from prime time Saturday to about dinner time on Sunday due to heavy rain expected all day on Saturday...