The Penguins sans Jake Guentzel get going with the following lineup:
Great Scott!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 2, 2020
Here are the very colorful Penguins lines.
Happy '80s night. pic.twitter.com/audicK9cor
The Sharks open the scoring just 2:48 into the game, Brent Burns throws a pass over that noted Penguin kill Tomas Hertl touches into the net. That’s Hertl’s ninth goal in 12 career games against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh gets it back, Patric Hornqvist hops onto the ice and picks off a soft San Jose pass. Hornqvist is all alone and has enough time to skate into a dangerous area, pick a spot and rip a shot, beating Aaron Dell off the post and into the net. 1-1.
Like, totally awesome tally, Hornqvist! pic.twitter.com/p9401g71yw— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 3, 2020
But before there can be too much celebrated, SJ gets their lead back exactly 1 minute later. This time Pittsburgh trouble coming out of the zone turns into a 2-on-1 and Logan Couture rips a hard shot past the glove of Tristan Jarry to make it 2-1 Sharks.
Pittsburgh outshot San Jose 15-8 in the first period, but they were unable to out-score them.
Nothing too interesting going on, a positive sign for a road team with a lead. No power plays, despite Marcus Sorensen blatantly interfering with Evgeni Malkin as the refs have apparently given up making calls for a new year’s resolution.
The Pens’ make one advantageous switch, moving Juuso Riikola up to play with Kris Letang and demoting Jack Johnson back to the third pair with Chad Ruhwedel.
Brandon Tanev has to leave the game after suffering his 830th painful moment of the season after blocking another shot in the foot/ankle area, but he soon returns because he’s tough.
But then Malkin makes the refs break their resolution when he blatantly holds a Shark in the neutral zone. The SJ power play is short when Barclay Goodrow trips a Pen. Both teams kill of each other’s shortened power play, but right after it expires, Hornqvist strikes for his second goal of the game by deflecting Bryan Rust ‘s centering pass. 2-2 with under a minute in the second.
This is Patric Hornqvist's fifth multi-point game of the season (he had one last game too). Clutch. pic.twitter.com/Ez4xlo4db0— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 3, 2020
Shots in the second period are 12-10 Pens and 27-18 Pens overall. And for what was a pretty uneventful period up until the last minute, Pittsburgh puts themselves in position to make it a 20 minute game.
After the Sharks somehow get away with Burns playing the puck with a broken stick, their luck runs out and it’s Joe Thornton getting called (in front of the Pens’ net) to send Pittsburgh to their first full two minute power play of the game.
The Pens’ new look top power play group (Kris Letang with Malkin, Hornqvist, Rust and Jared McCann at first) look pretty good but don’t score. Malkin in particular continues to play well with a lot of jump, generating a few chances.
But no one scores in the third so we go to..
Letang trips up Couture 45 seconds into the extra hockey, so SJ gets to go on a 4v3 power play.
Teddy Blueger breaks his stick on the faceoff and plays without it for 20 seconds before Zach Aston-Reese makes a nice play to clear the puck. But after a stoppage, Burns ends the game, ripping a slapper through traffic and into the net.
One final thought
Hornqvist powered. Fittingly enough, this game was kinda like Patric Hornqvist’s game overall; not always the prettiest but a lot of effort, digging, and finding a way. With nine goals and 15 points in 23 games now, Hornqvist would actually be on pace for a 32-goal, 53-point season if he actually played all the games. Alas, that probably won’t be the case for the player who turned 33-years old yesterday, but games like today remind what he’s capable of when he is in the lineup. With Guentzel, the Pens need more from players like Hornqvist, he did his part tonight to pull his team to one point.