Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

San Jose Pulls off Win in Wild Finish Sharks 5, Penguins 3

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

San Jose Pulls off Win in Wild Finish Sharks 5, Penguins 3

Article excerpt

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It happens this way and that way, but it always happens.

At least, in the hockey lifetimes of the Penguins, road games against the San Jose Sharks end in Penguins losses.

Thursday night, the Penguins blew a two-goal lead and fell, 5-3, against the Sharks at SAP Center.

The Penguins are 0-9-2 here since a 5-2 win Oct. 22, 1997.

In this one, a wild third period was capped by Joe Thornton, who scored on a knuckleball shot from the left point that eluded Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff and broke a 3-3 tie with 5:39 left in regulation.

And so the Penguins have dealt with more than 16 years of futility in a building that has had different names but housed similar results.

Since that win in 1997, it has looked like this: a 3-2 loss Jan. 15, 1999; a 1-1 tie Oct. 30, 1999; a 3-2 loss Nov. 1, 2000; a 5-0 loss Nov. 29, 2001; a 5-2 loss Dec. 12, 2002, a 4-2 loss Feb. 27, 2004; a 3-2 loss Nov. 4, 2006; a 2-1 loss Oct. 28 2008; a 5-0 loss Nov. 7, 2009; and a 4-3 shootout loss Nov. 3, 2011.

This game started at a brisk pace, and the teams traded breakaway chances early.

Zatkoff stopped Raffi Torres, Antti Niemi stopped Penguins winger Chris Kunitz. Zatkoff then threw in a sharp glove save on Thornton at 6:19 of the first period.

The Penguins broke through with a goal by Olli Maatta at 15:09 of the first period. The rookie defenseman swooped in on Niemi, grabbed a short rebound and swept the puck around Niemi's outstretched right leg for a 1-0 lead.

After San Jose winger Brent Burns mugged Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi to earn a roughing minor penalty, the Penguins increased their lead on a power play.

Evgeni Malkin dug the puck out of the corner and fed Kunitz, who beat Niemi with a one-timer from the slot to make it 2-0 at 16:11 of the first period.

That lead held until 17:47 of the second period, when Sharks defenseman Justin Braun was credited with a deflection that cut the Penguins lead in half at 2-1. …

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