Sharks 3 – Penguins 2
Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh
Luckily for the Penguins, the NHL awards consolation prizes. The hard-luck Pens earned a consolation point in the standings Wednesday night in their 3-2 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks. Tyler Kennedy, who has now scored seven times in his past 10 games, had two goals for the Penguins. His offensive effort was matched, however, by Sharks’ forward Patrick Marleau, who scored the game-winning goal with four seconds left in overtime. Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 35 of 38 shots against the Sharks, who also won the night before in Detroit.
Matt Niskanen and James Neal made their Pittsburgh debuts Wednesday night, with the latter being a starter on the top line with Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis. Aside from the stinging loss, the Penguins most menacing presence on the back-end, Brooks Orpik, went down in the first period and did not return for the rest of the game. That left the Pittsburgh with five defensemen and a short bench for most of the night. The Pens did not have any updates on Orpik’s condition in their early post-game remarks.
“Brooks did not come back to the game, (but) we fully planned on going out and winning that darn game,” Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma said in his post-game press conference. “We made one or two mistakes…and we had to fight tooth and nail right to the end to get the tying goal. It’s just a little bit disappointing not getting the win in that game.”
Along with devastating injuries and bus crashes, the Pens can now add technical difficulties in their brand new building to their list of woes. For the second straight game, the house lights in the arena failed to come on fully after the intermission. At Monday’s game the inconvenience lasted only a few minutes. Wednesday night’s delay between the first and second frames dragged on for about 20.
Tyler Kennedy pounced on Matt Cooke’s rebound and scored for the 6th time over his past 10 games to start off the scoring 5:48 into the first period. The Sharks fought back 3:01 into the second period, though, as the Penguins allowed a power play goal for the second straight. Logan Couture, one of the league’s top rookies this year, received a pass from Devin Setoguchi behind the net and blasted a wrist shot from the left circle past Fleury. The Sharks gained the lead when they intercepted the puck from Kris Letang, who was digging the biscuit out of the corner in the Pens defensive zone. This allowed Patrick Marleau to poke a quick shot past Fleury at the goalpost.
Marleau’s goal took the life out of the Consol, but Kennedy’s tying marker with Marc-Andre Fleury pulled and 50 seconds remaining in the game brought the noise back and ensured the Pens at least one point.
Kennedy had another dirty goal, lunging for a loose puck in the crease after Jordan Staal’s shot richocheted off of the pipes.
Kennedy’s valiant effort fell short however, when Marleua beat Kennedy 4:56 into the five-minute overtime session.
Despite a their recent slide, the Penguins still sit in the fourth slot in the Eastern Conference, and have the fourth highest points total in the league. They are certainly working hard and playing their game, but when does the effort result in wins? And how can they keep competing with all of the misfortunes they face?
“We’re going to show you,” Bylsma said. “We’re going to have every intention of going out and playing a certain way and playing to get more wins coming – starting in Carolina.”
1. Partick Marleau; 2. Tyler Kennedy; 3. Devin Setoguchi
Goals: PIT- Tyler Kennedy (13); SJ- Logan Couture (25), Patrick Marleau (23, 24)
Assists: PIT- Matt Cooke, Deryk Engelland, Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke; SJ- Devin Setoguchi, Jason Demers, Dany Heatley, Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Special teams: PIT: 0-2; SJ: 1-4
IN THE NET:
PIT: Marc-Andre Fleury (OT) – 35-38
SJ: Antti Niermi (W) – 24-26
Penguins (36-20-6); Sharks (34-21-6)