PITTSBURGH – It wasn’t the Stanley Cup Final, but it was a disappointing defeat for the Sharks against the Penguins nonetheless, as Pittsburgh stormed back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to stun San Jose, 3-2.
The game-winner came from Patric Hornqvist. On a Pittsburgh power play, he found a loose puck and swiped it in off of Paul Martin's skate with 5:58 left in regulation.
The Penguins trailed 2-0 to start the third, but Evgeni Malkin got them on the board. After the Sharks were caught scrambling in front of their own net, Malkin took control of the disc in the high slot. He spun around and flicked it through Martin Jones at 6:47.
A little more than two minutes later, Hornqvist drilled Brenden Dillon on the corner, jarring the puck loose from the wall. Scott Wilson grabbed it, swooped towards the crease and slipped it though at 9:01 to knot the game at 2-2.
The Sharks (3-2-0) fell to 2-2 on their five-game road trip, which concludes with their final visit to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Saturday.
San Jose scored twice in a dominant second period in which it outshot Pittsburgh, 17-4.
Tomas Hertl’s second goal in as many games opened the scoring. He got to the front of the net and poked in a Joe Pavelski rebound at 5:04 after goalie Marc-Andre Fleury lost control of his stick while making a save on Brent Burns moments earlier.
Patrick Marleau created the second goal at 16:15, stripping Chris Kunitz of the puck at the blue line and finishing off a give-and-go with Logan Couture for his second of the year.
Prior to Marleau’s marker, the Penguins had a power play goal waved off. On a power play, Phil Kessel directed a rebound towards the net, and it rattled around off of the post and Jones’ left pad. Hornqvist directed it in, but a video review showed it illegally went in off of his glove and not his stick with 6:41 left in the period.
San Jose was 28-0-2 last season when leading after two periods, and 9-0 in the playoffs.
The Sharks allowed one power play goal in five Penguins advantages, and were 0-for-3 on the power play.
Mikkel Boedker had a chance to essentially seal the win on a third period advantage for the Sharks, but couldn’t bury a Joonas Donskoi pass into an empty net. Malkin brought the Penguins back to within a goal moments later.
San Jose killed off a Martin delay of game penalty at 10:17 of the third to keep it 2-2, but Marc-Edouard Vlasic's slash led to Hornqvists's goal.
Jones fell to 2-2 on the season with three goals allowed on 20 shots.
Marc-Andre Fleury got the win with 32 saves. Starter Matt Murray remains out with a hand injury.
Pittsburgh was down to four defensemen by the end of the game, as Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot were forced from action in the second period.
The Penguins were without several key pieces to start the game, including Murray, best defenseman Kris Letang, and the best player in the world, Sidney Crosby.
Matt Nieto returned to the lineup in place of Micheal Haley on the fourth line. Nieto was a healthy scratch on Tuesday against the Islanders.
After Saturday’s game in Detroit, the Sharks finally play their second game at SAP Center on Tuesday, Oct. 25 against Anaheim in the first of a three-game homestand. Columbus and Nashville also visit.