SAN JOSE – It was an ugly night at The Tank, as the Sharks were hammered in a Stanley Cup rematch with the Penguins, 5-0. Three takeaways from the loss…
1 – No response
Although they trailed 2-0 after the first period, the Sharks weren’t necessarily displeased with the way they were playing to that point. Pittsburgh first goal off the rush just looked like a nice play by a fast and skilled team, while their second was a bit fluky when Sidney Crosby banked the puck in off of the back of Martin Jones’ skate.
The backbreaker was Pittsburgh’s third goal, again by Crosby, just 13 seconds into the second period. Rather than keep fighting, the Sharks played like the game was already over for the rest of the period. After two more Penguins goals before the intermission, it was.
“You've got to stay with it, you've got to find ways,” Joe Pavelski said. “The power play has got to strike when it gets a chance to keep the game close, or take a lead. We haven't quite done that well enough. … We feel like we're right there, but at the same time, there's a long way for us to go."
2 – Jones pulled
Coach Pete DeBoer said on Friday that fatigue shouldn’t be a factor with Martin Jones so early in the season, but the coach was forced to pull his goalie - starting his 11th game out of 12 - after he surrendered three goals on just seven shots. Jones didn’t get much help from Marc-Edouard Vlasic on the third Penguins’ score, when the normally reliable defenseman smacked a loose puck right onto Crosby’s stick blade before it directed in, but he clearly was having an off night.
Jones, who is now 5-6-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and .900 save percentage, was asked after the game if he was surprised he got pulled when he did.
“I don’t know. Maybe not surprised. Obviously you want to play, but you understand why [DeBoer] does it,” he said.
“They’re a good team. They’ve got a lot of speed. They’re good offensively. I thought we had a good first period. Could have scored a couple early, changed the outcome of the game.”
3 – Crosby surging
The Penguins captain, who missed the first Sharks-Penguins game on Oct. 20 while suffering from a concussion, has picked up right where he left off in the second half of last season. After his two goals on Saturday, Crosby has league-leading eight (and 10 points) in just six games. At 29 years old, he’s still in the prime of his career.
“He’s the best player in the world,” DeBoer said after the game. “Who else can score two goals without shooting a puck in the net? He’s a great player, for sure. He’s definitely the engine that drives them.”