SAN JOSE – When you haven’t won in a building in more than 18 years, you might need a few unorthodox goals to finally get one.

The Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead – all of them coming on shots below the goal line – and beat the Sharks at SAP Center, 5-1. It was Pittsburgh’s first win in San Jose since Oct. 22, 1997.

The Sharks lost for just the second time in their last nine games (7-2-0), but dropped two of three on their brief homestand.

Phil Kessel opened the scoring. Stationed behind the net he attempted to direct the puck toward the front, but it ricocheted off of Paul Martin’s skate and up and over Martin Jones’ shoulder just 2:30 into the game on a bad luck goal from San Jose’s perspective.

That’s where the game stood until the second, when Matt Cullen banked in a puck off of the back of Jones’ skate at 4:40 of the middle frame. The play began when Brian Dumoulin put a shot on net after he sidestepped Brent Burns, who was lying flat on the ice in the slot.

Jones misplayed the Penguins’ third goal less than two minutes later. Evgeni Malkin charged ahead with Martin defending, and wrapped the puck around and across the line after Jones had taken a stride out of his crease at 6:35.

Despite the 3-0 hole they found themselves in, the Sharks had a number of scoring chances before falling behind, but the Penguins did a good job of clearing loose pucks out from in front of the net.

San Jose finally managed to break through on the power play, when Joe Pavelski skillfully set up Patrick Marleau for a wrist shot into an open net at 15:35, for Marleau’s fourth goal in as many games.

The Sharks appeared to get back to within 3-2 just 17 seconds later when Tomas Hertl whacked in a loose puck in the crease, but it was waved off and upheld on a coach’s challenge due to incidental contact with the goaltender by Tommy Wingels.

Pittsburgh gained its three-goal edge back when David Perron easily whacked in a centering pass from Chris Kunitz on the power play 8:42 of the third period.

Jones was pulled for an extra attacker with about four-and-a-half minutes in regulation, and Kessel deposited an empty net goal with 4:06 to go.

Facing each other for the second time in 10 days, the game had a nasty edge. Beau Bennett rubbed out Justin Braun behind the Sharks’ net in the second period sparking a scrum, and later Wingels and Kris Letang exchanged some gloved punches in the corner. In the final minute of the second period, Crosby took exception to Pavelski’s hit in front of the bench of Rob Scuderi, and the two captains earned coincidental roughing minors.

The Sharks fell to 0-2 when wearing their throwback teal jerseys, worn to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the team. They split the season series with Pittsburgh, winning 3-1 at Consol Energy Center on Nov. 21.

The Sharks had won 10 straight against the Penguins in San Jose, and were 11-0-1 in the last 12, including a tie. They are 17-3-3 in the last 23 meetings.

Special teams

The Sharks scored a power play goal for the fourth straight game, finishing 1-for-3. Of Marleau’s 10 goals, three have come with a man advantage.

The Penguins finished 1-for-2. The Sharks had been 9-for-9 on the penalty kill in their last three games.

In goal

Jones started for the 10th time in his last 11 games, and fell to 2-2-0 in his career against the Penguins, allowing five goals on 29 shots.

Fleury, who lost to the Sharks on Nov. 21, improved to 4-3-3 in his career vs. San Jose with 33 saves.


Braun was a surprise participant, after Pete DeBoer ruled him out for the game on Monday. Braun had missed the previous two games with an infected left elbow from a cut. Matt Tennyson was a healthy scratch.

Marleau, who has a five-game point streak (4g, 4a), was honored in a pregame ceremony for scoring his 1,000th NHL point on Nov. 21 in Pittsburgh.

Joel Ward, who assisted on Marleau’s goal, also has a five-game point streak (1g, 5a).

Malkin scored for the fourth straight game.

Up next

The Sharks will make their first trip to Anaheim on Friday to play the scuffling Ducks. San Jose skated to a 2-0 win in its home opener on Oct. 10, but Anaheim responded with a 1-0 shutout at SAP Center on Nov. 7. The Sharks host the Lightning on Saturday.