Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson (28) and goaltender Louis Domingue, right, are in the process of prevent defense against the San Jose Sharks left winger Matt Nieto (83) in the third period at SAP Center in San Jose on Sat Jan 15, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Mary Walsh
SAN JOSE- The San Jose Sharks lost their first overtime game of the season, falling 2-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Kris Letang and Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh and Louis Domingue made 40 saves for the win. Rudolfs Balcers scored for San Jose and Adin Hill made 25 saves in the loss.
For the first time in a long time, the Sharks had Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson on the same power play unit. The Sharks had three power plays Saturday, one of those a double-minor, but still could not convert against the Penguins’ top-ranked penalty kill. Most of the Sharks’ power play shots came from the first unit, but short-handed chances were given up by both units.
Sharks’ Head Coach Bob Boughner did not put too much stock in the power play’s failure to score:
“I thought our power play had some great looks. At the end of the second and the beginning of the third, we had some great looks and we had traffic and we picked the rebounds off. I think our second unit was just very average, I thought we didn’t get anything going on the second unit but, you know, we did a lot of good things, the only thing we didn’t do was score but that’s not on our power play. I think Pittsburgh’s a good team.”
Rudolfs Balcers scored the first goal of the game at 7:01. Erik Karlsson chased down the puck as it came off the boards, then spun and sent it to the net. It went right to Balcers as he arrived in front of the net and angled his stick to deflect it in. Assists went to Karlsson and Timo Meier.
The Sharks held the Penguins to one shot for the first half of the period but at 10:56, Kris Letang tied it up. Letang skated around the outside to get behind the Sharks defense, then cut across the slot to score with a backhand over Hill’s right pad. Assists went to Jake Guentzel and Teddy Blueger.
The shot count for the period was 11-4 Sharks, and San Jose also led in the face-off circle with 53% of the draws. The Sharks took the only penalty of the period, and the penalty kill allowed no shots on goal.
The Penguins got more shots through in the second, with four on net in the first half of the period. The Sharks also had more, 8, at that point. By the end of the second, it was 17-8 Sharks.
With a little more than a minute left in the period, Jake Guentzel went to the box for four minutes after drawing blood from Jonathan Dahlen with a high stick. The Sharks power play ended the period with three shots on goal and a little under three minutes remaining to start the third period.
The Sharks had that power play and another in the third period. They had six shots with the man advantage and gave up four short-handed shots. Overall, the Penguins out-shot them by just one, 14-13.
Jake Guentzel scored the game winner 37 seconds into overtime. Sidney Crosby carried the puck into the zone and across the slot. Guentzel had just arrived at the blue paint when Crosby sent the puck back to him for an easy tap-in. Assists went to Crosby and Kris Letang.
The Sharks had an excellent night in the face-off circle, winning 67% of the draws. Noah Gregor led the team in shots with seven.
The Sharks next play on Monday at home against the Los Angeles Kings at 1:00 PM PT.
Radim Simek is still out with a lower body injury, and Alexander Barabanov is on the COVID-19 list. Jacob Middleton was put on the injured reserve list after being injured in Detroit on January 4. James Reimer is off of the injured reserve list and he backed up Hill on Saturday.