PITTSBURGH – Patrick Marleau reached a major milestone, Brent Burns scored twice, and Paul Martin tallied a third period insurance marker against his former club as the Sharks beat the Penguins on Saturday night in Pittsburgh, 3-1.
San Jose has won five straight, moving to 5-0 on its season-long six-game road trip that concludes on Sunday in Columbus. It is the Sharks’ longest winning streak of the season, as they moved into a first place tie in points with the Kings in the Pacific Division.
Burns’ second period goal, his second of the night, put the Sharks ahead to stay. Joonas Donskoi won a puck battle in the corner and the puck got worked around to the Wookie, who hummed in a wrist shot that appeared to deflect off of Pens defenseman Rob Scuderi and into the twine at 13:06. That gave the Sharks a 2-1 edge.
Martin, playing his first game against the Penguins after the previous five seasons with the organization, was credited with his first goal as a Shark at 8:27 of the third period. His slap shot smacked into Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker, but redirected into the net off of defenseman Ben Lovejoy.
The Sharks improved to 17-2-3 against the Penguins in the last 22. The clubs will rematch at SAP Center on Dec. 1.
Burns’ first goal opened the scoring. The defenseman took advantage of a juicy Joel Ward rebound and hammered it home at 7:54 of the first period after the Sharks had been on their heels early.
Marleau recorded the secondary assist for his 1000th career point, becoming just the 83rd player in league history to reach that plateau and 36th to do it all with one franchise.
Pittsburgh’s only goal came on the power play, when Phil Kessel cleaned up the loose change in front of the net at 8:38 with several players battling in front of the net. Joe Pavelski was off on a double-minor for high sticking, and the Sharks killed off the second half of it.
Again, goalie Martin Jones played a key role, as he made a season-high 38 saves.
After a lackluster performance by the team in the final two periods in Philadelphia on Thursday, the Sharks again had to rely on their goalie in the first few minutes against Pittsburgh. The Penguins registered the first seven shot, but Jones denied Pascal Dupuis in front of the net with 18:40 left in the first, and later snagged a Chris Kunitz blast from the circle on a Penguins power play about five minutes into the game.
The Sharks found their legs after that, capped by Burns’ first period marker.
The Sharks were without head coach Pete DeBoer, who missed the game due to a personal matter. It’s unclear whether DeBoer will return to the team in time for Sunday’s game in Columbus.
For the second straight game, the Sharks went 0-for-4 on the power play. Pittsburgh managed one goal on six chances, but squandered a power play midway through the third period with Burns off for high-sticking.
Jones was making his seventh straight start, coming off of a 34-save shutout on Thursday in Philadelphia. He improved to 11-5-0.
Fleury dropped to 3-3-3 in his career against the Sharks, and 10-7-0 on the season.
After two games in the press box, Nikolay Goldobin returned to the lineup on the left of Tomas Hertl on the Sharks’ third line. On defense, Matt Tennyson drew back in after Mirco Mueller had played the previous three. Mueller and Micheal Haley were the healthy scratches.
The Sharks will play the Blue Jackets for the second time. Columbus beat San Jose at SAP Center on Nov. 3, 5-2.
A three-game homestand begins with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, and continues with games against Calgary and Pittsburgh.