Evgeni Malkin scored three goals, including the tie-breaker in the third period, as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 5-2 in the first game after the All-Star break for both teams Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
The go-ahead goal came when San Jose goalie Martin Jones tried to clear the puck from behind the cage. However, his pass went just a few feet, and Patric Hornqvist picked it off and quickly fed Malkin, who put it into the empty cage 6:01 into the third for a 3-2 lead.
Bryan Rust added his second goal of the game for insurance later in the third period, and Malkin completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 1:13 left for the 5-2 lead. Rust finished with two goals and one assist.
Both teams had played well before the All-Star break. Pittsburgh went 7-2 in its last nine games before the break while San Jose was 5-2-1.
In addition, the Sharks and Penguins each had goalies returning after missing time.
Jones came back after missing four games with a lower-body injury, and Matt Murray started for Pittsburgh after sitting out seven games following his father’s death.
Murray recorded 40 saves in the victory as San Jose outshot Pittsburgh, 42-31.
With Joe Thornton out after undergoing right knee surgery, an injury that reports say could sideline him for possibly six weeks, the Sharks had scoring chances but struggled putting the puck in the net.
The Sharks fell behind when Rust took a Riley Sheahan pass, made a quick move and scored with 8:51 remaining in the first period.
Brent Burns then tied it at the 10-minute mark of the second period on a power-play goal. Burns fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line past Murray.
The Sharks then took the lead on a Logan Couture power-play goal with 1:25 left in the period — his 200th NHL goal.
However, Malkin answered for the Penguins with five seconds left.
San Jose turned it over in the final 10 seconds, and Phil Kessel got the loose puck and fed Malkin, who quickly scored and made it 2-2. The Jones turnover in the third proved just as costly.
—Field Level Media