SAN JOSE -- Something had to be done after the first period.Not only were the Sharks trailing Pittsburgh 2-0, but they were thoroughly outplayed, outshot, and their starting goaltender was pulled just over two minutes into the game.Enter Ryane Clowe. The Sharks forward dropped the gloves just seven seconds into the second period, scored in the third, and then tallied the only goal in the shootout to give San Jose a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
We had no business winning that game after the first period, said Todd McLellan. But, we found a way to work back into it.RATTO: Fan silence motivates late-arriving Sharks
San Jose erased a 3-1 deficit with a pair of third period goals.Struggling most of the night to generate any prime scoring chances against the Penguins, Clowe converted on a rush with Marty Havlat to cut it to 3-2, when he lifted a perfect backhander over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury at 9:11.The Sharks third line, which McLellan said earlier in the day he wanted to see more from, got the equalizer. Michal Handzus found Jamie McGinn in front of the net and McGinn managed to whack it past Fleury with 4:54 left in regulation. It was McGinns first of the season.We knew after the first 10 games we werent producing like we wanted to, said McGinn. We just werent getting the points or the goals. It was very important for us to change momentum, keep the puck in their end, get some zone time and we were rewarded with a goal.Clowe was the only one of six shooters to score in the shootout, but it was his fight with Derek Engelland that seemed to wake up his team. In the first period, Engelland drilled Joe Thornton with a crushing hit along the boards, sending the Sharks captain to the ice.Even though it was clean, Clowe took exception.He took a pretty good run at Joe, and at times you cant really go after a guy so you take a number," he said. "The other thing, though, they were playing five defensemen. I think he was smart about it saying no at first, but hes a gamer so I figured he would. And he did.Clowe asked Engelland to drop the gloves while the teams were lining up for the opening faceoff in the second.I figured I would at least send out the invitation, said Clowe.Patrick Marleau got the Sharks on the board shortly after at 2:37 of the second, when his wrist shot got underneath the arm of Fleury.The Penguins got their two-goal cushion back, though, on a fortunate bounce.On a three-on-two rush, Evgeni Malkin took a pass from Kris Letang and fired it on net. The puck never made it, hitting James Neal in the leg. Fortunately for the Penguins, it subsequently hit Malkins skate and redirected over the goal line at 9:37. A video review confirmed that Malkin did not use a kicking motion.It was one of two goals on the night for Malkin. The Penguins star banked in a puck off of the skate of Brent Burns at 2:04 of the first period, giving the Penguins a 2-0 lead.That goal chased Antti Niemi, who also gave up a goal to Engelland just 24 seconds in, in favor of Thomas Greiss.McLellan had a couple reasons for making the change in net.I didnt think Niemi was ready to play though, either. Just like everybody else, said the coach, who wanted to change momentum, but also send a message that Niemi has to be ready to go, as well.Greiss stopped 29 of 30 shots in picking up his second victory. He also made a bit of history, becoming just the second goalie in the overtime era (since 1983-84) to come into a game in relief, play more than 60 minutes, and earn the win.I thought Tommy came in and played extremely well, and gave us a chance to work our way into the game, said McLellan.Malkin, who was the Penguins best player of the night, had a chance to put the Penguins ahead as their second shooter in the shootout. He faked a shot and tried to fire it past Greiss, but the Sharks goaltender didnt go for the move.I come out pretty far, try to make them go around me, said Greiss of his shootout strategy.It worked, giving Clowe a chance to win the game, which he did when he fired it below the blocker and above the pad of Fleury and Griess stopped Pascal Dupuis.
That gave the coach at least some measure of satisfaction.Todd said he would put us through the paces pretty good tomorrow, but at least we got the two points to sleep a little easier, he said.Odds and ends: The Sharks honored Thornton in a pregame ceremony for his 1000th game played and 1000th NHL point. Among the gifts was a wooly mammoth tusk, presented to him by his teammates. I think after the first everybody touched it, and it kind of gave us some luck, said Thornton. There was just one power play all night, in which the Sharks failed to convert in the third period. The last time the Penguins didnt have a power play in a game was Feb. 23, 2003. Brad Winchester got the decision on a fight with Craig Adams in the first, landing a good right hand. Jason Demers and Colin White were scratched in favor of Justin Braun and Jim Vandermeer. Benn Ferreiro was also scratched. ... The Sharks are 2-0 in shootouts this season, and 3-0 when a game goes past regulation.