Pittsburgh Penguins double up the San Jose Sharks in a sound defeat in the Steel City

Mar 14, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing William Eklund (72) handles
Mar 14, 2024; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing William Eklund (72) handles / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Only 17 games left after tonight, and that's a good thing. The San Jose Sharks couldn't keep up with the might of the crumbling empire. It was a sound defeat in Pittsburgh as the Penguins ran away with a 6-3 win over the Sharks in a rematch of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final all those years ago. Now, it's just a case of getting to the end of the season for the Sharks while rebuilding value in the assets they can and seeing the youth prosper.

It started when the Penguins were able to get a net front. A point shot from Erik Karlsson was tipped in front by Noel Accari, and after a bright start, the Sharks found themselves trailing. We've seen that the Penguins have issues in this one and perhaps there would be areas to attack, but playing from behind is never something you want to do. Of course, it had to be the former Shark creating the goal in this one.

Henry Thrun would take the puck at the point and fire it across the ice to his defense partner Calen Addison who was loose in the slot. The former Penguins' draft pick had a shot that was stopped by Tristan Jarry, and the rebound was put home by Fabian Zetterlund to tie this game up at one midway through the first period. This had the feeling of a scorefest from here on.

With less than a minute to go in the first, Mikael Granlund would work a shooting chance for Klim Kostin. It was blocked and the puck would trickle into the corner. A jumping Marc-Edouard Vlasic would fire it on from the corner, and get it to bounce off the shoulder of Jarry and into the net to give the Sharks a lead late in the first frame.

Pittsburgh would tie it up in the second when the Sharks couldn't clear the zone. Emil Bemstrom picked the puck up behind the net trying to wraparound Magnus Chrona, but the puck comes off his stick and is loose at the back post. Jeff Carter is able to jump onto it and fire it home to get the Penguins back into this game and give that team life.

When the third line couldn't get the puck in deep, the Penguins would take advantage. Drew O'Connor found Evgeni Malkin entering the Sharks zone, but he dropped it back to O'Connor. His shot was dealt with by Chrona, but the rebound fell to Malkin who was able to bounce it off the legs of Chrona who accidentally kicked it into his own net to give the Sharks a lead.

San Jose would strike late in the second, when Marc-Edouard Vlasic took the puck at the back post and found Mikael Granlund alone in the slot. He found a wide open Klim Kostin at the backdoor and that was put home by the Russian winger who gets his first as a Shark, and San Jose had found a way to tie this game up.

Early in the third, Pittsburgh would get it back. A simple point shot from John Ludvig would beat everything. There were bodies out in front, but it wasn't deflected and it just found a hole on Magnus Chrona and get around the blocking efforts of Justin Bailey. A difficult one to give up sees the Sharks fall behind again.

Two minutes later, Ludvig got the puck back to Pierre-Oliver Joseph at the point. He fired it on from the point, and Rickard Rakell was able to win the battle in front against Kyle Burroughs to deflect the puck home with his skate. San Jose's team defense was proving to be a problem again, but the Penguins took a 5-3 lead, and it wouldn't be blown this time.

Bryan Rust would put the dagger in the empty net, but that is another defeat for the Sharks. They now sit two points behind the Blackhawks for dead last in the NHL with an extra game to play. It's pole position for Macklin Celebrini, but it's also a situation where the Sharks want to build confidence, and that comes through winning. What the organization needs and the players want may clash between now and the conclusion of this year.