SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – All it took for the Pittsburgh Penguins to end an 18-year drought in San Jose was a couple of fortuitous bounces.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists and Phil Kessel scored twice to help the Penguins get their first win in San Jose since 1997, 5-1 over the Sharks on Tuesday night.
“They’re dangerous at home as everybody knows,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. “It’s a long time. It’s a tough building to win in.”
David Perron added a goal and an assist and Matt Cullen also scored for the Penguins, who had lost 10 straight at the Shark Tank. Pittsburgh had gone winless in 12 games here since beating San Jose 5-2 on Oct. 22, 1997, garnering only one tie during the skid.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 33 saves to help Pittsburgh get off to a strong start on a four-game road trip.
Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks, who have lost two of three at home following a perfect six-game road trip. Martin Jones made 24 saves.
“It’s frustrating when you think you play well and you don’t think it’s a 5-1 game,” defenseman Paul Martin said. “There were some rebounds, some second-chance opportunities but it seemed like they were always there to slap it into the corner and make us start all over again.”
After years of struggles in San Jose, the Penguins built a 2-0 lead with some help from some fortunate deflections. The only goal in an action-packed first period came when Kessel skated out from behind the net and attempted a centering pass that deflected off Martin’s skate and sneaked past Jones on the short side.
“That was puck luck for sure,” said Kessel, who had just one goal in the previous nine games. “It hit off a guy twice. That was puck luck there.”
Pittsburgh added to the lead early in the second period when Cullen banked a rebound from behind the net off Jones’ pad and into the goal for his second of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Malkin skated around Martin and beat Jones on a wraparound. Malkin, who also assisted on Kessel’s goals, has eight goals and five assists in his past seven games.
“It’s like we’re getting used to (Malkin),” Perron said. “We’re not even talking about it, his goal, but it’s another highlight reel at a key time. That’s right up there with the last two unreal goals he had. It’s amazing.”
Perron got a power-play goal midway through the third after San Jose was caught with too many men on the ice, and Kessel added an empty-netter to put the game away for Pittsburgh.
Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis did not play the third period because he was not feeling well.