SAN JOSE — The San Jose Sharks played some season-best hockey on a recently concluded road trip, but failed to keep pace in their first home game in nearly a month.
The Sharks allowed even goals to Rickard Rakell and Jake Guentzel and had trouble settling goaltender Casey DeSmith in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the SAP Center. Sidney Crosby assisted on all three of Pittsburgh’s goals and now has 19 points in 20 regular season games against the Sharks.
DeSmith made 27 saves over the first two periods, including three on two Penguins power plays as the Sharks fell to 5-13-7 at home this season. The Sharks’ last home game before Tuesday was Jan. 18 against the Dallas Stars.
The Sharks played eight straight games from January 21 to Sunday and beat Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington along the way to help make it 3-3-2. Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Capitals represented their first victory by three goals or more since Jan. 1 in Chicago.
But that first home game after a long road trip was a sore spot for the Sharks all season, as they now go 1-8-2 in such games this season.
Goaltender Aaron Dell, making his first NHL start since Dec. 4, finished with 24 saves for San Jose, who travel to face the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. The Sharks are 12-14-4 on the road this season.
Dell started after James Reimer and Kaapo Kahkonen. Reimer is in bad shape, according to Sharks coach David Quinn, and Kahkonen suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of Sunday’s game after being hit in the head by the leg of Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Kahkonen skated on Tuesday morning, but Eetu Makiniemi was recalled from the Barracuda in the afternoon to support Dell.
MARCH: Logan Couture on Tuesday became the fifth shark to play in at least 900 games for the team, joining Patrick Marleau (1,607), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (1,215), Joe Thornton (904) and Joe Pavelski (963). on that list. Couture, drafted ninth overall by the Sharks in 2007, is fourth on the Sharks’ all-time points list with 677, and is just the ninth player in his draft class to reach 900 games.
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