The Sharks (62-1-0) headed back to the Shark Tank in San Jose to play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins (24-30-9) for the first time this season. Despite the Penguins' losing record, this proved to be one of the Sharks' biggest challenges to date.
Mario Lemieux opened the scoring for Pittsburgh on a feed from Eric Meloche early in the 1st period, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead that they took to the 1st intermission. It was the first time over 20 games that the Sharks had a deficit going into the 2nd period.
Mike Rathje took a roughing penalty early in the 2nd period and Eric Meloche capitalized on the ensuing powerplay for the Penguins to take a 2-0 lead, giving the Sharks their first 2-0 deficit since game 39 of the season (against the Chicago Blackhawks-the Sharks went on to win that game 9-2). For the first time this season, the Sharks took a 2-0 deficit into the 2nd intermission. The Penguins had converted on the only powerplay of the game, and the shots were tied at 15 apiece.
The 3rd period of the game proved to be one of the closet of the season for the Sharks. Alexander Korolyuk scored 5 minutes into the period on a breakaway to cut the Sharks' deficit to 2-1. Several minutes passed before the Sharks' captain, Patrick Marleau, lifted the roof off of the Shark Tank by beating one defender and burying a backhand goal to tie the game at 2-2.
It looked like the game was headed for overtime when, with 6.4 seconds left in the 3rd period, Mike Rathje buried a one-time pass from Niko Dimitrakos to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead and eventual victory. In what was the Sharks' most difficult challenge since their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes early in the season, the Sharks managed to rally in the 3rd period to extend their winning streak to 55 straight games.
The Sharks will remain at the Shark Tank to take on the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. The Sharks are 3-0-0 against the Blues this season.