SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—The San Jose Sharks know if they’re going to compete for the top spot in the Western Conference they’ll have to step up their effort.
“We are still in the race for that first spot,” said Evgeni Nabokov, who made 31 saves. “We are four from first place. We have to look up top, but we have to not think too far ahead of us. We want to work harder, now that it is March.”
The Sharks (79 points) are tied with Vancouver and trail Detroit by four points and Colorado by two in the West.
“We have to keep pace and keep up—not so much look behind but keep looking ahead,” Marleau said. “We just have to win games and get points.”
Pittsburgh lost for the 18th time in 20 games and became the first team to be officially eliminated from playoff contention.
“Officially, I think we were eliminated a long time ago,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “We’re in a rebuilding process and everyone knew what was going to happened once the season started to go that way.”
Stuart opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 13:30 of the first period. Stuart took a cross-ice pass from Niko Dimitakos and shot the puck over Penguins rookie goalie Andy Chidio’s right shoulder. It was Stuart’s fifth goal of the season.
San Jose increased its lead in the second period when Marleau scored his 27th of the season with 7:21 left.
Preissing scored a power-play goal on a one-timer from Marleau for his second of the year to make it 3-1 at 10:25 of the third period. Korolyuk put in a rebound for his 10th of the season at 14:13.
Chidio made 26 saves in just his fourth NHL game. He was the winning goalie for the Penguins on Wednesday night when they broke their 18-game winless streak with 4-3 win over Phoenix.
The Sharks went 2-for-6 on the power play while Pittsburgh was 0-for-2.
San Jose placed defenseman Mike Ricci on the injured list before the game. Ricci strained his right shoulder in Thursday’s night’s game against Vancouver.He will be out a week.
San Jose called up Jim Fahey from the Cleveland Barons of the AHL. … The Penguins have been outscored 82-39 in the first period this season. … Vincent Damphousse became the Sharks all-time leader in consecutive games played with 229, breaking Ricci’s record of 228 set in 2000. … Pittsburgh is3-22-0-1 in 2004. … Since October 30, the Sharks are 30-11-8-6.