Sullivan less than thrilled with Pens’ effort

The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get his first NHL hat trick. It was more than a five-year wait for the second one, which came while he’s playing perhaps the best hockey of his career.

Hertl knocked down Evgeni Malkin with his backside to score his first goal, got the second off a rebound and capped a big night with an empty-net goal that gave him 100 for his career and sealed the seventh straight win for the San Jose Sharks, 5-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.

Joe Thornton celebrated his 1,000th game for San Jose with a goal, Marcus Sorensen also scored and Evander Kane had three assists as the Sharks improved to 16-3-2 in their past 21 games with a convincing victory over the dangerous Penguins.

Martin Jones made 22 saves to tie a career best by winning his eighth straight start.

Kris Letang and Derick Brassard scored for the Penguins, who have lost two in a row following a stretch of 10 wins in 11 games. Matt Murray stopped 24 shots but had his career-high nine-game winning streak snapped.

“They brought their A game tonight,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “They were really good. They’re one of the better teams we’ve played this season. They outplayed us all over the rink. We weren’t good enough and I know we are better than that. We didn’t execute tonight.”

Brassard scored late for the Penguins after Murray had been pulled, but it wasn’t enough as the Sharks restored their three-goal lead with Hertl’s empty-netter.

The Penguins opened the scoring when Letang finished a brilliant end-to-end rush by skating around Erik Karlsson and beating Jones with a backhand. But the Sharks got most of the chances after that and took control with two quick goals of their own.

They tied the game when Karlsson’s shot from the top of the circle deflected off Sorensen and into the net. San Jose took the lead with a highlight-reel goal from Hertl, who got the puck in the corner, knocked down Malkin, skated toward the middle, deked Jack Johnson and beat Murray to the far side.

“They outdid us in every zone,” Penguins forward Phil Kessel said. “Obviously, we didn’t do the little things right. They got to our net a lot. They got some rebound goals. Offensively we didn’t create enough opportunities for our guys.”

On the ice

Tonight: Idle

Next up: Pittsburgh Penguins at Arizona Coyotes, Friday, 9 p.m.

TV: AT&T SportsNet

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