Penguins defeat Sharks for eighth straight win after 13-day break


PITTSBURGH — Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust each had a hat trick, and the Pittsburgh Penguins extended their win streak to eight in their first game in 14 days with an 8-5 victory against the San Jose Sharks at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Rust scored five points (three goals, two assists) after missing 11 games with a lower-body injury, and Jake Guentzel extended his point streak to 14 for the Penguins (18-8-5), who last played since Dec. 19, a 3-2 win at the New Jersey Devils, before having five games postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. Kris Letang had three assists, and Casey DeSmith made 22 saves.

Logan Couture scored in his 800th NHL game, Timo Meier had three assists and Zach Sawchenko made 20 saves in his NHL debut for the Sharks (17-15-1), who scored four straight goals after falling behind 6-1. Sawchenko entered at the start of the second period after James Reimer allowed six goals on 17 shots in the first.

The Penguins scored on four of their first six shots.

Rodrigues made it 1-0 on Pittsburgh’s first shot at 1:03 of the first. He deked above San Jose defenseman Radim Simek to the slot for a wrist shot.

Guentzel, who missed five games with an upper-body injury, took a pass from Rust for a one-timer that made it 2-0 at 3:12.

Rodrigues scored on a backhand, extending the lead to 3-0 at 4:11, and Rust made it 4-0 with a wrist shot from the slot at 6:09.

Alexander Barabanov cut it to 4-1 at 15:33 of the first, knocking down a pass from Meier for a tap-in.

Kasper Bjorkqvist scored in his NHL debut, pushing the lead to 5-1 at 16:29 of the first, and Rust made it 6-1 on a one-timer with 28 seconds remaining in the period.

Brent Burns cut it to 6-2 with a power-play goal at 14:27 of the second.

Matt Nieto dumped the puck off the end boards before it bounced back, hitting off DeSmith and going in 20 seconds into the third period to make it 6-3.

Erik Karlsson cut it to 6-4 with a slap shot at 3:01 before Couture tapped in a pass from Meier to make it 6-5 at 4:09.

Rodrigues scored his third of the game on a power play to make it 7-5 with 2:01 remaining before Rust completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 11 seconds left for the 8-5 final.

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