Pittsburgh Penguins (41-17-4) at Anaheim Ducks (43-14-6), 10 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - It hasn't been the best of road trips for the Pittsburgh Penguins and things won't get easier on Friday night when they visit the Anaheim Ducks in a matchup between the two conference leaders in the NHL.
The Penguins kicked off a five-game swing with a trip to Soldier Field in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. They lost that outdoor game 5-1 on Feb. 1 before rebounding to best the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
The Pens resumed their trip last night looking to win for the first time in San Jose since 1997, but saw the Sharks score four times in the third period en route to a 5-3 setback.
Rookie Olli Maatta had two goals for the Penguins, who are 0-9-1 with a tie in their past 11 games in San Jose. Pittsburgh backup Jeff Zatkoff was tested often by the Sharks and finished with 42 saves on 46 shots.
However, Zatkoff fanned with the glove on Joe Thornton's tie-breaking goal. Thornton let a rather innocuous looking wrister go from just inside the blue line at the left point that eluded the netminder with 5:39 remaining.
"We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for them in the second half of the game," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.
Pittsburgh has lost four of its past five overall, but still leads the Metropolitan Division by 14 points over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Penguins, with 86 points, are one ahead of the Boston Bruins for the most in the Eastern Conference and trail the NHL and Western Conference-leading Ducks by six points.
San Jose's win over Pittsburgh pulled the Sharks to within five points of the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division as Anaheim had a three-game win streak halted with Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Tim Jackman, Francois Beauchemin, and Daniel Winnik scored for the Ducks, while Jonas Hiller posted 28 saves in defeat.
"We came out a little slow and had to start catching up," said Hiller. "We weren't focused enough, starting from me all the way up front."
Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne missed the game with the flu.
The Ducks had won two in a row over the Penguins before a 3-1 setback in Pittsburgh on Nov. 18. It was the Pens' fifth victory in the past seven meetings overall, though they have lost six of their last seven in Anaheim.
Hiller is 2-2-0 with a 3.02 goals against average in his career versus the Penguins, though he did not face them back in November.
Pittsburgh starter Marc-Andre Fleury did get the start on that day and made 27 saves. He improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.30 GAA lifetime versus the Ducks.
Anaheim Goal - Corey Perry (33), from Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu at 3:54. 2,
Pittsburgh Goal - Deryk Engelland (6), from Jussi Jokinen and Evgeni Malkin at 7:47.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh (Slashing), 1:27; Tanner Glass, Pittsburgh (Fighting (maj)), 8:21; Patrick Maroon, Anaheim (Fighting (maj)), 8:21; Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim (Tripping), 10:00; Bryan Allen, Anaheim (Tripping), 13:10; Joe Vitale, Pittsburgh (Diving), 13:10; James Neal, Pittsburgh (Hooking), 17:42.
Lee Stempniak, Pittsburgh (Tripping), :17; Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim (Hooking), 17:24.
Anaheim Goal - Corey Perry (34), from Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri at 1:10. 4,
Pittsburgh Power-Play Goal - Evgeni Malkin (19), from James Neal and Sidney Crosby at 8:57.
Kyle Palmieri, Anaheim (Tripping), 8:14.
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Sutter scored the winner in the sixth round of the shootout as Pittsburgh took a 3-2 win over Anaheim in a battle of conference leaders at Honda Center.
In the sixth round, Sutter went to the backhand and lifted it high past Jonas Hiller. Ryan Getzlaf had the last chance for Anaheim, but he missed with a backhand attempt.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist and Deryk Engelland also scored for the Penguins, who hold a three-point lead over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots in the win.
Corey Perry had both goals for the Ducks, who lead the Western Conference and the NHL with 93 points, three better than St. Louis. Hiller turned away 15 shots in the loss.
Anaheim took a 1-0 lead at 3:54 of the first period when Getzlaf blasted a shot on net from the left circle and Perry was there to clean up the mess.
Pittsburgh, though, scored four minutes later as Engelland picked up a loose puck in the high slot and snapped it in for his sixth of the year.
Anaheim took a 2-1 lead at 1:10 of the third period, as a good forecheck caused a turnover behind the net, and Getzlaf sent a little pass from the front of the net to the right where Perry tapped it home.
The Pens tied the game at 8:57 on the power play as Malkin's wrister from the right circle went into the left corner of the net with Chris Kunitz providing a screen in front.
Hiller made a pad save on a Sidney Crosby breakaway early in overtime to send the game to the shootout.