Sharks-Penguins Preview

The Sharks' travel itinerary says they'll be flying back to San Jose at the end of the weekend, their longest road trip of the season behind them.

Based on their first four results, they might want to extend their stay.

The Sharks look to win a fifth straight to open this six-game trip Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose stars have paved the way to back-to-back victories following a players-only meeting.

San Jose (11-8-0) lost three of four at home before hitting the road, going 0 for 12 on the power play after coming up empty in nine man-advantage opportunities over its first four games at the SAP Center.

The Sharks got power-play goals from Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau that made the difference in a 5-4 win at Boston on Tuesday, then delivered nearly 65 minutes of sterling defense two nights later. Melker Karlsson scored with 1:15 left in overtime to give San Jose a 1-0 win as Martin Jones made 34 saves to earn his third shutout.

''Over 82 games you have to win all kinds of different ways,'' coach Peter DeBoer said. ''Tonight was a goalie win for us. You have to get timely contributions at different points from everybody. (Jones) was our best guy tonight.''

Karlsson made his season debut Nov. 10 at home, but he's helped carry the Sharks on the trip with three goals and an assist. All four San Jose victories have come by one goal.

''We needed a good road trip,'' DeBoer said. ''We talked about that, taking it one game at a time and trying to squeeze out wins. We weren't in a great spot after our homestand. To our guys' credit, it was a little bit of a gut check and we're finding a way here.''

So are the Penguins (12-7-0), who appeared to be in disarray after a 4-0 loss to New Jersey on Saturday that was the team's third defeat in four games.

But Evgeni Malkin was outspoken in a closed-door meeting that cleared the air, and he backed up his concern with two goals and two assists in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Minnesota, then scored again while Sidney Crosby got his first even-strength goal of the season – the game winner in the third period – in a 4-3 victory over Colorado on Thursday.

“You can get all the chances you want and you can do good things out there, but you have to produce,'' Crosby said. ''You look at the game, and if I don't take advantage of that chance, I'm probably sitting here wondering what could have been.''

The Penguins have won nine of their last 10 games decided by one goal.

Sixty-five minutes were not enough to decide either of last season's meetings. Crosby scored in the Bay Area on March 9 but the Sharks won 2-1 after an eight-round shootout, then Crosby and David Perron scored in the tiebreaker as Pittsburgh came away with a 3-2 victory 20 days later.

Six of the last 10 meetings in this series have gone past regulation, with five being decided in a shootout.

The Penguins have allowed a power-play goal in six straight games after going their previous six without allowing any. They're 9-1 this season when they keep opponents off the scoreboard during the man advantage.

A win Saturday would send the Sharks into the Sunday finale of their trip in Columbus with six straight road wins for the first time since a nine-game run in the 2009-10 season.