Pens seek rare road win in San Jose

( - The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to close a four-game road trip with a third consecutive victory when the surging club visits the San Jose Sharks in Monday's clash at SAP Center.

The Penguins lost the opener of the swing in Colorado before beating Anaheim and Los Angeles on consecutive nights this weekend.

Pittsburgh slammed the Ducks, 5-2, on Friday behind a two-goal performance from Patric Hornqvist, who then scored the only goal in Saturday's 1-0 overtime victory against the Kings. The Pens also received a 31-save shutout performance from Marc-Andre Fleury to down the defending champions in L.A.

Hornqvist scored 1:44 into OT after Kings forward Jeff Carter attempted an ill-advised pass for Dwight King in front of the L.A. goal. King was unable to handle the puck and Paul Martin caused a turnover before Hornqvist quickly grabbed the puck in the slot and snapped it home for his 22nd goal of the season.

The 28-year-old Swede has seven goals over his last seven games. His 22 goals in 56 games this season ties his total from 76 outings with Nashville in 2013-14.

Fleury made 12 saves in the first period, 10 in the second and nine in the third, but he didn't face any shots in OT. The veteran netminder leads the NHL this season with a career-high nine shutouts.

"This was a physical game between two of the top teams in the league," said Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston. "I was really impressed with our ability to hang in there tonight. This was a real gutsy win."

Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin had a seven-game point streak come to an end in the win, which improved the Pens' road record to 18-8-6.

The Penguins have won six of their last seven games and sit third in the Metropolitan Division and two points behind the New York Rangers. Washington is three points behind Pittsburgh in fourth place. Both the Capitals and Rangers are idle on Monday.

San Jose hopes to get back on track tonight after having a two-game win streak snapped Saturday by Vancouver in the opener of a four-game homestand. It was the ninth loss in the last 10 home games for the Sharks, who are just 15-15-5 as the host this season.

After slamming the Canucks, 6-2, on the road Tuesday, the Sharks were unable to bury the Canucks in San Jose despite taking an early 2-0 lead. Vancouver scored the final three goals of the contest to take Saturday's tilt at the Shark Tank in regulation.

Vancouver's Radim Vrbata cut the deficit in half when he tallied with 39 seconds left in the opening period. After Bo Horvat tied it up in the second, Vrbata completed the scoring by notching a power-play marker at 5:21 of the third.

Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots in the loss, while Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton supplied goals for the Sharks.

"It's our biggest game to date," said Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. "We got the start we wanted and we get the lead and we gave it away. We can be better than that. We had chances, probably enough to win."

With 72 points, the Sharks are in fifth place in the Pacific Division. However, San Jose is only five points behind Calgary for the last of the division's three automatic playoff bids.

San Jose also trails Winnipeg by six points for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Sharks have owned Pittsburgh in this series for well over a decade and the Penguins haven't won in San Jose since posting a 5-2 victory on Oct. 22, 1997. Pittsburgh has gone without a win in 11 its last trips to Northern California.

San Jose is 15-2-1 with a tie in the last 19 overall meetings in this series.

Fleury is likely to get the start for Pittsburgh tonight and is 2-2-2 with a 2.51 goals against average in his career versus San Jose. Niemi is 3-1-1 with a 3.11 GAA in six lifetime outings against the Pens.