Clowe propels Sharks past Penguins in shootout

(Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks rallied from an early two-goal deficit to upend the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout at the HP Pavilion Thursday.

With the home team trailing 3-1 in the third period, Ryane Clowe launched the comeback with a perfectly placed backhand under the crossbar and capped the rally with the only goal in the shootout.

Jamie McGinn scored the tying goal with a quick shot from the top of the crease with less than five minutes left in the game.

The Penguins blitzed the Sharks with goals from Deryk Engelland and Evgeni Malkin on weak shots from the boards in the first three minutes to chase starting goalie Antti Niemi.

Thomas Greiss came on and stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period to stem the Penguins' momentum.

"We had no business winning that game after the first period, but we found a way to get back into it," Sharks coach Todd McLellan told reporters.

"It's two points but we'll be discussing our starts. You can be sure about that."

Patrick Marleau burst through the Penguins defense and fired a wrist shot that trickled past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to draw the Sharks to within one early in the second period, but Malkin restored Pittsburgh's advantage seven minutes later with his second goal of the game.

"We opened up great, came out and did exactly what we wanted to do," Penguins forward James Neal said.

"We knew they were coming off a long road trip, we wanted to jump on them as quickly as we can, and we did that. We executed and then coming into the second, we knew that they were going to come back hard at us and they did.

"We managed it and then in the third they got a couple and our coverage was sloppy."

(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)