Penguins try to exorcise demons in San Jose

Pittsburgh's string of five straight victories is a thing game winless drought in San Jose.

The Penguins hope to put the break on that slide with their first victory at HP Pavilion in over 14 years over the Sharks, who will also be looking to rebound following the end of a five-game win streak.

Pittsburgh has lost seven straight in San Jose since a 1-1 tie on Oct. 30, 1999. It is 0-8-1 overall since its last win at what was then known as San Jose Arena on Oct. 22, 1997. Ron Francis and Jaromir Jagr both scored for the Penguins in that win.

The Pens had a host of momentum on its side thanks to a five-game win streak, but that run came to an end on Saturday with a 4-3 loss in Toronto. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in the back-and-forth affair, while Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz also scored.

Brent Johnson stopped 25 shots for Pittsburgh.

"To come back three times is a lot to ask and to come back a fourth time was too much to ask," Penguins forward Craig Adams said.

Still without Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy due to concussion issues, the Pens played for the 13th time in 26 games without Jordan Staal because of a lower-body injury. However, both Staal and defenseman Kris Letang (undisclosed) could suit up tonight.

"I'm going game-time," Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said of Staal and Letang. "See how they are in the morning and for the game. I'm hopeful that they'll be there for the game."

Marc-Andre Fleury is also likely to get the start and is riding a personal four-game win streak.

The Sharks return home following a 5-1 road trip and play the first of six in a row as the host tonight. They are just 1-2-0 at HP Pavilion this year, but are 7-0-1 in their last eight overall meetings with the Penguins since a 4-1 setback in Pittsburgh on Nov. 23, 2002.

Looking to wrap their trip perfect, the Sharks were instead handed a 5-2 loss by the New York Rangers on Monday. Antti Niemi gave up all five goals on 31 shots in the loss.

"We weren't a very good team tonight. We didn't a lot of the things that we needed to do," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said.

Joe Pavelski scored and also set up Logan Couture's second-period tally as he ended the trip with six goals and five assists. Couture added four goals and six points over the swing.