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SAN JOSE Frederik Andersen Jersey , Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks have been struggling to score on the power play early this season. Splitting up star defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson to put them on different units helped do the trick.Logan Couture had his third career hat trick and the Sharks scored three times on the power play to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-1 Thursday night in their first game back from a five-game road trip.“It felt better as a participant on the power play and I’m sure it looked better from up top,” Couture said. “Both those guys are comfortable in that spot. They both wanted to be there. I think that gives us two strong units now.”Each one got off to a fast start as Couture and Joonas Donskoi scored power-play goals 27 seconds apart in the first period following a double-minor against Kyle Okposo for high-sticking.Joe Pavelski also scored on a power play in the third, giving the Sharks three goals with the man advantage after netting just two in the first six games.“Every once in a while it gets hot and cold. It’s about sticking with it,” Pavelski said. “We kind of talked about just getting back to certain things that make us successful on it. We played pretty fast on it, pretty direct at times, won some faceoffs and some goals came off it. So that’s a good formula for us. It’s always been.”Couture added an even-strength goal in the third off a feed from Evander Kane and capped the night with an empty-net goal.Martin Jones made 24 saves for the Sharks.Jake McCabe scored for the Sabres, who fell to 1-2 on their five-game Western swing. Carter Hutton made 34 saves.The Sabres failed to convert on five chances with the man advantage and gave up three power-play goals.“When special teams are struggling as much as it is and power plays are struggling, you’ve got to go back to work and go back to simplicity,” McCabe said. “Look at their power play — it was nothing special, they’re getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net and it creates chaos and it’s tough to defend.”The Sharks have had a rough go on the power play early this season as they work on incorporating Karlsson into the unit. San Jose converted just two of its first 21 chances with the man advantage before capitalizing early against the Sabres when Okposo was called for high-sticking Rourke Chartier.Late in the first power play, Karlsson’s shot from just inside the boards deflected off Donskoi and into the net to give San Jose the lead and another chance with the man advantage.The Sharks didn’t take long to convert that one as Couture won an offensive zone draw and got the puck back from Burns on top of the circle and beat Hutton for his second goal of the season.That was part of seven power-play chances in a penalty-filled first period that featured only 8:35 of even-strength play. The Sabres were unable to convert their three chances, generating just two shots on goal and one off a post by Casey Mittelstadt.“You put an emphasis on 5-on-5 but it takes more than that to win a hockey game. You’ve got to score on the power plays and kill penalties and we didn’t do that,” Okposo said. “So we have to put together the whole package.”Buffalo’s best chance came on a flurry late in the period, but Jones made a key save and Couture blocked a shot by Marco Scandella when Jones was out of position.The Sabres got on the board early in the second when McCabe beat Jones with a shot from the circle that went through a screen.NOTES: Couture also had hat tricks against Vancouver in 2016 and the Islanders in 2017. … Kane had two assists in his first game against the Sabres since being traded to the Sharks last February. … San Jose last scored three power-play goals in a game on Dec. 21 Womens Jake Gardiner Jersey , 2017, vs. Vancouver. … Sharks C Joe Thornton missed his fifth straight game with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee.UP NEXTSabres: At the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.Sharks: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday. PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel couldn’t find the back of the net for several games during the Penguins‘ recent slump.Now that the Penguins are starting to hit stride, Guentzel is starting to fill the net.Guentzel scored his first career regular-season hat trick and the Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Saturday night.“He’s a pretty consistent player for us,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “The thing I like about Jake is, even when he doesn’t score, he plays the game the right way. He just has a high intellect and reads plays well, but when he scores, he helps us win.”Guentzel’s first career hat trick came in the 2017 playoffs against Columbus, and he had another in the 2018 playoffs against Philadelphia.Guentzel has scored six goals in his last seven games overall after failing to score in the previous seven. He has 16 points in 13 regular-season and playoff games against Columbus. Guentzel also has nine goals, including two hat tricks, in his last eight games against the Blue Jackets.“Pucks just kind of keep finding me,” Guentzel said. “They’re just going in right now, so you have to try and ride it as long as you can.”Tanner Pearson also scored for the Penguins, who have won two of their last three after losing nine of their previous 10. Kris Letang had three assists and Sidney Crosby two. Phil Kessel continued an eight-game point streak for Pittsburgh and Evgeni Malkin has a seven-game run.Pittsburgh won its sixth straight against the Blue Jackets Tyler Graovac Jersey Womens , matching the longest win streak against Columbus. The Penguins also won their sixth straight at home against the Blue Jackets.Casey DeSmith made 37 saves for Pittsburgh.“I think we have improved the last four or five games,” Letang said. “We’ve been playing a lot better. We don’t get the result we want every time, but I think this was proof that we’re on the right track.”Cam Atkinson continued a career-best, seven-game goal streak with his 15th of the season. He tied the all-time franchise mark set in November 2002 by Geoff Sanderson. Atkinson, with nine goals and 13 points in seven games, owns the longest goal-scoring streak of any NHL player this season.“It was a nice, lucky goal, I guess,” Atkinson said. “I used their guy as a screen and it just happened to go in. That’s my game. I just keep shooting. When you have the hot stick, you have to shoot a little bit more and good things happen.”Scott Harrington also scored for the Blue Jackets, who lost for the second time in three games after winning five of their previous six. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 32 shots for the Blue Jackets.“We played a good third period,” Atkinson said. “We had chances, we just didn’t capitalize and bury those opportunities.”Harrington, Pearson and Guentzel scored three goals in 2:13 as Pittsburgh held an early 2-1 lead.Harrington Youth John Tavares Jersey , Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2011, opened the scoring for Columbus, but Pearson responded 45 seconds later with his third goal in four games.Guentzel took a drop pass from Crosby and sent a wrist shot behind Korpisalo from the slot to put Pittsburgh in front.Guentzel scored again on a second Crosby drop pass later in the period. Crosby powered around Columbus defenseman Markus Nutivaara and dropped a pass to Guentzel, who beat Korpisalo to the blocker side with a wrist shot.“(Crosby) is really good on his backhand, so you have to be ready at all times,” Guentzel said. “I was fortunate to be on the end of that.”Atkinson made it 3-2 when he scored in his seventh straight, but Guentzel restored Pittsburgh’s two-goal lead with his third of the game, a backhander from the top of the crease.“Sometimes the puck goes in, and other times it doesn’t, but (Guentzel) is on it every night in some capacity,” Sullivan said. “He had a strong game and he’s definitely a guy we’re going to rely on moving forward.”NOTES: Both teams had goals disallowed in the second period. … Penguins’ F Patric Hornqvist missed the game with a concussion. … Malkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third on the team’s all-time games played list and Letang equaled Brooks Orpik for most by a defenseman in team history. … Penguins’ D Jack Johnson played his former team for the first time since signing a five-year, free-agent contract with Pittsburgh in the offseason. Johnson spent seven seasons in Columbus. … Mike Sullivan coached in his 240th game with the Penguins, tying Bob Berry and Johnny Wilson for fifth-most in franchise history.UP NEXTBlue Jackets: Visit Detroit on Monday.Penguins: Travel to Winnipeg on Tuesday.
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