SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - As soon as the San Jose Sharks started taking the body, they took over the game.
“We got physical and that just totally turned the game,” Thornton said. “Everybody got into it after the big hits. Throwing the body around just changed everything.”
Justin Braun started the comeback with a goal late in the second and Patrick Marleau and Brent Burns scored tying goals earlier in the third for the Sharks, who have 10 wins and one tie in their last 11 home games against Pittsburgh.
Burns added an empty-net goal and Antti Niemi made 19 saves for San Jose.
“It was hard, it was dirty, it was everything,” said Sharks defenseman Jason Demers, who had an assist on Marleau’s short-handed goal and one of the big hits in the second period. “I think both teams played great games and we came out on top. It was a nice shot by Jumbo there for the win. It was just one of those games they are just great to play. You love playing those games and I’m sure it was great to watch, too.”
Olli Maatta scored two goals and Chris Kunitz also scored for the Penguins, who last won at the Shark Tank on Oct. 22, 1997. Star Sidney Crosby remained without a goal in six career games against San Jose and was on the ice for all five Sharks goals, leading to a career-worst minus-5 rating.
“We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for them in the second half of the game,” Crosby said. “Once they tied it at 3-3 they really came at us hard.”
Jeff Zatkoff made 42 saves in his first appearance since beating Los Angeles on Jan. 30.
But Zatkoff would probably like another chance to stop the goal scored by Thornton. On what looked like an innocent play, Thornton flipped a shot from the blue line that fooled Zatkoff and went in over his shoulder.
“It was just rolling and rolling and rolling,” Thornton said. “They say it’s never a bad thing to take a shot and I think I just got lucky. That’s all that was.”
It gave the Sharks just their third win all season when trailing after two periods and their first comeback from a two-goal deficit after one period since beating Pittsburgh here in Nov. 3, 2011.
San Jose outshot Pittsburgh 34-12 over the final two periods.
“They thrive on momentum in this arena,” Penguins forward Craig Adams said. “We took our foot off the gas and they took it over. We couldn’t get it back.”