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Couture leads Sharks past Penguins 6-4 to end four-game skid

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Logan Couture and the San Jose Sharks made sure they didn’t let a late third-period lead slip away for a second consecutive night.

Couture had two goals and three assists for his first career five-point game as the San Jose Sharks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-4 on Saturday night to snap a four-game skid.

One night earlier, Carolina tied the game with two goals in the final 1:37 and won in overtime, but the Sharks held off the Penguins 24 hours later.

“I’m not going to lie, it was tough going to sleep because you get (into Pittsburgh) late and you’re up for a few hours thinking about how that one (in Carolina) ended,” Couture said. “To the guys’ credit, we forgot about that one pretty quickly and rebounded well.”

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Alexander Barabanov had a goal and two assists, Erik Karlsson added a goal and an assist, and Michael Eyssimont and Noah Gregor also scored for the Sharks, who are 4-5-4 in their last 13 games. Marc-Edouard Vlasic had two assists and Kaapo Kahkonen made 37 saves.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist to pass Stan Mikita for sole possession of 15th-place on the NHL’s all-time points list with 1,469 — 62 points behind Paul Coffey for 14th. Crosby also tied Mikita for 32nd-place with his 541 goal — three behind Maurice Richard in 31st.

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist, and Ryan Poehling added a short-handed goal for Pittsburgh, which snapped a six-game point streak (3-0-3). Casey DeSmith stopped 26 shots.

“It’s frustrating when we beat ourselves because we don’t manage the puck appropriately in the critical areas of the rink,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “When you look at some of the goals they scored, it was a direct result of that.”

Malkin tied the score 4-4 at 10:06 of the third with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot. Malkin is four points from 1,200 for his career.

Couture put the Sharks ahead for good 5 1/2 minutes later as he converted a 2-on-1 with Barabanov after a Pittsburgh turnover and a bad defensive line change.

Couture added an empty-netter with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win.

“(Couture) was huge, not only with the points, but the way he played,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “He really made sure that we weren’t going to lose tonight.”

Eyssimont opened the scoring 1:25 into the game with his third career goal, and second in two games. He was claimed off waivers from Winnipeg earlier this month.

Malkin answered at 5:45 with a power-play goal. Crosby had an assist on the play to break a tie with Mikita on the points list and extend his points streak to seven games.

Crosby put Pittsburgh in front with 7:05 left in the first with the Penguins’ second power-play goal of the night and eighth in the last six games. Crosby initially tipped Malkin’s point shot and converted his own rebound near the post. Jake Guentzel stretched his point streak to five games with an assist on the play.

Karlsson scored his 16th with 6.5 seconds left in the first period to tie the score 2-2. It was his 65th point of the season, passing Sandis Ozolinsh for fifth-most in a season by a defenseman in franchise history.

Gregor put the Sharks ahead when he converted a rebound behind DeSmith at 4:54 of the second.

Poehling tied it 3-3 with a short-handed goal with 5:06 left in the second, but Barabanov put the Sharks in front again with 2:53 remaining in the period.

UP NEXT

Sharks: At Tampa Bay on Feb. 7 to return from the All-Star break and continue an eight-game trip.

Penguins: Host Colorado on Feb. 7.

___

AP NHL: www.apnews.com/hub/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports