Sharks top Penguins behind Tomas Hertl’s two goals

Evander Kane couldn’t help himself. Skating near the Penguins’ bench late in the third period Thursday, the Sharks’ forward took a peek at Pittsburgh’s whiteboard, which might — or might not — have written down the time it planned on pulling goaltender Casey DeSmith in an effort to get back into the game.

“I like to think a little bit of a savvy veteran thing to do, right?” Kane asked. “If you can see it, why wouldn’t you look at it?”

Even if it was hardly necessary. Not with the visiting Sharks well on their way to a 4-0 victory behind two goals from Tomas Hertl and a shorthanded marker by Kane in the first 14 minutes.

The Penguins, out of a mixture of frustration at their sloppy play and Kane’s gamesmanship, took exception, and it bubbled over into a late dust-up that ended with the odd sight of Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby mixing it up with San Jose’s Micheal Haley.

While Kane tussled with Tanner Pearson, Crosby traded punches with Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon before Haley — who has nine career goals and 592 penalty minutes — jumped in. The two were separated relatively quickly, and Haley downplayed the notion he was actually brawling with the three-time MVP.

“I don’t know if I’d call that a fight,” Haley said. “If all the fights were like that, I’d take it. My body would feel a lot better. No, actually. It’s pretty hard for me to get a hold of guys like him. But things happen in a hockey game, and I’m glad we came out on top.”

The scrum ended with Crosby, Haley, Dillon, Pittsburgh defenseman Marcus Pettersson all earning 10-minute misconducts, and Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan getting ejected. Sullivan declined to get into why he was tossed. He was only a bit more expansive on his team’s first-period pratfall that allowed San Jose to take command.

“We take a penalty a minute into the game and it snowballed from there,” Sullivan said. “We gave them three fairly easy goals. It’s hard to overcome that.”

“We made a few mistakes early and they happen to be big ones,” Crosby added.

Martin Jones stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn his 21st career shutout. Brent Burns picked up his 12th of the season late for the Sharks, whose eighth win in 10 games moved them one point behind Calgary for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

Stars 5, Blues 2: Jamie Benn had his first multigoal game since early October and host Dallas snapped St. Louis’ franchise-record 11-game winning streak. When Benn scored the game’s first goal 3:46 into the second period, the Blues trailed for the first time since Feb. 5 — a span of more than 517 minutes on the ice over 10 games.

Capitals 3, Maple Leafs 2: Alex Ovechkin scored to become the 14th player in NHL history with 650 goals and Braden Holtby made 40 saves for visiting Washington, which has two won in a row.

Lightning 2, Sabres 1: Nikita Kucherov scored the clinching goal in the shootout after scoring his 30th goal of the season in regulation to reach 100 points this season and host Tampa Bay won its eighth in a row.

Predators 2, Kings 1: Roman Josi had a goal and an assist and host Nashville took the Central Division lead with its third win in four games. The Predators have 77 points, one more than second-place Winnipeg.

Devils 4, Senators 0: Cory Schneider made 30 saves to earn his first shutout since November 2017 and host New Jersey won for the third time in four games.

Hurricanes 4, Panthers 3: Justin Williams had two goals and an assist and visiting Carolina rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Florida, which won seven of its previous nine games.

Wild 4, Rangers 1: Zach Parise had a goal and an assist to help visiting Minnesota end a five-game skid. New York defenseman Adam McQuaid left in the first period because of an undisclosed injury.

Canadiens 5, Flyers 1: Brendan Gallagher recorded his first career hat trick as host Montreal won its second in a row.

Oilers 4, Islanders 3: Connor McDavid scored 1:22 into overtime as host Edmonton ended a five-game losing streak.

Coyotes 3, Canucks 2: Alex Galchenyuk scored 1:54 into overtime as visiting Arizona won for the third time in four games. Vancouver has lost four of its past five.

Briefly: Washington acquired wing Carl Hagelin from Los Angeles for two draft picks. … Nashville put forward Craig Smith on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury.

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