Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 23rd
Game 2: Thursday, December 12th

Sharks 1

(7-10-2, 18 pts)

Penguins 4

(9-5-3, 24 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 23, 2002

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 11
PIT 0 4 04

M. Straka (Penguins - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

M. Lemieux (Penguins - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

J. Aubin (Penguins - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

Lemieux has goal, two assists in Pens' victory

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Martin Straka showed why Mario Lemieux thinks he's the perfect player to skate as his left wing.

Mario Lemieux

Martin Straka

The speedy and talented Straka set up Lemieux's 11th goal of the season and turned two of Lemieux's passes into goals as the Pittsburgh Penguins scored four second-period goals in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

"He's an important part of our line,'' said Lemieux, whose three-point night increased his league-leading total to 41. "He creates a lot of room out there with his speed. That's why for me, he's the best guy to play on the left side.''

Alexei Kovalev, Lemieux's right wing, also had an assist as the Penguins snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) against San Jose. Marc Bergevin also scored for Pittsburgh, which hadn't beaten the Sharks since Oct. 22, 1997.

Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 24 saves, including 11 in the third period when the Penguins established a team record by failing to record a shot on goal. Teemu Selanne had the lone goal for San Jose, which was playing its sixth game of an eight-game road trip and had its three-game unbeaten streak stopped.

"We just didn't play physical enough against a team that likes to play a wide-open game,'' San Jose's Vincent Damphousse said. "We were flat.''

Straka, who replaced Aleksey Morozov on Lemieux's line shortly after returning to the lineup from an off-season back injury, had just one point in five previous games before figuring in on three of the four goals Pittsburgh scored in a span of 11 minutes, 6 seconds.

Lemieux, who has 47 points in 13 career games against San Jose, scored the first goal at 7:06 when he got behind defenseman Jeff Jillson to convert Straka's cross-ice pass. "I just sneaked behind (Jillson), and Marty made a great play,'' Lemieux said. "He was patient.''

The Penguins increased their lead to 3-0 with goals 1:06 apart while the teams skated four-on-four. Straka took a pass from Lemieux behind the net and beat goaltender Evgeni Nabokov at 12:13 for his second goal of the season.

"I've been putting a little pressure on myself, because you want to help the team,'' Straka said. "So I'm glad I got going tonight. I think everything went my way, especially the first goal. I'm not really sure how I put it in.''

Nabokov was pulled in favor of Mikka Kiprusoff after Bergevin's wrister from the blue line floated over Nabokov's shoulder at 13:19. But the Sharks weren't about to blame Nabokov for the loss.

"You've got to outwork the Penguins, and we didn't do a good job,'' Mike Ricci said. "We left our goaltender out to dry.''

Pittsburgh's top-ranked power-play unit produced the next goal at 18:12, as Kovalev passed to Straka to create another two-on-one break. Straka used Lemieux as a decoy before scoring on a backhander.

Game notes

San Jose did not get a power-play chance. ... The Penguins scratched Randy Robitaille, Josef Melichar (shoulder) and Michal Rozsival (shoulder). San Jose scratched Todd Harvey and Shawn Heins. ... San Jose's Patrick Marleau failed to score for the first time in seven games. ... The victory was the Penguins' first at home against San Jose since Nov. 21, 1996. ... The Sharks are 2-2-1-1 on their long road trip. ... Pittsburgh's Dick Tarnstrom, the league's leading scorer among defensemen, had one assist to give him 21 points in 19 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press