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Penguins 4, Sharks 0

December 14, 1996

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ The Sharks’ game plan was to try to contain Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux, and for the most part they contained Pittsburgh’s top two offensive threats.

Jagr had a goal and Lemieux had the second assist on the score. As it turned out, that score alone would have been enough for the win but Pittsburgh got more, beating the Sharks 4-0 Friday night. The Penguins also had a pair of goals from Tomas Sandstrom and rookie goaltender Patrick Lalime registered his first shutout.

``What’s the sense of holding Jagr and Lemieux if we lose the game?″ San Jose defenseman Todd Gill said. ``We sat back and let those guys wheel and deal.″

It was the sixth straight victory for Pittsburgh, which also extended its unbeaten streak to 10. The Penguins are 8-0-2 in that span.

``It was nice to continue the little streak we’re on,″ said Pittsburgh coach Ed Johnston. ``Lalime came up with a couple of key saves for us. Overall, I thought it was a very solid effort for 60 minutes.″

Lalime earned his fourth win since being recalled from Cleveland of the International Hockey League last month. He has spelled Ken Wregget, who has assumed the bulk of the goaltending chores for Pittsburgh in the absence of Tom Barrasso, sidelined with a shoulder injury.

``The team is playing well right now,″ he said. ``But it’s the first time in five or six years that I handled only 20 shots. When I play, the guys seem to tighten up defensively.″

The Penguins also got off only 20 shots.

``Pittsburgh doesn’t need much to get a scoring a chance, and when they get a chance they make you pay,″ San Jose coach Al Sims said.

As for the Sharks’ offense, Sims said, ``It was like watching paint dry. We didn’t do anything to get ourselves excited.″

The Penguins, unbeaten (5-0-1) in six games in San Jose, got their first goal when Tyler Wright scored for only the second time this season, deflecting Dave Roche’s shot into the net 9:34 into the game.

Jagr’s 30th goal came 4 1/2 minutes later and finished a dazzling scoring sequence. Mario Lemieux got the play going with a cross-ice pass to Kevin Hatcher, who skated from the right wing toward the net.

Hatcher faked a shot, getting Tony Granato and Sharks goaltender Chris Terreri to leave the net and come out after him, before pulling the puck back and dropping a pass to Jagr. With the net unguarded, Jagr wristed the puck in from the top of the slot for a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead.

The Penguins added a third goal when Petr Nedved intercepted a pass by Jeff Friesen in the San Jose zone and took off down the middle of the ice. He dished off to the trailing Sandstrom, who skated in alone and beat Terreri, flipping the puck over his right shoulder.

Sandstrom put in Hatcher’s rebound for the Penguins’ final score with 12:07 remaining.

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