The Pittsburgh Penguins got the early jump in the Stanley Cup final with a riveting 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks in an opener decided by Nick Bonino’s goal with 2:33 to play. It was an inopportune defensive breakdown for the Sharks, as Brent Burns had dropped his stick, allowing Letang to make the pass, and Paul Martin didn’t react quick enough to Bonino in front.
The Penguins did manage to impose their speed on the Sharks again in the third, which eventually led to the game-winning goal. Many times during the opening game to the Stanley Cup Finals, Crosby was not too far off from receiving another assist. “We didn’t play our game”. We’re going to get chances.
Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau found the back of the net for the Sharks. His counterpart, Pittsburgh rookie Matt Murray, was solid with 24 saves, including nine in the third period.
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals will be on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, with faceoff scheduled for 8 p.m.
Sheary shot through a screen set by linemate Patric Hornqvist.
The first involved Game 7 hero Bryan Rust being in the right place at the right time to dunk a loose puck into the open net; the second involved a pretty Sidney Crosby backhand pass and a Conor Sheary shot through a screen. In college, he scored the tying goal with 17.4 seconds left in regulation in Boston University’s remarkable, late-game comeback victory over Miami (Ohio) in the 2009 national championship game. “But I thought it was a good performance by us because of how the guys handled the amplified spotlight that the Stanley Final brings”. They generated next to nothing offensively, turned pucks over constantly and lost seemingly every battle and race to the puck.
The Sharks goaltender only gave up three, but the deficit could have been worse for San Jose without the stellar play of their netminder.
Burns was an absolute tower of power in this one for the Sharks. “We’ve just got a play a little better next game.
We stood around and watched”, DeBoer said. “I don’t know, I think that we just did a really good job of not trying to feel the game out”. He played a team-high 27 minutes, 48 seconds Monday, most of which were quality minutes.
Sheary made it 2-0 only 1:02 later. If a particular team, or a group of teams, finds success playing a similar way, everybody else is going to try and duplicate it (that is how the dead puck era started in the mid-1990s, after all). Couture picked up an assist and now has 25 points to lead all National Hockey League scorers, three ahead of teammates Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski. DeBoer backed away from that a bit in his postgame news conference when someone asked if the Sharks had been struck by the Stanley Cup jitters. Their top five cap hits totaled about $31.2 million, leaving them room to fashion a deeper roster. Jones took the loss for San Jose, but was also dynamite in net, stopping 38 of 41 shots faced. They held up home ice and got contributions from across the board – the only downer has to be the health of Rust, who twice exited the contest after taking a hit to the head from Marleau. Pittsburgh failed to muster even a single shot though.
In the end, the Penguins got a few more plays from their stars.
He left the bench to presumably go through concussion protocol, came back for one shift, then left the game for good.
The teams both had quality chances in the third.
The Penguins came out blazing in the first. Marleau was given a two-minute minor for illegal check to the head on the play. This series should go back to San Jose tied at 1-1.
It looked like the Penguins would carry their 2-1 advantage into the third period, but the Sharks stunned the Consol Energy Center crowd with the tying goal with just 1:48 left, Patrick Marleau sneaking the puck past the right pad of Murray on a attractive wraparound.