The San Jose Sharks had a chance to split the series at 1 game apiece in Pittsburgh against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, it was the Pens that came out on top yet again. Here’s how it all unfolded.
Despite getting off to a decent start, the Penguins were still able to work their way back into the game in the first period, and Martin Jones — as he was in Game 1 — again had to be the game saver for the Sharks. The score remained scoreless until almost 10 minutes into the 2nd period when an atrocious turnover by Roman Polak in the Sharks’ defensive zone led to a dangerous chance by Pittsburgh who made it 1-0 off a Phil Kessel tap-in. Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin got the assists, and the well-known “HBK” line struck again.
The remaining second and third periods were filled with chance after chance, as both the Sharks and the Penguins rang pucks off the posts and crossbars, as both Jones and Matt Murray thanked the Hockey Gods the sound of iron didn’t translate into the red light going off behind them, at least not yet. Late in the third period as time winded down, it was Justin Braun who rang it off the post and tied it up at 1. Braun is currently going through some tough times in the family, so it was nice to see him chip in when it mattered most.
Unfortunately, the Sharks fell short in overtime as Connor Sheary converted on a Sharks face-off loss.
The Sharks played a little better in this game, and seemingly found their way in the late stages of the third, but… you have to play a 60-minute game. Again, the Sharks were outworked. They turned the puck over way too many times. I mean, that is unacceptable. The Penguins flat out looked like they wanted it more, albeit sitting back a little in the second and third periods, especially in the late stages of that third. I mean, when you cough up the puck especially in your own D-zone, you’re just asking to be scored on by the Penguins. I’m honestly worried about that third D pairing like everyone else is. Obviously while the Brendan Dillon-Roman Polak pairing may have slid by in previous rounds, this is the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is the Stanley Cup Final, and this is a whole new animal we’re talking about. So, while it’s unlikely that Pete DeBoer would actually sit Polak and put in a guy like Dylan DeMelo as I’ve read and heard being suggested, that could be an idea.
Bottom line is these guys have to be better and they know it. The leaders — Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture — know they have to be better. Tomas Hertl was one of the few whom I could really say had their legs going. It’s just unfortunate that he had a couple off the posts. Chris Tierney had one, I believe, off the crossbar. So, yeah. You could say puck luck wasn’t on their side, but neither was it for the Penguins. You have to make your own luck, and in my eyes, the Sharks didn’t manufacture enough of their own luck. Just regroup and hopefully be much, much better in Game 3 on Saturday. That’s all we can really ask at this point, and then we’ll see what happens and go from there.
Coverage for Game 3 will start at 5 PM as it has been and will be throughout this whole series. It will be on NBC. For you Canadian viewers, it’s on CBC and TVA Sports. As always, Pucknology will have you covered for the pregame as well as everything else Sharks and in the hockey world. ‘Til then, we still believe in our team. We still bleed teal no matter what, and we’ll still go in with the Chomp.