Remember when people were worried that Martin Jones may not be able to handle being a full-time goalie? What fun we had. I think it’s clear that not only can he handle it, he’s freaking crazy good! In a game where the Sharks were overwhelmed by the Penguins (again), Jones took a stand and stole a Stanley Cup Final win that San Jose had no business winning. But they did by a 4-2 margin and now we get to see the boys possibly force a gam seven.
So, lets talk about that first period. Can we talk about that first period? It was… crazy to say the least. After not having the lead in-game for the entire series, the Sharks took it just 64 seconds in. Tommy Wingels was tied up behind the Penguins net and kicked the puck out behind him. Brent Burns came streaking behind the net and scored another wrap-around goal that looked just like Joonas Donskoi’s in game three’s overtime. Not even two minutes later, Logan Couture scored his ninth of the playoffs on a re-direct off a Justin Braun shot. Couture was in front of Murray and tipped it right under the goaltenders glove to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead not even three minutes into the game.
San Jose wouldn’t hold that lead for long though as Pittsburgh made a big push just minutes later. It all started when Dainius Zubrus was sent to the box for a delay of game penalty. The Penguins made the opposition pay for their mistake and Phil Kessel scored on a pass to the front of the net that went off of Justin Brauns leg. Less than a minute later, just 5:06 into the opening frame, Carl Hagelin would tie up the game after deflecting a shot from Nick Bonino.
After the Penguins tied it up, they took the game over for a little bit. They went to another power-play and hit post twice in a row. That’s gotta be some sort of sign from the hockey gods that they weren’t meant to win this game. Shortly after, the Sharks started to get back into the game and the Melk-Man himself, Melker Karlsson, scored with a little over five minutes remaining to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead. Logan Couture had an impressive three points (1g, 2a) in that opening frame.
The second period had no scoring, but was very back-and-forth. The Sharks got a power-play when the Penguins received a ‘too many men on the ice penalty’ and had some scoring chances, but couldn’t send anything home. Later, the Penguins got another man-advantage, but also couldn’t light the lamp. They had a couple of great chances to tie it up, but never did. The best save of the period and the game came when Martin Jones made a desperation save on a backhanded shot by Nick Bonino. After making the initial save on a Pittsburgh shot, Jones couldn’t stop the rebound and Bonino came across the slot. He took a shot and the Sharks goaltender made a gorgeous save by extending his left pad just enough to stop the shot. It was amazing. Just like our goalie.
The first six minutes of the third were pretty much all Pens. They were getting chances galore and the only reason the Sharks kept their lead was because of Martin Jones’s amazing play. He stood tall and made some gorgeous saves to keep the Sharks hopes alive. That’s not to say San Jose had no chances. Patrick Marleau had a great opportunity to give the good guys a two-goal lead with around twelve minutes remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, Matt Murray made an even better save to keep it 3-2. Still, Pittsburg held the pressure for the first fourteen minutes of the third and San Jose were on their heels. The Pens even dominated when they had to kill a penalty with six minutes left, never letting the visitors even establish a forecheck and set up some sort of attack. Thankfully, the Pens couldn’t turn any of that pressure into goals and Joe Pavelski sealed the win with an empty net goal with less than two minutes remaining. It was his first goal of the series.
- Logan Couture had a great game. Doonskoi, Burns and Vlasic also did.
- Pavelski looked frustrated out their tonight. Hopefully that empty-netter goal will give him some confidence.
- The NBC Intermission guys gushing over Crosby after the second period was classic NHL. The guy had one shot on net and a -1 rating. Sure he played well, but he didn’t deserve a whole spot designated to him. NHL gonna NHL though.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Couture (1g, 2a)
2. Jones (44 Saves)
3. Sheary (Five Shots)