Penguins edge Sharks late to take Stanley Cup Final Game 1 – USA TODAY

8 months ago Comments Off on Penguins edge Sharks late to take Stanley Cup Final Game 1 – USA TODAY

PITTSBURGH — Breaking down the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on Monday night. 

What happened: Penguins forward Nick Bonino scored the game winner with 2:33 left in regulation to steal the contest. The goal was set up via a pass from the corner by defenseman Kris Letang to an open Bonino, who, in turn, shot it past Sharks goalie Martin Jones.  

San Jose had a prime chance to tie the game for the second time on the night as Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy was sent to the box for hooking with two minutes left. But even as Jones sat for the extra attacker as the clocked ticked down, the Sharks couldn’t find the equalizer.

The Sharks overcame a two-goal deficit with a power play goal by Tomas Hertl in the second period and a wraparound tally by Patrick Marleau. San Jose defenseman Brent Burns assisted on both goals. 

The Penguins played one of the most dominant first periods of Stanley Cup hockey in recent seasons, outclassing the Sharks in every aspect for the first 20 minutes. 

Goals by Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary came 1:02 apart to put the Penguins up 2-0 just past the midway point of the first. Rust had scored the Pens’ last three playoff goals before Sheary ended that streak. 

About that first period: The Sharks were fortunate to exit the first period only down by two. The Pens put a total of 15 shots on Jones. With the blocked and missed shots factored in, Pittsburgh had 27 shot attempts in that first period. 

The Sharks, meanwhile, had four shots on net, all stopped by Pens goalie Matt Murray.

What the Penguins did well: Pittsburgh was unable to match what it did in the first for the rest of the game, but that’d be a tough feat. 

Murray, a rookie, was solid, even if he was out of position on Marleau’s goal. (He also appeared to be screened on Herl’s goal since he didn’t react to the shot.) The rebounds he did allow were responded to by Pittsburgh’s defense and sent out of danger. Murray stopped 24 of the Sharks’ 26 shots. 

Captain Sidney Crosby set the tone early and assisted on Sheary’s goal. He also won 56 percent of his faceoffs.  

What the Sharks did well: Let’s start after the first period. Outside a few nice saves by Jones, a potential goal-saving poke check by Burns and a successful penalty kill, pretty much everything else went wrong. 

The Sharks’ power play continued to be potent. Hertl beat Murray three minutes into the second period for San Jose’s first tally, which came as Pens defenseman Ian Cole sat in the box for hooking.   

The other side of special teams was also effective as the Sharks killed off all three of the Pens’ power play chances. 

Jones stopped 38 of 41 shots. 

Supplemental discipline? Marleau was sent to the box for an illegal check to the head of Rust 4:47 into the third period. (Such hits are often reviewed by the NHL Department of Player Safety). Minutes later, Rust went to briefly to the locker room before he returned to the bench. 

What’s next: Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final will be here on Wednesday before the series shifts to San Jose this weekend.

Penguins edge Sharks late to take Stanley Cup Final Game 1 – USA TODAY

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