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VIDEO: Sharks Edge Penguins In OT
By Jameson Bradley
They said it would be different when the series shifted to San Jose. They said don’t give up on the Sharks. They said it was going to be a great Stanley Cup Final. And they were right. The Finals went from Pittsburgh to San Jose, CA on Saturday night. While most of the world has the bay area pinpointed on a map because of the Warriors, the hockey world knows better. With the Sharks facing a 2-0 series deficit going into Game 3, they either looked to gain some ground, or started booking their tee times for next week.
The 1st period was a lively one. Maybe the most lively in the series. The Penguins peppered the Sharks with 14 shots during the frame, while the Sharks only managed to get off 6. Martin Jones, goaltender for the Sharks, has been incredible during the series despite his team’s performance. But after an extreme mishandle on his part he gave the puck away to a streaking Matt Cullen who tried to bank it back off the net-minder. The Sharks were in distress for a couple moments, and after what looked like a good clean exit, Penguins defender Ben Lovejoy gave a last chance effort shot with the puck still rolling. It went to the net, slowly, and suddenly banked off Sharks defender Roman Polak. Five minutes in, Pens up 1-0. Although the Sharks couldn’t even manage half the shots of their contenders, they did manage to even the score a couple minutes later. About 10 minutes into the period the Sharks got the puck deep and it found its way to Justin Braun who had the tying goal to force overtime in Game 2. With a couple of screen in front of Matt Murray, Braun fired away and got the tying goal. Murray didn’t even more. Really, no movement at all. The period would end with shots in an extreme tilt, but the score even 1-1.
The Sharks came out and applied the pressure in the 2nd period. They would, for once, have the shot advantage over the Penguins going 9-6. But also for once they would be the team that would have more shots, but somehow manage to fall under in the game. With a minute left the Crosby line was out and doing a great job keeping the puck in. Lovejoy came down from center ice to hold the line. He shot the puck and got a great tip off Patric Hornqvist for his 8th of the playoffs. The period would end 2-1 Pens.
The 3rd always seems to be the best hockey for one team and the worst for the other. That one team is usually San Jose. After going down 2-1 with a minute left in the 2nd, they tried to make a push for it. But even trying their best the Penguins out shot them 13-7. The real mistake came when Pittsburgh took a penalty for high sticking. A double minor against Nick Bonino. Although they had a 4 minute advantage to even the game, it took them until the last second and a 3 on 2 to get the job done. Joel Ward somehow found a hole in Matt Murray and go the puck in. Did I mention the shot was almost from the blue-line? But a goal is a goal and the game would be tied up 2-2.
It would take another overtime game to decide the winner. Shots were in favor of Pittsburgh during the extra frame 9-4, but it would be San Jose who would receive good fortune from the hockey gods. After a great keep in by the Sharks, Joonas Donskoi would get the puck. He wheeled around the net, turned, and fired a high shot past Murray’s shoulders. Sharks win their first ever SCF game, and bring the series to 2-1.
I know the Sharks won, but boy were they lucky. The first goal fooled Murray, but the second was one he should have had. I’m not picking on the Sharks. The numbers back me up. Since the start of the series shots have been in favor of Pittsburgh 113-74. That is a huge shot advantage. I am well aware the Sharks have kept these games close, forcing 2 out of the 3 into overtime. I am also a firm believer in if you get the puck to the net, things will happen. There are 39 extra times the Penguins have gotten the puck to the net when the Sharks haven’t. In 39 times those easily could have been the game winners to decide the series. San Jose played a great game and they have showed some tremendous resilience for continuously going down in the games and finding a way to tie them up. That can only work for so long. They need to find a way to manage how many shots the Penguins take. If it weren’t for a poorly taken penalty, the game could have ended 2-1. If they go down 3-1 with a loss next game, it will be extremely hard to find a way to win Game 5.
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