SAN JOSE —- Breaking down the San Jose Sharks’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on Saturday night.
What happened: Finnish rookie Joonas Donskoi scored 13 minutes into overtime as the Sharks won their first Stanley Cup Final game in team history and cut the Pens’ series lead to 2-1.
Donskoi’s shot floated over the shoulder of Pens goalie Matt Murray. It was his first goal of the Final and sixth of the playoffs — and likely the biggest in franchise history.
His goal also marks the first time in the series the Sharks earned a lead.
“We have to find a way to get out front going forward,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “We have been playing from behind too much in the series. It’s a huge win. It changes the series.”.
The Sharks had four minutes with the extra man to work with after Penguins forward Nick Bonino received a double minor for high-sticking Joe Thornton nearly five minutes into the third period. .
A split second before Bonino was about to exit the box, Joel Ward scored on a shot from more than 40 feet out to tie the game, 2-2, with 11:12 left in regulation. Murray admitted after the game that “it wasn’t a good goal by any means.”.
The Penguins had pulled ahead, 2-1, after forward Patric Hornqvist deflected a shot from the point by defenseman Ben Lovejoy in the final minute of the second period.
The Sharks had their best first period of the final so far, but still trailed after Lovejoy scored 5:29 into the game. The unassisted goal glanced off Sharks defenseman Roman Polak and past goalie Martin Jones, who had misplayed the puck moments earlier.
Justin Braun — who entered the Final with one career playoff goal — scored his second goal in as many games, a shot from the point that beat a screened Murray. Thornton assisted on the tally midway through the first.
What the Penguins did well: The Pens opened the scoring with another first-period goal, something Pittsburgh also did in the first two games of the series. Pittsburgh wasn’t as dominant as they were on home ice, but outshot the Sharks 14-6.
The Pens have turned into shot-blocking monsters this series, which was very evident in Game 3. Pittsburgh had 38 blocked shots. (The Sharks had 22.) Sharks defenseman Brent Burns had 12 of his shots blocked, taking away one of San Jose’s top scoring threats.
“When they use the points, we have to get in the lanes,” Pens coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think our guys are doing a pretty good job of that for the most part.”.
Murray was again mostly solid in the Pens’ net with some of his better stops coming in the second period as the Sharks held a 9-6 shot advantage. His two key stops in the period: Trapping a point-blank attempt by Burns and a sprawling pad stop to stymie a Ward shot off an odd-man rush. (The final two goals the Sharks scored were very savable, however.) He finished with 23 saves on 26 shots.
Sharks coach Pete DeBoer recalls meeting Muhammad Ali.
What the Sharks did well: Despite a better start by the Sharks, the burden again fell to Jones to keep the Sharks in it before his teammates began to have some meaningful zone time near the end of the first and a good portion of the second.
DeBoer continued to shift the lines, something that he was forced to do even before the puck dropped as Tomas Hertl was unavailable with a lower-body injury. The changes allowed the Sharks to cope without the speedy Hertl. Melker Karlsson took Hertl’s spot in the lineup and played more than 15 minutes in regulation. After the game, DeBoer said Hertl is day-to-day.
The power play goal by Ward was the Sharks’ second in five opportunities in the Final. San Jose has scored 19 goals in 68 opportunities (27.9 percent) overall in the playoffs.
Jones was solid throughout, especially in the first several minutes overtime as the Pens applied pressure. He finished with 40 saves.
What’s next: Game 4 will be back at SAP Center on Monday.