Despite a tough opening loss in Game One, the Sharks should be very encouraged by the play of their netminder Martin Jones.
They almost delivered that staggering blow, but Sharks netminder Martin Jones was there to cover for the rest of his teammates.
Despite surrendering two goals in a 62-second span in the first, Jones gave team teal an opportunity to fight their way back into the game after being totally outclassed by the Penguins in the opening 20 minutes.
Jones was tremendous on this night, making 38 stops in his first-ever Finals appearance, but it wasn’t enough as Nick Bonino found a way to sneak one past him with 2:33 remaining to give Pittsburgh the 1-0 series advantage.
More from Editorials
- Korenar deserves a chance at the NHL level
- Three prospects the Sharks should consider drafting
- Red hot Couture provides a much needed boost
- Is it reasonable for the Sharks to fire Doug Wilson?
- NHL misses golden opportunity with Tahoe games
But this loss was far from Jones’ fault as he was clearly the best player wearing a white sweater last night. His teammates were no-shows in the opening 20 minutes, often standing around while the Penguins skated circles around them.
Jones was calm and collected as always between the pipes as Pittsburgh came after team teal in waves. He wasn’t overcome by the moment and looked very comfortable despite some dynamite chances against.
According to War-on-Ice.com, Jones made 13 high-danger saves to go along with another 11 medium-danger saves. It just goes to show the quality looks the Sharks allowed, and how stellar Jones was in coming up with the big save time and again.
He was strong while facing a barrage of 15 shots in the first period, many of which were in tight plays around the net with multiple bodies in front of him.
It could have easily been a three, or four-goal deficit facing the visitors after one period of play, but Jones kept the Sharks in the game.
Those first-period saves would allow San Jose to find their game in the second period and start to push back against Pittsburgh. Team teal would eventually tie the game with a pair of second-period goals, leaving the third period up for grabs.
The Penguins would come with another push in the third, outshooting the Sharks by an 18-9 margin but Jones once again held the fort. He was outstanding in thwarting chances from Sidney Crosby, Patrik Hornqvist, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.
Unfortunately, Bonino would find a way to beat him at a critical moment to give the Penguins the early series edge, but San Jose should be encouraged from the play of their goaltender.
He stopped 38 of the 41 shots he faced, and he was very sound in his positioning and rebound control. He wasn’t flustered by the early momentum the Penguins generated and gave his teammates a chance to come back. Jones has been the back bone for team teal all season long and that was on display once again.
San Jose missed an opportunity to steal the opening game, but if Jones continues to perform at this level throughout the rest of the Cup Finals, the Sharks should be in good shape when all is said and done.