San Jose Sharks Drop Another Heartbreaker In Game 2

Jun 1, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Conor Sheary (43) shoots and scores the winning goal against the San Jose Sharks in the overtime period in game two of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Conor Sheary (43) shoots and scores the winning goal against the San Jose Sharks in the overtime period in game two of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports /

For the first time in these playoffs, San Jose finds themselves trailing a series by two games following Conor Sheary’s overtime winner.

The San Jose Sharks will be glad to get out of Pittsburgh.

After battling back late in the third period, San Jose once again found a way to lose in gut-wrenching fashion.

Following a clean faceoff win by Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary was able to find a soft spot in the offensive zone and wrist one past a screened Martin Jones at 2:35 of overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

This one started off much of the same from the home team, who continually applied pressure on the San Jose defense in their own zone. The Sharks were able to handle it a little better than in Game One, but the Penguins were still able to create turnovers that they turned into quality chances.

Team teal’s defense continued to struggle with making quick decisions out of their zone, and it almost cost them when Chris Kunitz had the best chance of the period for Pittsburgh, ringing one off the post behind Jones.

While the Sharks were better overall, they still struggled to generate consistent zone time. One of the few players who was able to for San Jose was Tomas Hertl, who was their best forward all night.

Hertl had a couple of close calls in the opening frame, ringing one off the post on two different occasions as he had the best opportunities for the visitors in a period where they were outshot 11-6.

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San Jose looked to come out with a similar response in the middle frame as they had in the first game, and it was a fairly evenly played period at the beginning with very few chances each way.

That was until a brutal shift from the Sharks third defensive pair resulted in the opening goal of the game. Roman Polak had some time but instead of moving it up the boards he decided to try to slide it to his defensive partner Brenden Dillon.

Polak would fan on the pass creating a mad scramble in their zone, where Carl Hagelin lifted the stick of Dillon, found Nick Bonino who forced Jones to commit before sliding it to a wide open Phil Kessel for an easy tap-in for his 10th goal of these playoffs.

It was yet another brutal turnover from team teal when they seemingly had control of the puck in their own zone.

Following the goal, San Jose really struggled to get anything going as Pittsburgh did a tremendous job of taking away any time or space from the attackers in white.

The HBK line would nearly strike again on a 2-on-1 rush, but Hagelin rang one off the crossbar with 4:40 remaining.

The Sharks simply did a horrendous job of dealing with the speed of the Penguins as they registered just one shot in more than 11 minutes of game time in the middle period, but they were gifted a late power play chance when Ian Cole took a dumb interference minor.

They weren’t able to cash in, leaving them trailing after 40 minutes in a game they were clearly outplayed. Pittsburgh outshot San Jose by a 23-11 margin through two periods, while the attempts were 42-28 as the Penguins made the Sharks look like a team stuck in the mud.

While the Sharks weren’t able to capitalize on the carry over man advantage, Peter DeBoer decided to shake up his lines by moving Patrick Marleau back to third line center and shifting Joel Ward back to the second line.

San Jose was able to generate a little more offense, and Chris Tierney nearly tied things up off a great individual effort as he beat Matt Murray clean over his glove hand but hit the cross bar instead.

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While the Sharks were able to better contain the Penguins, they still couldn’t muster much rubber towards Murray. Kessel nearly doubled the lead for the home team, as it was his turn to hit the post as the two teams must have combined for five or six off the iron in this one.

With the minutes ticking down, it wasn’t looking good for team teal, until an unlikely hero stepped up to tie the game.

One of the changes from DeBoer paid off as some great work down low from Logan Couture and Ward got the puck out to Justin Braun at the top of the right circle, and he fired one through a mass of bodies that hit the post yet again, but this one went into the net to tie things up with 4:05 remaining.

It was a great decision by the coach to adjust his lines as it was the best the Sharks looked all night, and they kept pushing in the final moments.

San Jose nearly answered with just seconds left in the third when that second line went to work again as Ward and Couture had a couple of late stuff attempts that just wouldn’t find a way into the back of the net as this one would head to overtime.

Unfortunately, for the second consecutive game, the Sharks would come up on the losing end of another close game as they’ve now dropped all four contests that have gone to overtime in these playoffs.

Next: Sharks Undone By Late Tally In Game One

It’s time for San Jose to head home and regroup as they’ve been thoroughly outplayed by Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center. While Jones has kept them in both games, they must find a way to generate more consistent offense.

They’ll head home to what is sure to be a raucous crowd at SAP Center on Saturday night looking to turn this series around. If they don’t start playing with more desperation and execution, the Cup Finals could be over before they know it for the boys in teal.