It’s been an exciting Stanley Cup Final as each game has been decided by one goal, with two coming in overtime.
The San Jose Sharks first foray into the Stanley Cup Final certainly has been an exciting one.
After a rough start in Pittsburgh, San Jose answered back with a critical win on Saturday night as they cut the Penguins series lead in half.
It’s been back-and-forth hockey with every game decided late in the contest, including the past two games heading to overtime.
As both teams prepare for a pivotal Game 4 tonight, let’s take a look back at the past week in the latest weekly roundup:
– Heading into the Cup finals, much of the talk centered around Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, two players that have each paid their dues over 18 years in the NHL and were finally getting their chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
– Team teal was immediately behind the eight-ball in Game 1 as Pittsburgh looked to deliver a knock out blow in the first period. San Jose were fortunate to find themselves down just 2-0, and they responded by tying the game in the middle frame. Unfortunately, the Penguins were able to find a late winner as Nick Bonino scored with less than three minutes remaining to give the home team a 3-2 victory.
– In that first game, Patrick Marleau delivered a big, open ice hit to Bryan Rust in which he was assessed a two-minute minor for a check to the head. The NHL decided not to suspend Marleau and Rust was able to return for Game 2.
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– In Game 2, it was more of the same from the Penguins who continued to use their speed to create havoc and turnovers in the offensive zone. One of those turnovers led to the opening goal of the game when Phil Kessel had an easy tap-in. With the Sharks trailing by one late in the third, Justin Braun was able to sneak one past Matt Murray to send things into overtime. But Pittsburgh made the winning play again as Conor Sheary played the role of hero as he gave the Penguins a 2-0 series lead.
– Despite their series deficit, San Jose knew what their recipe for success would be. They were able to establish their presence down low in the offensive zone for stretches, but knew they had to do more in order to get back into the series.
– Ahead of Game 3, the Sharks knew they were facing their greatest challenge to date as they had never trailed by two games in any playoff series. Their task was made even greater when Tomas Hertl was ruled out for Game 3 with a lower-body injury.
– As San Jose returned home, they had a raucous crowd behind them as team teal was looking to cut the Penguins lead in half. Despite facing two one-goal deficits throughout, Joel Ward’s blast from just inside the blue line would send the game into overtime for the second-straight game. This time, it was the Sharks turn to find the game-winner as Joonas Donskoi’s sixth of the playoffs would send the Shark Tank into a frenzy as they took home a 3-2 win.
– While San Jose has plenty of big-name veterans, they’ve received contributions from a plethora of young players that has really added to the depth of this Sharks group.
The Sharks and Penguins will return to action tonight at the Shark Tank as team teal looks to knot this series up at two games apiece before heading back to Pittsburgh.