By: Dana Grey
The Sharks are down 2-0. How did they get here? And can they get themselves out?
The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in overtime of Game 2 of these Stanley Cup Finals to take a 2-0 series lead.
Following a weak and slow start in Game 1, the Sharks were looking for a much better effort right after puck drop Wednesday night. Much to the grief of San Jose fans, it was the Penguins once again with the jump off the bat. Through the first 40 minutes, Pittsburgh continued their playoff domination in the shots category, outshooting the Western Conference champs by a margin of 23 – 11.
After a scoreless first, the second period displayed much of the same flow that was in the first frame. Shark’s goaltender Martin Jones was impressive turning out shot after shot that entered his crease. About half through the period, a series of turnover’s by the San Jose defense pair in their own zone lead to the opening score. The Penguins proclaimed “HBK Line” made no mistake, as center Nick Bonino came in on Jones from the left and delayed his play, leaving Kessel wide open in front for the tap-in-pass. Pittsburgh continued to press to the horn but couldn’t add to their lead.
Not wanting to fall into a 2-0 hole in the series, San Jose had one final push in the remaining five minutes of regulation. Finally, the Sharks were able to beat Pens’ net minder Matt Murray at the 4:05 mark of the third period. Defenseman Justin Braun fired a slap shot from the right circle above the glove of Murray. A flurry of chances followed for the away side but could not find the winning goal, giving us the first overtime of the finals.
The free hockey did last long though, with the first shot from a Pittsburgh stick finding the twine. Off a clean faceoff win back to the point from captain Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary found the puck in slot and shot a wicked ‘wrister’ for the game winner.
What lies ahead:
Although the Sharks dropped both contests in Pittsburgh, this series is far from over. Heading back to the west coast and having an extra day of rest before Game 3, San Jose will need an adjusted game plan for their home ice games. Only a handful of teams have come back to win the Stanley Cup after falling behind 2 games to nothing. The last team to do it? The Boston Bruins in 2011 over the Vancouver Canucks.
Dana’s Game 3 Prediction:
The Sharks with their backs against the wall will respond well in the first Stanley Cup game ever in the Bay Area. Sharks 4-2 Win