Sharks come up big in OT to avoid 3-0 hole

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks were 0-4 in overtime in the playoffs this year but don’t tell that to Joonas Donskoi who broke that streak with winner to send the Sharks home 3-2 over the Penguins in Game 3.
He broke the drought at the 7:18 mark on a pass from Chris Tierney that beat Matt Murray and sent the Shark Tank into hysterics.
“I think I have had a lot of scoring chances through the whole Finals,” Donskoi said. “This was good time to get it in.”
That was San Jose’s first lead of the series and it was a game winner.
“We’ve got to find a way to get out in front going forward,” said coach Peter DeBoer. “We’ve been playing from behind too often in the series. … It’s a huge win. Now we have to take care of business moving forward.”
Joel Ward scored a big power play goal midway through the third period to force OT and Donskoi finished things off.
Donskoi also had an assist on Ward’s power play goal that helped to set up overtime.
The Sharks avoided a disastrous 3-0 hole after dropping the first two games in Pittsburgh, both by one goal.
Martin Jones had 40 saves on 42 shots.
DeBoer had called timeout just before the goal so he could keep it first line on the ice.
Joe Thornton had two assists with the top line of the Sharks playing some heavy minutes in the game.
Thornton logged just under 26 for the game, with line mates Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each clearing 25 as well.
Couture was added to the first line with a lower body injury forced Tomas Hertl to be scratched for Game 3.
Ben Lovejoy had a goal and an assist as the Penguins took a 2-1 lead after the first two periods. He scored the game’s first goal in the first coming out of a power play and had a key assist inside of one minute to play in the second.
Sidney Crosby was quiet on the night, taking three shots on goal and didn’t record a point.
Justin Braun added a first period goal and Marc-Edouard Vlasic added an assist.
Sharks were outshot 42-26 for the game to continue the Penguins’ streak of out shooting opponents in these playoffs.
It was a game where the Sharks were the dominant team for large stretches of the game, but at the same time had defensive lapses that hurt them at key times.
Sharks failed to clear the zone at the end of the second period leading to a goal with 52 seconds left to play.
And at the end of the third, the Penguins nearly stole the game in the waning seconds, but Jones stood tall to force OT.
“I think that’s why I have a routine for those kinds of high pressure games and moments,” Jones said. “Nothing changes for me.”
Just 30 seconds after the Sharks killed off a penalty, Lovejoy put the Penguins up at the 5:29 mark of the first.
San Jose had allowed just one shot on goal during the penalty, but couldn’t sustain that momentum at full strength.
Braun tied it up at 9:34 on a one-timer that completely fooled Murray.
Murray barely moved until the puck was by him.
It was the first time San Jose scored in the first period in the Stanley Cup Final.
From that goal, the Sharks seemed to hit another gear, pushing deep into the Penguins’ zone for the next 10 minutes and limiting Pittsburgh’s counter attack opportunities.
When the Pens did get a clean break away, the SJ defense pinched down to deny easy looks.
But the shots still went through, as the Penguins outshout San Jose 14-6 through the first period.
Sharks went on their first power play at the 10:39 mark of the second period when Carl Hagelin was called for tripping.
Sharks managed just two shots on goal as Pittsburgh’s penalty kill was stout in denying opportunities.
San Jose got the better of Pittsburgh in the period, but a failure to clear with 52 seconds left in the second cost the Sharks.
Lovejoy sent a rocket on goal, redirected by Hornqvist to steal the momentum from the Sharks.
“We thought we had a good period and they got a bounce there at the end and found a way in. It wasn’t going to stop us from trying. We have to build on that period,” Pavelski said.
San Jose outshot the Pens 9-6 in the period, but Murray stood tall with traffic in front of him.
Ward had a great look on goal thanks to a 2-on-1 breakaway that was turned aside. Couture’s rebound shot went wide.
The play was set up when Crosby was taken down on a back check when he had a clean look at the goal setting up the break away.
Midway through the third, the Sharks went on a four-minute power play when Nick Bonino was called for a double minor on a high stick.
Just as the power play was to expire, Ward sent a shot that went 5-hole on Murray to tie the game.
And the Tank went nuts.
Ward said he gets inspiration from other athletes and how they handle big pressure moments as a guide for how he plays.
“I’ve watched other sports. I’ve watched other guys and always tried to emulate, listen to their quotes,” Ward said. “I got one from Paul Pierce. I watched him in the playoffs the last couple seasons. People always knocked him down a little bit in the regular season, but in the playoffs he always stepped up.”
That’s where things stood, again despite chances from the Sharks.
San Jose had to survive a late barrage by the Pens who had traffic in front of the net and a loose puck that was just smothered by Jones.
“I’m just try to keep a visual on the puck as best you can. Try and battle and take away the bottom part of the net. We did a good job in front of the net, picking up sticks and clearing pucks.”
The Sharks now have a chance to assure it will return to San Jose on Monday for Game 4.