Cleat Geeks

Sharks Get it Done in Game 3

San Jose hosted its first Stanley Cup Final game in the franchise’s 25-year existence after trailing the Penguins 2-0 in the series.  Game 3 was a must-win, as the only team to ever win a final after trailing 3-0 was Toronto in 1942.  The Sharks had yet to hold a lead in any game this series, but resilience kept them alive Saturday night.


hi-res-00ab7845cd187fef8f7e1ea1a99166b0_crop_northA Martin Jones mishandle proved costly early in the first period as Ben Lovejoy opened up the scoring early, seconds later on a slapshot that seemed to redirect off Roman Polak’s shin.  Justin Braun equalized the score minutes later with a laser of a shot that Matt Murray never saw.  Murray was dominant in the second period, as the Sharks played their best hockey of the series during this time.  A forty second period midway through the second saw Joel Ward burst ahead for a breakaway, multiple scoring chances, and a Couture shot that rang off the iron.  Even so, a defensive zone turnover late in the period allowed Ben Lovejoy to capitalize once again, sending another slapshot through traffic before it was redirected by Hornqvist and eventually found the back of the net.  The Sharks were resilient after trailing for a second time in the match, and were blessed by a Nick Bonino double minor penalty after a high stick drew blood from Joe Thornton.  It took San Jose every single second of the four-minute penalty to knot the game up at 2, as Ward fired a slapshot off Murray’s glove at 3:59 0f the powerplay.  The rest of the game was all Martin Jones, as he denied 13 third period shots to send the game into overtime, then stopped 7 more in extra time.  Joonas Donskoi eventually gave the Sharks their first overtime win of the entire playoffs off a wraparound wrist shot that beat Murray top shelf.

Key notes:

  • Martin Jones was a brick wall in Game 3.  Take away a mishandled puck and two lasers that were fired through traffic and he grabs his first shutout of the Finals.  Still, his .952 save percentage on 42 SOG were good enough for third star of the game.
  • Matt Murray was good, but not Stanley Cup Champion good.  Ward’s game-tying slapshot came from forty feet out without traffic and beat him off the glove.  Donskoi’s GWG was also glove side.
  • The Sharks still haven’t held a lead in the series, but play with composure while trailing, firing good shots at Murray and creating scoring chances.
  • Peter Deboer looked brilliant in the overtime period, as he moved Logan Couture up to the first line with Thornton and Pavelski, leading to a plethora of scoring chances.

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 23: Matt Murray #30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)martin-jones-tri-e1444917110519

Game 4 Preview:
The Sharks can’t keep playing catch up with the score.  They’ll need to grab a lead in regulation and keep it to grab another win tonight.  Martin Jones and Matt Murray hold the game in their respective hands, as the better goalie will take home Game 4 in San Jose.  If Deboer keeps Couture on the top line and Hertl is healthy, the Sharks should be able to erase the 2-0 deficit and knot the series.  Watch for another thriller of a game.

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