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Martin Jones steals Game 5
Sharks live to fight another day with 4-2 win in Pittsburgh
6/9/16 - By Mike Lee -

In order to win the Stanley Cup, you need to be good, you need to play above yourself and you need to be a little lucky. The Sharks were all three on Thursday night, winning Game 5 with a 4-2 nail biter over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center. San Jose finally looked like their playoff selves, jumping out to a quick lead, and battling after Pittsburgh tied the game to overcome a bit of adversity. Martin Jones turned in a game for the ages, stopping 44 shots to force the series back to San Jose on Sunday.

It was simply another 'do the opposite of what they expect performance' by the Sharks who weren't ready to go quietly into the night. In fact, they did exactly the opposite. With thousands of fans circling the arena hours before the game, preparing for a celebration had the Penguins won, but San Jose spoiled the party by doing the opposite of what everyone expected them to do.

This band of Sharks regulars don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to facing adversity, so it was easy to expect them to roll over and call it a season. Had they packed it in, nobody would have given it a second thought. They're the Sharks, that's what they do. Except the team decided it wasn't ready to quit playing this season.

The Sharks jumped on the Penguins just 64 seconds into the game. Brent Burns turned on the offense by carrying a puck around the back of the net from right to left, before carrying the puck out to the bottom of the left circle, pivot, and snap a shot past Matt Murray for his 7th goal of the post season. The goal was a carbon copy of Joonas Donskoi's overtime winner in Game 3.

San Jose shocked everyone by extending their lead less than 2 minutes later. Justin Braun fired a puck from the right post that seemed destined for Murray's glove, but Logan Couture clipped the puck with the shaft of his stick to disrupt the trajectory. The puck flipped end over end over the top of Murray's glove for the 2-0 Sharks led. It was Couture's 9th goal of the playoffs, which extends his points lead among all players during the Stanley Cup Playoffs this spring.

Just when you thought the Sharks might finally cruise in a game, the Penguins decided to make a go of it.

Sharks forward Dainius Zubrus aided the Penguins by flipping a puck over the glass to draw a delay of game penalty at the 4:21 mark of the period. The Penguins capitalized on the man advantage when Evgeni Malkin banked a shot off Braun's left skate to halve the Sharks lead at 2-1. Malkin was setup at the bottom of the right circle and appeared to try and make a pass through Braun, but the took a 90 degree right turn into the goal after deflecting off Braun's skate.

The Penguins tied the game 22 seconds later when Nick Bonino scooped up a Brendan Dillon turnover and threw it at the front of the net. Penguins forward Carl Hagelin was cutting across the top of the crease right at Bonino's shot arrived. The puck hit Hagelin before deflecting past Jones for the 2-2 tie.

Rather than roll over from their misfortune, the Sharks buckled down and answered with 5:13 remaining in the period. The Sharks swung the puck around the perimeter after kicking it out of scrum from behind the Penguins net. Brent Burns received the initial feed, before whipping it along the blueline to Dillon on the left point. Dillon spotted Couture heading toward the left post, so he snapped a feed down low. Couture saw Melker Karlsson cutting down the slot and made a touch backhand pass to his linemate for a quick one-time chance. Karlsson's shot hit the bottom of Murray's glove before bouncing into the goal for the 3-2 Sharks lead.

At that point it looked as if both teams might combine for a bucket full of goals each, but Jones went to work.

He stopped the final 42 shots he faced, including the final 11 in the goal-fest 1st period. The Sharks netminder stood on his head in the 2nd period, stopping 17 shots in the frame, including a crucial stop on Bonino from the doorstep with 4:54 remaining in the period. Jones had the presence of mind to extend his left leg, stopping Bonino would be goal.

A slashing call on Karlsson provided with the Penguins with a golden opportunity to knot things up again, but the Sharks survived an onslaught of shots. San Jose killed 2-of-3 Penguins power play chances.

The Sharks would bend but not break. Pittsburgh was relentless on offense generating another 14 shots in the 3rd period. The Sharks provided their goaltender with a bit of a reprieve midway through the frame by shifting the pressure into the Penguins zone with a sustained forecheck that seemed to frustrate Pittsburgh.

Hagelin provided more relief with just under 6 minutes left in regulation when he hooked Donskoi on a sharks scoring chance in front of Murray. San Jose didn't score on the power play, but it took the pressure off Jones and killed valuable time off the clock.

The Penguins pulled Murray for an extra attacker with 1:20 to play, but Sharks captain Joe Pavelski turned the tables on that effort by scoring an empty-net goal shortly after Murray made his way to the bench.

With 80 seconds still on the clock, the Penguins tried to make one last push, but it was too little, too late.

Crosby tried sticking his nose in the Sharks crease with 4 ticks left on the clock and he was met by a Marc-Edouard Vlasic slash across the arm for his trouble. festivities. The Penguins expressed his displeasure with the lack the unwavering adulation that everyone in Pittsburgh showers on him. Vlasic no doubt offered to send flowers after the series was over in the scrum that ensued.

Vlasic and his teammates escaped Pittsburgh to live another day, and spoiled what would likely have been a grand party given the throngs of people that were parked outside surrounding the rink.

Game Notes:

* In a show of organizational unity, the Sharks flew all the wives of their players out to Pittsburgh to attend the game. In what could have possibly been the last game of the season for San Jose, it was a simple gesture that scored owner Hasso Plattner a few good will points with players.

* Logan Couture was a man on a mission. In addition to his goal, the centerman had a pair of assists, 5 shots on goal, 3 hits and blocked shot. Couture was also en even 9-for-18 from the faceoff circle.

* Joe Pavelski paid the price in the 3rd period by blocking a Kris Letang shot with his forearm. Pavelski took treatment right on the Sharks bench, getting the arm wrapped before returning to action.

* Even with the relatively low scoring games throughout the playoff run for San Jose, they still lead all playoff teams in average goals scored per game at 3.22. Pittsburgh is second at 3.04.

* In what might be the biggest stats oddity of the playoffs, the Sharks rank 13th of the 16 playoff teams in average shots per game at 27.1 per game. Amassing shots has been a staple in San Jose over the years, but they've preferred to be selective with their shot selection. The Penguins rank 3rd with 35.2 shots per game. The Florida Panthers averaged 39.2 shots per game from their brief 6 game stay this post season.

* In waht shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone, the Sharks rank last in faceoff efficiency, winning 47.6 of their draws. The Los Angeles Kings won 54.5% of their draws...all against San Jose.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 3 0 1 4
PIT 2 0 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Burns 7 (Karlsson, Couture), 1:04. 2, SJ, Couture 9 (Braun), 2:53. 3, PIT, Malkin 6 (Kessel, Letang), 4:44, (pp). 4, PIT, Hagelin 6 (Bonino), 5:06. 5, SJ, Karlsson 5 (Couture, Dillon), 14:47.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 6, SJ, Pavelski 14 (Thornton), 18:40, (en).
1st period - Zubrus, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 4:21; Burns, SJ (high sticking), 8:18.
2nd period - Bench, PIT (too many men), 5:58; Karlsson, SJ (slashing), 10:30.
3rd period - Hagelin, PIT (hooking), 14:04; Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 19:56; Crosby, PIT (roughing), 19:56.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 46 44
PIT - Murray 21 18
PIT - empty net 1 0
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 7 8 7 22
PIT 15 17 14 46
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 2
PIT 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Logan Couture
Martin Jones
Evgeni Malkin
Referees: O'Rourke, O'Halloran. Linesmen: Amell, Murray.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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