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Sharks sink Pens to stay alive in NHL finals

Friday, 10 June 2016

Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks delivered his best performance of the championship series stopping 44 shots as the Sharks beat Pittsburgh 4-2 to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive
Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks delivered his best performance of the championship series stopping 44 shots as the Sharks beat Pittsburgh 4-2 to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive

San Jose stormed out the gate early and goalie Martin Jones stopped 44 shots as the Sharks kept their Stanley Cup playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh.

The Sharks on Thursday scored two goals in the opening three minutes of the game and Jones delivered his best performance of the NHL championship series to the spoil the party for the Penguins who still lead the best-of-seven final 3-2.

The series now shifts back to California for game six on Sunday with a much different feel, especially for the Sharks who also got bounce back performances from forward Logan Couture and defenceman Brent Burns.

“We needed some big-game performances from guys,” said Sharks coach Pete DeBoer. “Jonesy was one of those guys in a tough environment.

“I thought we got big games from some other people, too. We found a way to stay alive and bring it back to San Jose.”

San Jose forward Melker Karlsson scored what proved to be the winning goal at 14:47 of the first period.

Jones then made the lead hold up despite the Penguins’ overwhelming 46-21 advantage in shots. The 46 shots were a Penguins’ record in a regulation playoff loss.

“Everybody did a good job battling around the net,” Jones said. “They throw a lot of pucks to the net.

“That’s just the way they play. I thought we were good in the D zone.”

Burns opened the scoring just 64 seconds into the contest and Couture added his ninth goal of the playoffs less than two minutes later to give San Jose an early 2-0 lead in front of a crowd of 19,000 at the Consol Energy Center arena.

The Sharks lead was short-lived as the Penguins came right back, scoring twice in a 22 second span to level it 2-2.

Russian star Evgeni Malkin got the first goal and forward Carl Haglin connected for the second in the first five minutes of the first period.

“When you’re in a do-or-die situation, everybody brings their game up a level and everybody plays desperate,” said Sharks center Chris Tierney.

San Jose still faces an uphill struggle as no team has rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to win the final since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it in 1942.

The Sharks were once again missing Tomas Hertl who has been their best forward at times in the playoffs. Hertl is out with an undisclosed injury.

Source by: AFP

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