San Jose re­fuses to go down with­out a fight

Sharks keep com­po­sure at home, earn crit­i­cal Game 3 win over Pen­guins with Don­skoi’s OT tally

Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS - (Reuters) (San Jose Mer­cury News/TNS)

Joonas Don­skoi saved the San Jose Sharks’ chances at win­ning the Stan­ley Cup on Satur­day night.

With the Sharks’ chances to come back in the se­ries all but hang­ing in the bal­ance, Don­skoi scored the big­gest goal of his life. He took the puck around the net be­hind Pitts­burgh Pen­guins’ goalie Matt Mur­ray and roofed it over Mur­ray’s shoul­der to give the Sharks a 3-2 home tri­umph in Game 3 of the Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal.

“It’s game in, game out dif­fer­ent guys step­ping up to the plate,” cen­ter Joe Thorn­ton said of Don­skoi. “It was huge he scored. Some clutch goals. He’s al­ways around the puck. He al­ways wants the puck.”

Justin Braun and Joel Ward also scored for the Sharks and goalie Martin Jones fin­ished with 40 saves as the Sharks cut the Pen­guins’ se­ries lead to two-games-to-one with Game 4 on Mon­day.

Ward gave the Sharks life as he scored his first goal of the se­ries at the most crit­i­cal junc­ture of the sea­son.

Just as a four-minute dou­ble mi­nor to Nick Bonino for high stick­ing was ex­pir­ing, Ward car­ried the puck across the blue line and teed up a slap shot that got through Mur­ray to tie the game 2-2 with 11:12 to go in the third pe­riod.

Up un­til that point, it looked like the Sharks were go­ing to waste an­other rare power play chance. They were on the man ad­van­tage just three times in the first two games, con­vert­ing once, and had two shots on goal with their first power play chance when Carl Hagelin was called for trip­ping 10:39 into the sec­ond pe­riod. They had three shots on goal with Bonino in the box be­fore Ward’s goal.

The sec­ond pe­riod was ac­tu­ally one of the best the Sharks had played in the se­ries, as they out­shot the Pen­guins 9-6 and had a hand­ful of prime scor­ing chances. But the Pen­guins scored the lone goal, as Pa­tric Horn­qvist tipped in Ben Love­joy’s shot from just in­side the blue line with 52 sec­onds left to give the Pen­guins a 2-1 lead.

The Sharks first home game in a Cup fi­nal be­gan in­aus­pi­ciously for the Sharks, as Love­joy con­verted a shot from above the right cir­cle for a 1-0 lead five min­utes into the game. The Sharks re­sponded four min­utes later as Braun scored the ty­ing goal with a wrist shot from the top of the slot.

It was Braun’s sec­ond goal of the fi­nal. He scored the Sharks’ only goal in Game 2.

It was also just the Sharks’ sec­ond shot of the game. The Pen­guins out­shot the Sharks 14-6 in the first pe­riod and had 12 blocked shots in the first 20 min­utes.

Thorn­ton added two as­sists to help San Jose raise its post­sea­son record to 8-2 in the Shark Tank.

The Sharks had lost four over­time games in the play­offs be­fore beat­ing the Pen­guins in Game 3.

The gen­eral im­pres­sion is that the Pen­guins have dom­i­nated the se­ries, but two games have gone to over­time and Game 1 was de­cided in the fi­nal min­utes of reg­u­la­tion.

Still, the Sharks were look­ing for a bet­ter start than their two games in Pitts­burgh,

“When they’re break­ing out and us­ing their speed, that’s when they’re dan­ger­ous, that’s when they’re get­ting scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. So, lim­it­ing their abil­ity to break out so clean is a key for us tonight.”

With the Sharks hav­ing last change for the next two games, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer will look for more ad­van­ta­geous sit­u­a­tions for all of his lines.

“They’ve given us matchup prob­lems, not just us, but other teams,” DeBoer said. “When you have Phil Kes­sel, Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin on three dif­fer­ent lines, I mean, all three of those guys make more than any­body on our team. That’s matchup prob­lems for ev­ery­body all play­offs.”

SAN JOSE SHARKS for­ward Joonas Don­skoi (27) takes the game-win­ning shot past Pitts­burgh Pen­guins play­ers Ev­geni Malkin, Justin Schultz and goalie Matt Mur­ray to give the Sharks a 3-2 over­time home vic­tory on Satur­day night. The Pen­guins still lead the best-of-seven Stan­ley Cup Fi­nal 2-1 head­ing into tonight’s Game 4.

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