San Jose Sharks vs Pittsburgh Penguins
The leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Logan Couture, contributed three points on one goal and two assists in the first period. Melker Karlsson scored the game-winning goal and assisted on another but make no mistake about it, Game 5 belonged to San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. He stopped 44 shots leading his club to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins extending the best-of-seven series to a Game 6 in San Jose on Sunday (8:00 pm ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). Pittsburgh leads the series 3-2.
“We needed some big game performances from some of our key guys,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer offered following the contest. “Jonesy is one of those guys. He was fantastic. He gave us a chance (to win) in a tough environment (Pittsburgh) and we got some big games from some other people too. We found a way to stay alive and bring it (series) back to San Jose.”
As expected, the Sharks came out of the gate determined to get their first lead of the series and defenseman Brent Burns was only happy to oblige with his first goal of the series. He gave his team a 1-0 lead 1:04 into the first period with a goal that appeared to be a replay of teammate Joonas Donskoi’s goal earlier in the series.
The play began with Couture sending the puck deep into the Penguins zone. It was retrieved by Karlsson, who moved the disc behind the Pittsburgh net where Burns took control of it, skated out to the side of the net and roofed a wrist shot over the shoulder of Penguins goaltender Matt Murray. It was the first time in the series that San Jose led on the scoreboard.
The goal was the jump start the Sharks had been looking for throughout the series and added to their lead when Couture found the back of the net just 1:49 after the Burns goal. The clubs battled for the puck along the right wing boards before Couture sent the puck from the corner back to the point to Justin Braun. As Braun received the pass, Couture went to the front of the net and deflected Braun’s shot past Murray giving San Jose a 2-0 lead.
Pittsburgh went on the power play at the 4:21 mark of the period and took advantage of it. Kris Letang fired a slap shot that San Jose goaltender Martin Jones stopped but the rebound landed on Phil Kessel’s stick along the left wing half-wall, he sent a pass through the slot into the right faceoff circle onto Evgeni Malkin’s tape and the Russian forward put a shot that deflected off the shin of a Sharks defenseman and into the net cutting San Jose’s lead to 2-1 at 4:44.
If you blinked, you may have missed Pittsburgh’s tying goal. Carl Hagelin scored only 22 seconds after Malkin’s goal.
The puck was dumped into the Sharks zone where a San Jose defenseman gained control of it. In trying to send it directly out of the zone, he put the disc onto the stick of forechecking Penguins’ winger, Nick Bonino. Bonino released a shot at Jones but before he could stop it, the puck was redirected when it hit Hagelin’s arm landing in the net. It was a 2-2 game after just 5:06 of the first period.
San Jose regained the lead 3-2 at 14:47 of the first period as Karlsson added his second point of the night on his fifth goal of the postseason. On the play, all five Sharks touched the puck as Patrick Marleau had it at the right side of the Penguins net. He sent it back to Burns at the point, Burns sent a quick pass along the blue line to Brenden Dillon. Dillon immediately passed up to Couture in the left wing circle. Couture put the puck into the slot for Karlsson whose shot beat Murray low to the glove side.
“I want to try and produce every night,” Couture said after the game. “That’s my goal when I come to the rink. Try to help the team and try to score a goal. We didn’t want the season to end.”
The most entertaining period of the Stanley Cup Final ended with San Jose leading 3-2.
In the second period, Jones turned aside 17 Pittsburgh shots, many of the high-quality variety. Murray stopped eight San Jose shots and the session ended with the same 3-2 score as the first period.
The third period was more of the same for Jones, making 14 saves.
After Pittsburgh pulled Murray out of his crease for the extra skater late in the period, Joe Pavelski scored into an empty net to put the Sharks ahead 4-2 with 1:20 remaining in the third period. Joe Thornton garnered the assist.
“We had pucks at the net, we had people there,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said in his postgame press conference. “We had rebound opportunities. We couldn’t seem to find that third goal but I give our players a lot of credit, we stayed with it throughout the course of the game. It was just one of those nights we couldn’t find that goal.”
Stat of the Night:
San Jose became the 15th team to win Game 5 when facing a 3-1 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final, per Elias Sports Bureau (33 such series).
The Sharks and Penguins combined for the fastest four goals (5:06) to start a game in Stanley Cup Final history. The previous record for fastest four goals in a Stanley Cup Final was 6:51 set by Pittsburgh and Chicago in Game 4 in 1992.
Per Elias Sports Bureau, San Jose’s Logan Couture collected three points in Game 5 becoming the fourth player in the NHL’s expansion era (post-1968) to record three points in a period with his team facing elimination in a Stanley Cup Final game. The others: Chicago’s Stan Mikita in Game 5 of 1973 SCF vs Montreal, Chicago’s Dirk Graham in Game 4 of 1992 SCF vs Pittsburgh, Vancouver’s Pavel Bure in Game 5 of 1994 SCF vs New York Rangers.
Logan Couture has four 3-point games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs: 3 in series-clinching wins, 1 when facing elimination.
San Jose’s Joe Pavelski scored his 14th goal, 3rd-most of the postseason by an American-born player. (Kevin Stevens-17 in 1991; Joe Mullen-16 in 1989).
Martin Jones’ 44 save effort was his second 40+ save performance of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. (40 saves in Game 3 of 3-2 overtime win.) He is the first goaltender of the expansion era to record 40+ saves in a Stanley Cup Final.
San Jose established a franchise record with its sixth road win of the postseason. One more than it had in 2004.
The San Jose Sharks are 14-9 in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins are 15-8.
San Jose blocked 17 shots in Game 5.
Pittsburgh committed 10 giveaways in Game 5.
Follow ESPN New Hampshire’s NHL Writer, Shawn Hutcheon, on Twitter at @ShawnHutcheon.