Penguins Have Early Edge in Cup
The Pittsburgh Penguins have relied on depth to get them by for most of the playoffs. That was evident again Monday when they beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals. Brian Rust, Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino, not exactly the biggest names in the Penguins’ scoring list, provided the punch needed to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in the series. Now the Pens will continue to defend their home ice with more of a comfort zone on Wednesday night.
The Penguins scored first when Rust, the guy who has come from nowhere to sparkplug the team all through the playoffs, registered his seventh goal in postseason on a deflected rebound midway through the first period. A minute later, Sheary fired one into the top of the goal to make it 2-0. After Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau bracketed the second period with San Jose goals to tie it, Bonino whacked in the game winner on a rebound with just over two minutes left in the third.
Obstacle 1: Paul Martin— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 31, 2016
Obstacle 2: Hockey stick on the ice
Obstacle 3: Martin Jones
Result: BONINO GOAL! pic.twitter.com/LRWOPSzKhb
Then when Pittsburgh went a man down on a penalty seconds later, the Sharks could generate no serious threat to the final buzzer.
It was a game where the Penguins did show some star power to supplement the scoring. Though Sidney Crosby didn’t score a goal, he was all over the ice in a reflection of the Penguins’ dominance on the night. Crosby and the Pens controlled the puck much of the game and maintained pressure on the Sharks, outshooting them 41-26. And the Sharks were surprisingly sluggish in their first playoff game in the eastern time zone. Meanwhile, the Sharks’ leader Joe Pavelski had two shots on goal but was kept in check for most of the game.
From Here …
The Sharks’ performance in their first game after the coast-to-coast trip may not be the true indicator of what they’ll be like for the rest of the series. Given a chance to get their bearings in Game 2 on Wednesday, I think the Sharks could put on more of a display of what got them here. This will likely be a tight series, and I think a plus figure for either team for the rest of the series deserves a close look. Also look for the over at a decent price from here out.
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