The Pittsburgh penguins took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals with a 2-1 overtime victory against the San Jose Sharks Wednesday night.
On a goal from Conor Sheary just 2:35 into overtime the Penguins defeated San Jose to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. For the better part of 56 minutes Wednesday night it appeared as if Phil Kessel had the only goal the Pens would need in a tightly-contested game, netting the lone tally of much of the contest at 8:20 of the second period.
Similar to Game 1 tonight saw the momentum swing back and forth between both clubs, the Pens demonstrating a significant advantage at times but allowing San Jose to remain close and generate opportunities of their own.
In keeping with a common playoff theme the Penguins held the advantage in shots on goal throughout the game but were unable to add to their lead. Failure to convert on the power play well as a host of solid saves by Sharks goaltender Martin Jones kept San Jose in the game through the second period.
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At 15:55 of the third, San Jose’s Justin Braun netted the equalizer, momentarily taking the wind out of the Pens’ sails and bringing into question whether the cruel nature of playoff hockey could see the Sharks seize the momentum that Pittsburgh held for much of the contest and steal the game to even the series.
Thanks to Pens goaltender Matt Murray and some fortuitous bounces, they could not. Murray fended off a barrage of San Jose shots late in the third period, one of which struck iron, and the Penguins defense ultimately held strong in withstanding the attack to force overtime.
When the extra period commenced, the Penguins wasted little time. Head coach Mike Sullivan opted to use his timeout early in the extra frame after an extended series that saw San Jose garner the first shots of overtime, a decision that proved to be wise. Moments later Pens captain Sidney Crosby cleanly won a faceoff back to Kris Letang who fed Sheary setting up a wrister that beat Jones and moved the Penguins halfway to their fourth Stanley Cup victory.
The series now shifts to San Jose, with the teams getting an extra travel day due to the cross-country trek. Game 3 will take place at the SAP Center in San Jose at 8 PM EST on Saturday.