Stanley Cup Finals: Donskoi's OT goal gives Sharks 3-2 win over Pens in Game 3


Stanley Cup Finals: Donskoi's OT goal gives Sharks 3-2 win over Pens in Game 3

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The fans in San Jose waited 25 years for their first Stanley Cup Final. A few extra minutes for an overtime victory wouldn't be a problem.

Joonas Donskoi scored 12:18 into overtime after Joel Ward tied it midway through the third period and the Sharks bounced back from two straight road losses to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Justin Braun also scored and Martin Jones made 40 saves to help the Sharks cut Pittsburgh's series lead to 2-1 with their first victory ever in the final. Game 4 is Monday night in San Jose.

Ben Lovejoy scored and assisted on Patric Hornqvist's goal that gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead heading into the third. But Matt Murray let Ward's tying goal in off his glove and then allowed the winner as Pittsburgh lost for just the second time in 51 games when leading after two periods this season.

Murray made 23 saves but couldn't stop Donskoi's shot that gave Sharks their first win in five overtime games this postseason.

In an overtime period controlled mostly by Pittsburgh, San Jose got the only goal. Donskoi got possession behind the net and skated out front where he beat Murray high to the stick side, setting off a wild celebration in an arena that was full of tension all night.

Trailing 2-1 entering the third, the Sharks' season was on the line as only one team has ever recovered from an 0-3 deficit to win the Cup final. They got their chance when Nick Bonino was sent off for a double-minor for high-sticking Joe Thornton.

San Jose generated good chances on the four-minute power play but it seemed like the Penguins would kill it off as the clock ran down. But just before Bonino stepped out of the box, Ward beat Murray with a blast from the high slot that deflected off the goalie's glove and in for the equalizer.

Ward was one of San Jose's key offseason additions for his playoff prowess and he scored two goals, including the series-winner in Game 6 of the conference final against St. Louis, and then perhaps an even bigger one here.

The first Stanley Cup Final game ever in the Bay Area came with plenty of fanfare with an elaborate pregame laser show and a raucous crowd that had waited 25 years for this moment.

The start didn't go as planned as the Penguins struck first less than six minutes in when Lovejoy's point shot deflected off defenseman Roman Polak and past Jones for a 1-0 lead.

The Sharks didn't even get a shot on goal for more than eight minutes but made a strong push after getting the tying goal on Braun's point shot past a screened Murray. Braun, who scored San Jose's only goal in Game 2, recorded goals in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

The Penguins didn't need much from Murray the first two games when they controlled the play for long stretches. But in the second period when the Sharks made one of their strongest pushes of the series, Murray stood tall.

He robbed Brent Burns in close early in the period after a slick pass from Melker Karlsson, then stopped Ward on a two-on-one a few minutes later to keep the game tied at 1. Logan Couture then hit the post on another odd-man rush and those missed chances proved costly when Pittsburgh took the lead in the final minute of the period.

Joe Thornton lost the puck along the boards and it got to Lovejoy at the point. His shot was deflected in front past Jones to give the Penguins the 2-1 lead heading into the third.

NOTES: The Penguins fell to 4-3 in OT this postseason. ... Sharks F Tomas Hertl missed the game with a lower-body injury. Karlsson moved up to the top line and Dainius Zubrus returned to the lineup.

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.