Fast start helps San Jose Sharks keep Stanley Cup hopes alive
By Ben Reynolds
Last Updated: 10/06/16 8:53am
The San Jose Sharks kept their Stanley Cup hopes alive after a three-goal tear in the first period helped them to a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Five of the best-of-seven series.
The win cut the Penguins' lead in the series to 3-2 ahead of Game Six on the west coast, although teams that have taken a 3-1 lead in the Finals have gone on to win the cup 31 out of 32 times.
Brent Burns got them on their way with an early goal - the first time the Sharks have scored first in the series - after spinning from behind the Penguins net and beating Matt Murray on the short side just 64 seconds into the game.
Logan Couture made it 2-0 less than two minutes later, but stunned by the early setback, the Penguins roared back in style with goals just 22 seconds apart from Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin to send the home crowd into frenzy.
Still Pittsburgh poured forward and twice they hit the post before the Sharks finally weathered the storm and Melker Karlsson's conversion of a neat passing play ensured they escaped from the first period with a 3-2 lead.
Defences and netminders then took over as Martin Jones frustrated the Penguins attack with a string of spectacular saves before finishing the night by stopping 44 of 46 shots. Joe Pavelski added the insurance marker in the third to seal the win.
"We know we haven't scored many goals, or any, in this series," said Couture. "It's one of the reasons why we're down 3-1. We wanted to come. We didn't want the season to end tonight.
"Obviously it's tough. You get a two-goal lead, it's gone in a matter of a minute, minute and a half.
"But be calm, get back out there, get another good shift. We were able to score again. Melker gave us the lead again. Jonesy did the rest."