Sharks stun Pens, keep series alive as Jones shines
By Steve Keating
PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - The San Jose Sharks used a first period scoring frenzy to claim a 4-2 win and keep the Pittsburgh Penguins from clinching the Stanley Cup on Thursday to send the series back to the West Coast for Game Six.
Trailing 1-3 in the series and facing elimination, the Sharks got first period goals 1:49 apart from Brent Burns and Logan Couture and another from Melker Karlsson, then turned to goaltender Martin Jones and an air-tight defense to seal a 'do-or-die' victory.
"We needed some big-game performances from guys. Jonesy was one of those guys in a tough environment," praised San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. "We found a way to stay alive and bring it back to San Jose."
The best-of-seven series shifts back to San Jose for Game Six on Sunday with the Sharks still facing a daunting task.
Since the Stanley Cup final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, teams that have taken a 3-1 series lead have gone on to capture the championship 31 of 32 times.
The Sharks had found themselves in 3-1 hole in a large part because their top scorers Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Burns and Couture had not previously scored in the finals.
But the Sharks' big guns came out firing in Game Five, Burns and Couture tallying within the first three minutes to grab a 2-0 lead and stun an arena record crowd of 18,860.
For the first time in the finals, the Sharks drew first blood, Burns swinging out from behind the Penguins net and picking shortside on rookie Matt Murray just 64 seconds after the opening faceoff. Continued...