Pittsburgh Penguins hold off San Jose Sharks to take Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals

The Stanley Cup FInal began in Pittsburgh and it figured to be a fast-paced series with so much speed and offensive talent on both sides. Game 1 was crucial to both teams' chances as the last four Game 1 winners went on to win the Cup.

Pens Start Quickly

The first period saw the Penguins dominate, peppering Sharks goaltender Martin Jones wIth 15 shots and they were rewarded for their offensive pressure with the game's opening goal with 7:14 left in the period. Justin Schultz' shot from inside the right circle deflected off of the skate of Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and caromed right to Bryan Rust, who had an easy tap-in past a helpless Jones and the hero of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Schultz and Chris Kunitz recorded the assists. They would strike again only 82 seconds later, the lead doubled when Sidney Crosby sent a gorgeous cross-ice backhand pass to Conor Sheary, hIs wrister beating a screened Jones for his third goal of the playoffs, Crosby and Olli Maatta registering the assists.

Bryan Rust celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the Stanley Cup Final for the Penguins/Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Bryan Rust celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the Stanley Cup Final for the Penguins/Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Sharks Strike Back

The Sharks needed a quick response early in the second period and they got it when Thomas Hertl slammed home from the left side of Penguins goaltender Matt Murray after some nice passing, Hertl scoring his sixth on the power play, assists from Joonas Donskoi and Brent Burns, the lead cut in half just 3:02 into the middle frame.

It looked like the Penguins would carry their 2-1 advantage into the third period, but the Sharks stunned the Consol Energy Center crowd with the tying goal with just 1:48 left, Patrick Marleau sneaking the puck past the right pad of Murray on a beautiful wraparound. Burns and Logan Couture picking up the assists, Couture with his playoff-leading 25th point, Burns notching his second assist of the game.

The Penguins dominated the first period while the Sharks carried the play in the second. Pittsburgh would re-establish themselves in the third period, but Jones was magnificent, styming Pittsburgh at every turn. It appeared the game was headed for overtime, but NIck Bonino gave the Penguins the lead for good, roofing his shot past Jones to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead with 2:33 left. KrIs Letang set up the eventual game winning goal when he sent the puck to Bonino from behind the Sharks net to the left of Jones an instant before getting hit by Burns.

Letang and Carl Hagelin assisting on Bonino's fourth goal of the playoffs. The Sharks had a late power play when Ben Lovejoy was called for hooking, but the Penguins duly killed off the penalty and hung on for the win after being the better team for the majority of the game. Both goaltenders were terrific, Jones making 38 saves for the Sharks and Murray stopping 24 of the Sharks 26 shots. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Nick Bonino is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the eventual game-winning goal with 2:33 left in regulation/Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
Nick Bonino is mobbed by his teammates after scoring the eventual game-winning goal with 2:33 left in regulation/Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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