Penguins remain confident after losing Game 3 in overtime
SAN JOSE >> The Pittsburgh Penguins have only lost twice this season when leading after two periods. The second time was Saturday night. As a result, the San Jose Sharks have new life in the Stanley Cup Final.
Matthew Murray made 23 saves and the Penguins blocked 38 shots, though it wasn't enough to continue their domination of the Sharks.
Joonas Donoski scored 12:18 into overtime to lift the Sharks to a 3-2 victory in Game 3. The Penguins — up 2-1 in the series, suddenly find themselves in a fight heading into Game 4 on Monday night in San Jose.
"It's one game of a seven-game series and we out played them," Murray said. "I felt good about my game. Unfortunately the last one goes in."
The Penguins have done an excellent job of keeping several of the Sharks' top scorers from reaching the scoresheet, with Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns, one of the NHL's hardest shooters, relatively quiet.
A lot of that has to do with their willingness to block shots.
"They use the points a lot, then they look for those wrist shots, those half-slappers, and they're looking for deflections," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's a big part of how they generate offense. Part of the way to defend against it is to deny the opportunity of the puck to get to those areas. So when they use the points, we have to get in the lanes."
Penguins defender Ben Lovejoy said the team is willing to do whatever it takes to win.
"We're ready to block shots at any time," he said. "I'm ready to take a Brent Burns slapshot to my face."
Penguins defender Olli Maata had six blocks, Lovejoy, Brian Dumoulin and Patric Hornqvist each blocked four.
"You have to defend well," Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby said. "They shoot from everywhere. The number of blocked shots might be higher because of where they shoot from."
Joel Ward scored his first goal of the finals after a red hot finish in the conference finals, netting four goals in the last two games versus the St. Louis Blues. Joe Thornton had his first two assists.
"His release point was further out than usual on a slapshot and it dipped at the last second," Murray said about Ward. "I just waved at it and got a little piece of it."
Joe Pavelski, Couture, Burns and Thornton are a combined 0 for 28 on shots, though they have a total of six assists. They are responsible for a combined 292 career playoff points.
Pavelski had 13 goals and nine assists through the first three rounds and has yet to record a point against the Penguins.
Tomas Hertl, the Sharks' best player in the opening two contests in Pittsburgh, was not available for Game 3 because of a lower-body injury.
"We were good but we weren't great," Lovejoy said. "We'd love to be 3-0 but we also know they would put up their best game. This is their home building and they've done a lot of winning here."
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