- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy9 mins ago
PITTSBURGH – The San Jose Sharks had 2,102 regular-season and playoff games to prepare for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance.
And they weren’t ready.
Defenseman Brent Burns called it the Sharks’ “holy [crap] we’re here’ moment. A first period absolutely dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. A first period that saw them control puck possession, shot totals and on the scoreboard, building a 2-0 lead.
“We started so slow. I don’t know if it was the long break. It wasn’t pretty in the first period. Nobody can skate. It was slow for us. We played the whole first period in the D-zone, and that’s not out game,” said forward Tomas Hertl.
The Sharks would rally in the second to tie the game, only to lose late in the third period on a Nick Bonino goal, 3-2. But it was the horrific start and getting skated out of the building in the first 20 minutes that was the talk of the dressing room.
Were they nervous?
“Eh, possibly,” said forward Logan Couture. “They came out flying. We looked like we were stuck in mud. Maybe that was it. But this time of year, the games are too big to have a start like that.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
The San Jose Sharks finally had their feet under them and started to roll against the Pittsburgh Penguins after the first period in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Patrick Marleau’s late second period goal tied the game at 2-2 and San Jose’s early game woes, where they allowed a 2-0 lead, seemed over.
Then early in the third periodMarleau hit Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust with a shoulder near Rust’s head.
From that point on the Penguins seemed to come alive. Pittsburgh fired 18 shots on goal in the third period to San Jose’s nine shots on goal. The Penguins also took 27 shot attempts to the Sharks' 17.
Pittsburgh’s speed game culminated with Nick Bonino’s game-winning goal with 2:33 left in the third.
Rust left the game for concussion protocol according to NHL on NBC's Pierre McGuire, then returned to the bench, then eventually left for the rest of the game.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
PITTSBURGH – Nick Bonino’s goal with 2:33 left in third period gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Kris Letang’s pass form the corner found Bonino in front of Martin Jones (38 saves), and he knocked the puck past the Sharks’ goalie for his fourth of the playoffs at 17:27.
But it wasn’t over yet. Ben Lovejoy took a hooking penalty against Patrick Marleau that gave the best power play in the playoffs a chance to tie the game with Jones pulled. But the Penguins killed it, and skated off to victory.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 series lead, with Game 2 set for Wednesday.
The Sharks were dominated in the first period by the home team.
The Penguins took a 1-0 lead on a goal by one of their Eastern Conference Final heroes, rookie Bryan Rust, his sixth of the playoffs.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Bryan Rust, who opened the scoring in Game 1 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, left the game in the third period after he was hit in the head by Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks.
With the score tied at two, Rust carried the puck into the Sharks zone and attempted to dump it behind the San Jose defense. As he finished his unsuccessful attempt, Marleau came skating over and delivered a shoulder to the Pittsburgh Penguins forward’s jaw.
Here are two angles via @MyRegularFace:
Marleau minor for hit to the head pic.twitter.com/a19dYmXeTR
another angle pic.twitter.com/3ew6K3W1XV
Marleau was given a minor for a hit to the head, a power play the Sharks ended up killing. Rust would go to the Penguins dressing room for a few minutes, but returned minutes later only to leave again.
Marleau didn't think his hit warranted further punishment. “I don’t think so. I kept my shoulder in and elbow in and everything in,” he said.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
11:05 p.m. ET: And here is the shot attempts chart from War on Ice. As you can tell, the Penguins pulled away at the end, and it showed with their late game-winner.
11:00 p.m. ET: Here is the final boxscore from Pittsburgh's Game 1 win over the Sharks.
10:54 p.m. ET: Game 1 hero Nick Bonino spoke with NHL on NBC's Pierre McGuire on the win.
"We can't expect it to be easy. They're the best team in the West. It's going to be hard every period," he said.
10:53 p.m. ET: The Penguins take Game 1, 3-2. This could be a classic series. What a phenomenal game with back-and-forth action along with drama.
10:51 p.m. ET: The Sharks get a power play almost right after that Bonino goal. Great chance for San Jose.
10:49 p.m. ET: Kris Letang to Nick Bonino in front, perfect shot by Boninio. It's now 3-2 Penguins at the 17:27 mark of the third. Brent Burns broke his stick on the play, which opened up the passing lane.
- Yahoo Sports Staff at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks are battling for the 2016 Stanley Cup.
As all of your Puck Daddy favorites and Yahoo Sports writers have perfect brackets*, here are their picks for who takes hockey’s Holy Grail.
( *unverified )
GREG WYSHYNSKI, PUCK DADDY EDITOR
Sharks in 6
I agree with Sidney Crosby: This is going to a blazing fast series, as two teams with solid overall team speed slug it out. Of course, knowing our luck, both coaches will just play the trap and every game ends 1-0 in the first two minutes of overtime. Meh.
The Sharks win their first Stanley Cup for a few reasons.
First is that they have better overall depth, especially on defense where the Penguins are going to start really missing Trevor Daley. They might be the only team that can face a Penguins squad that places Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin on three different lines and match them.
Second, they have a lethal power play and the Penguins aren’t going to avoid facing it – the Sharks are second to the Penguins in power-play opportunities in the playoffs and were fifth overall in the regular season. They’ll get their chances.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered pessimism on Olympic participation, optimism about the coach’s challenge and some frustrating vagueness on the League’s potential expansion before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh.
First, the good news: The NHL announced that its average attendance of 17,481 fans per game is a new “full-season” record. (With the usual caveat that the League tabulates attendance via tickets distributed.)
Here is what Bettman and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said on several topics:
The Executive Committee will recommend on expansion well ahead of that Board of Governors meeting in Las Vegas, which takes place ahead of the NHL Awards on June 22.
The options, according to Bettman, are to expand by one or two teams; to defer expansion; or to decide that the NHL will not expand.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said that the earliest the NHL could add expansion teams was for the 2017-18 season, but that the NHL could defer expansion “for a year or more.”
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy8 hrs ago
PITTSBURGH – Phil Kessel is a fun guy.
“Sneaky funny,” according to Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Patric Hornqvist. “He’s always in such a good mood. He always has a smile on his face. Just a great guy. And then on the ice, he can shoot the puck like no one else.”
The last part has never been in dispute. Kessel is now, and has throughout his career, been one of the NHL’s most lethal snipers. From 2008 through this season, Kessel is fourth in the NHL in goals scored with 243 in 598 games, trailing only Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Corey Perry.
The rest of Hornqvist's assessment might come as a surprise to anyone that views Kessel as a locker room irritant. Or a disinterested party, unless it involves getting his coach fired. Or a prisoner of his own social awkwardness.
Maybe we don’t know Phil Kessel, because he doesn’t allow us to, and so the media and fans fill in the blanks like a disparaging Mad-Libs. So we speculate on perceived standards of fitness, and we speculate on perceived attitudinal issues, and allow his laidback comportment to be indicative of any number of character flaws.
- Jen Neale at Puck Daddy8 hrs ago
Leading up to Monday's Game 1, Puck Daddy is previewing every facet of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks — on the ice and off the ice.
Who has the better beards in the Stanley Cup Final? This video says it all.
Arm in arm, the beards move on pic.twitter.com/Jh2ZnCIkLE
There is no question that Joe Thornton and Brent Burns win the beard contest hands down. No one on the Penguins comes remotely close to those two beauties. Plus, they've been growing their beards for a majority of the season. It's just not fair.
For the sake of this post, we have to look at some of the other Penguins and Sharks in a head to head battle to see whose facial hair reigns supreme.
Up first, the captains: Sidney Crosby vs. Joe Pavelski.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
After the Penguins were ousted in the first-round of the playoffs by the New York Rangers last year, there was some doubt that this team led by Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin could make another championship run.
Coach Mike Johnston was fired in December and it seemed the Penguins were going nowhere fast. Now Crosby has a chance to redeem his legacy as the best NHL player since the 2004-05 lockout with his second Stanley Cup. This is Pittsburgh's first trip to the Cup Final since 2009 when the Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings.