PITTSBURGH -- To their credit, the Sharks regrouped after a miserable first period at Consol Energy Center in which it looked like they might get run out of the building.
It wasn’t enough, though, as Nick Bonino’s late third period goal pushed the Penguins to a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
On the game-winner, Brent Burns lost his stick and couldn’t prevent Kris Letang from finding Bonino in front of the net with Paul Martin defending the slot. Bonino flipped it through Martin Jones at 17:27 of the final frame.
The Sharks went to the power play with 2:09 to go, but couldn’t tie it up.
Game 2 is in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
The Penguins dominated the first period, only to have the Sharks completely turn the tables in the second, resulting in a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes.
The Penguins had the Sharks on their heels for virtually the entire opening frame, outshooting San Jose 15-4 and scoring a pair.
The first came at 12:46 of the first. On a rush, Justin Schultz’s shot from the high slot hit the glove of Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and rookie Bryan Rust was there to smack in the loose puck.
Just one minute and two seconds later, the Penguins upped their cushion. Sidney Crosby tracked down a loose puck in the corner ahead of Justin Braun, calmly played the puck off his backhand and whipped a cross-ice pass to Conor Sheary. Another rookie, Sheary whizzed a wrist shot past Jones’ far shoulder.
It was evident early in the second, though, that San Jose had regrouped, as Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski both had good looks at the net. They broke through on an early power play courtesy of Tomas Hertl, who curled in a pass from down low off of Olli Maatta at 3:02.
Pittsburgh withstood a continual push from the Sharks for much of the period until Marleau’s late score. After Couture outworked Maatta deep in the offensive zone and pushed the puck to the point to Burns, Marleau secured Burns’ rebound and wrapped it around at 18:12.
Burns had two assists, and made a strong defensive play with about three minutes left in the first, backchecking hard and lifting up Carl Hagelin’s stick on a breakaway.
The Sharks were 1-for-2 on the power play, on Hertl’s second man advantage goal of the playoffs. They are 18-for-65 in the postseason (27.6 percent).
Pittsburgh went 0-for-3, generating five shots on goal. The Pens are 15-for-67 overall (22.3 percent).
Marleau was whistled for an illegal check to the head of Rust in the third period, sending the 24-year-old to the dressing room for a brief stretch.
Jones and Murray were each making their first career starts in the Stanley Cup Final. Jones took the loss with 38 saves, while Murray stopped 24 San Jose shots.
Sharks forward Matt Nieto remained out with an upper body injury.
Pavelski saw his seven-game point streak (5g, 5a) come to an end. Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz increased his point streak to six games (3g, 4a).
The Sharks are 5-11 all-time when losing Game 1 of a playoff series, but 1-0 this year as they came back to defeat the Blues in the Western Conference Final.
Teams that win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final have gone on to win the championship 78 percent of the time (59-18). The last team to win the Cup after losing Game 1 was the 2011 Bruins.
OAKLAND – They beat the odds, clobbering them into submission.
Facing a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors rallied to take three successive games over Oklahoma City, finishing the epic comeback with a 96-88 victory in Game 7 Monday night before a delirious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Klay Thompson fired in 21, as the Warriors become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs – and the first to do so in the West finals.
Draymond Green added 11 points and also had a team-high nine rebounds, as the Warriors battled the bigger Thunder nearly even on the glass, 47-46.
Curry splashed 32 3-pointers in the series, the most ever for a player in a seven-game playoff series.
Ratcheting up the defense, the Warriors overcome a 42-point first half, their lowest total at home all season. They trailed by as much as 13 before storming back.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points to lead the Thunder. Russell Westbrook added 19.
When his team needed him most, Curry was at his MVP best.
Curry’s line: 36 points (13-of-24 shooting from the field, 7-of-12 from beyond the arc), eight assists and five rebounds. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-18 for the game.
After OKC took a 54-48 lead on a Durant fadeaway with 8:15 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-4 run to go up 71-58 on an Anderson Varejao floater with 58.3 seconds left in the quarter.
Six different Warriors scored during the run, lead by Curry with six points. They held the Thunder to 2-of-11 shooting, with three turnovers, during the run.
The Warriors outscored the Thunder 29-12 for the quarter.
The Warriors on Thursday play host to Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm.
When will Joel Embiid be cleared to make his NBA debut? That question still remains.
But the big man is making it known, he is setting his sights on that game (whenever it may be) and being part of the Sixers’ new chapter.
Monday night Embiid posted a photo of himself in a Sixers jersey with the caption “Wish we could fast forward to next season #FinallyHealthy#TrustTheNewProcess.”
That second hashtag, though? Just tremendous.
Yes, even in the midst of an electric Western Conference Finals Game 7 between the Warriors and Thunder, Embiid is thinking ahead to next season.
Embiid, the third overall pick in 2014, has yet to play in an NBA game because of foot injuries. He has been going through non-contact drills during his rehab, teasing viewers with videos of his three-point shooting, and dabbling in soccer moves.
Embiid has been expressing his excitement of playing next season on social media. Seven weeks ago, a caption included “We'll see y'all next season. ME PERSONALLY.”