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Sharks beat Penguins in overtime

San Jose Sharks fans had to wait 25 years to see their team in the Stanley Cup Final. Saturday night, they had to wait a little longer to see their team win.

For a second consecutive game, it took extra hockey to determine the winner. For the third straight game, the contest was decided by one goal. But this time it was the Sharks who went home with the victory.

San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi beat Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray with 7:43 left in overtime to lift the Sharks to a 3-2 win over the Penguins to cut Pittsburgh’s lead in half in the Stanley Cup Final.

Things got off to a good start for the visitors.

Game 2 hero Conor Sheary drew a penalty early in the opening period, but the Sharks didn’t allow the Penguins much time in the offensive zone, effectively shutting down the Pittsburgh man-advantage for the sixth time this series.

After the kill, however, a misplay by San Jose goalie Martin Jones led to the game’s first goal. Matt Cullen corraled the loose puck after Jones left it behind the net, mistakenly thinking that one of his defensemen intended to play it. Cullen fired it off Jones stick and the puck made it’s way around the boards to defenseman Ben Lovejoy, whose knuckleball of a shot sailed through traffic and glanced off the shins of Roman Pollack into the net behind Jones.

The Sharks bit back four minutes later on a blazing shot from Justin Braun, elevated over a sliding Patric Hornqvist, that Murray never saw. Joe Thornton earned the assist on Braun’s second of the postseason.

The Penguins nearly recaptured the lead moments later, but Jones made a big save on Phil Kessel’s semi-breakaway.

Pittsburgh outshot San Jose 14-6 in the opening period.

San Jose nearly took the lead several times in the second.

A tremendous between the legs pass from Melker Karlsson behind the net set up a great opportunity for Brent Burns right on the doorstep, but Murray responded with an equally tremendous save. Seconds later Sidney Crosby got loose on a breakaway but was dragged down by Braun, which led to a breakaway the other way for San Jose’s Joel Ward. Murray followed with his second huge save in about 10 seconds of play.

Murray was tested all period as San Jose was especially strong in the opening 10 or 12 minutes. The Sharks outshot Penguins 9-6 in the period and it seemed only a matter of time until the Sharks took their first lead of the series.

Logan Couture nearly did just that when he beat Murray through the five-hole from the left circle, but the shot rang off the post and the score remained tied.

After a San Jose power play also proved fruitless, the Penguins created some momentum of their own when Sheary chipped the puck into the San Jose zone and the Penguins cycled it to Lovejoy, who fired a shot at the net with Sheary and Hornqvist in front. Hornqvist was able to fight off Burns and get his stick on the puck for a tip-in, his eighth of the playoffs, and the Penguins had a 2-1 lead.

A high-stick on Nick Bonino drew blood on Joe Thornton about five minutes into the third, putting the Sharks on a four-minute power play.

The Penguins nearly killed the entire four-minute advantage, but as the door was opening to let Bonino back onto the ice, Ward capitalized on a three-on-two with a slapshot from 140-feet that cleanly beat Murray and tied the game 2-2.

Overtime beckoned.

The Penguins carried the play in the overtime period, but after failing to convert despite several great chances and plenty of time in the San Jose zone, Donskoi took a pass from Chris Tierney, skated behind the Penguins’ net and fired a shot past Murray from a tight angle to change the competitive advantage of the series.

Pittsburgh’s lead in the best-of-seven series shrinks to 2-1. Game 4 is in San Jose Monday at 8 PM (eastern time).

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