And so the Stanley Cup Finals begin, with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking a 1-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks thanks to a late Nick Bonino goal.
The Penguins, three-time champions and in the finals for the first time since 2009, beat the Sharks 3-2 as Bonino scored his fourth goal of the postseason after 17:27 in the third period. Kris Letang sent a centering pass towards the danger area and Bonino, who has scored these kinds of goals so many times before, edges out just about everyone to win the game for the Pens, who blew a two goal lead they built up in the first period.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh forward: He does all the things right and found himself in a great position and capitalized on it. Any time you’re in the slot, get him the puck. It seems like we find a way to win when he scores.
Tomas Hertl on the power play and Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks in the second period to make things exciting in the finish, but the Penguins, who beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games to make it into the finals, regained their composure, attacking furiously in the third period, just as they had in the first, taking 41 shots at Martin Jones compared to only 26 Matt Murray had to deal with. Letang, who had an assist, spent more time than anyone else on the ice (27:48) and was the only one with a +2 on his +/- column at the end of the game. Sidney Crosby had one assist, a blind backhand cross-ice pass to Sheary’s stick.
Bryan Rust, 1-0 Penguins, 12:46 into the 1st Period
Conor Sheary, 2-0 Penguins, 13:48 into the 1st
Tomas Hertl, 2-1 Penguins, 3:02 into the 2nd
Patrick Marleau, 2-2, 18:12 into the 2nd
Nick Bonino, 3-2 Penguins, 17:27 into the 3rd
Game 2 will take place on Wednesday night (8PM ET), as the Penguins hope to take a 2-0 lead.