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Sharks vs. Penguins: Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Key Moment

The San Jose Sharks didn’t know what it was like to play with a regulation lead this Stanley Cup Final.

Before Game 5 at Pittsburgh they hadn’t held an advantage against Pittsburgh Penguins outside of Joonas Donskoi’s overtime winner in Game 3.

They got their first lead when Brent Burns scored at the 1:04 mark of the first period and then padded it when Logan Couture got his ninth goal at the 2:53 mark to make it 2-0. But Pittsburgh closed back in a hurry with goals from Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin to tie the game at 2-2 at the 5:06 mark of the first.

With Pittsburgh pressing with a speedy forecheck, Melker Karlsson finished off a tic-tac-toe play from Brenden Dillon and Couture to give the Sharks a 3-2 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish at the 14:47 mark of the first.

Couture has been the Sharks best forward this series and he showed it with that feed. He leads the playoffs with 29 points in 23 games and has five points in five games in the Cup Final. 

This was enough for goaltender Martin Jones to slam the door on the Penguins the rest of the game, making 44 saves on 46 Penguins shots on goal.

The Sharks became the 15th team (out of 33 series) to hold off elimination when facing a 3-1 deficit on the road.  

“I think when you have the lead, you can play differently,” coach Peter DeBoer said after losing Game 4. “You feel a lot more comfortable getting in a four-line rhythm, putting your guys out there, trusting them. There's not that pressure that we have to create a scoring chance or score a goal. We can just manage the game, put our time in.”

Really the Sharks never got into much of a rhythm because the Penguins were the aggressor for the entire game, outside of the early first period. They fired 46 shots on goal to the Sharks’ 21. The Penguins overall attempted 76 shots to San Jose’s 36. 

But that goal showed San Jose wasn’t going to be intimidated by Pittsburgh’s speed, the sellout crowd at Consol Energy Center and the fact that the Stanley Cup was in the building ready to be handed out to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

When you’re playing in front of a hot goaltender like the Sharks were with Jones, one goal is crucial. And now because of that one goal they have a chance to extend the series to a Game 7 in front of their fans at San Jose on Sunday.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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