Martin Jones made 44 saves and Logan Couture provided 1-2—3, all in the first period, to help the Sharks stave off elimination and force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final. The Sharks' victory set a single-year playoff record with their sixth road win.
The Sharks (2) and Penguins (2) combined for four goals in the opening 5:06 of Game 5. Per Elias, that set a record for the fastest four goals to begin a game in the Stanley Cup Final, breaking the old mark of 6:51 established by the Penguins (2) and Blackhawks (2) in Game 4 in 1992.
"Obviously we didn't have the start that we would have liked," said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. "But I really liked the fact that we battled back as quick as we did, making it a 2-2 game right away. The reality is there's a lot of hockey left at that point to be played."
Brent Burns scored San Jose’s opening goal, giving him 7-16—23 this postseason – tied for the fourth-most points by any defenseman within a single playoff year dating to 1986.
"Burns is in the rush all the time," said Sullivan. "That's part of what he brings to their team. He's a very good player. He has the ability to generate offense from the blue line."
Couture, who leads all players with 9-20—29 this postseason, became the fourth player in NHL expansion’s era (since 1967-68) to record three points in a single period with his team facing elimination in the Stanley Cup Final.
Couture’s 29 overall points are tied for the fourth-most by any player within a single playoff year dating to 1997. Six of those points have come in two games with the team facing elimination (also Game 7 of SR vs. NSH: 1-2—3).
Jones made 44 saves, including 17 in the second period – a career high in the playoffs and three shy of his best for any game including the regular season (124 GP). He turned aside 47 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory March 7 at CGY.
"I thought everybody did a good job battling around the net," said Jones. "They throw a lot of pucks to the net. That's just kind of the way they play. I thought we were good in the D zone."
Jones also posted 40 saves in the team’s Game 3 win vs. PIT. Elias notes that he became the first goaltender in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68) to register multiple 40-plus save victories within one Stanley Cup Final.
The Sharks became the 15th team to force a Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final when trailing the series 3-1 (since it went to the best-of-seven format in 1939). Six prior teams – in 32 total scenarios – have forced a Game 7, with only one ultimately winning the series (the 1942 Maple Leafs vs. DET).
The Sharks also became the ninth team to force a Game 6 in that scenario when facing elimination on the road. The last to do so: the 2008 Penguins, who ultimately lost to the Red Wings in the next contest.
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin registered his 48th career playoff goal to move into sole possession of seventh place among active skaters.
Gordie Howe passes away
Just days after Muhammad Ali's death, another sports legend has been lost, as hockey great Gordie Howe passed away at age 88. The news prompted many to reflect on Howe's legacy and life:
The Los Angeles Kings this morning issued the following statement following the passing of the legendary Gordie Howe:
“The LA Kings join the world of hockey in mourning the loss of Gordie Howe. His influence on generations of hockey players is immeasurable both in his accomplishments and his example to others. A true legend and icon, Mr. Hockey will be forever in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Howe family and the entire hockey community.”
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman:
“All hockey fans grieve the loss of the incomparable Gordie Howe."
“A remarkable athlete whose mastery of our sport was reflected by the longevity of his career and by his nickname, ‘Mr. Hockey,’ Gordie’s commitment to winning was matched only by his commitment to his teammates, to his friends, to the Red Wings, to the city of Detroit and – above all – to his family. His devotion to Colleen through her illness and the fact that he extended his playing days into a fifth decade so he could play with his sons are only two examples of that true priority in his life."
“Gordie’s greatness travels far beyond mere statistics; it echoes in the words of veneration spoken by countless players who joined him in the Hockey Hall of Fame and considered him their hero."
“Gordie’s toughness as a competitor on the ice was equaled only by his humor and humility away from it. No sport could have hoped for a greater, more-beloved ambassador."
“On behalf of the generations who were thrilled by his play and those who only know of his legend, and on behalf of all the young people and teammates he inspired, we send heartfelt wishes of condolence, comfort and strength to the Howe family and to all who mourn the passing of this treasured icon of our game.”Lanny McDonald, Chairman of the Hockey Hall of Fame:
"Gordie Howe is a true legend who not only inspired so many people by his achievements on the ice, but to all of those who interacted with him throughout his life. He represented our game with great dignity and always had time for his legions of fans. On behalf of the Hockey Hall of Fame and all of our Honoured Members, I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to Mark, Marty and the entire Howe family, and to express our gratitude to Gordie for the treasured memories and legacy he is leaving behind for all to celebrate. Thank you ‘Mr. Hockey’.”
Statement from Palace Sports and Entertainment:
“All of us at Palace Sports and Entertainment express our thoughts and condolences to the Howe family and the Detroit Red Wings organization in acknowledging the passing of Gordie Howe. “Mr. Hockey” left an indelible mark on the sports landscape both locally and nationally. His longevity is unmatched and we were proud to host the memorable game in 1997 where he eclipsed his sixth decade of competition while playing for the Detroit Vipers at The Palace. His impact on hockey and the region is immeasurable and he was truly a legendary figure.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services