Skip to main content
Stanley Cup Final

Penguins rookies make history in Game 1 win

Rust, Sheary score first two goals of Cup Final, last accomplished in 1924

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forwards Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary accomplished something on Monday last achieved 92 years ago.

Rust and Sheary scored the first two goals of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center. It was the first time since 1924 that rookies scored the opening two goals of a Cup Final, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Montreal Canadiens rookie forward Howie Morenz scored the first two goals in a 6-1 win against the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League in the 1924 Cup Final.

"I guess we can talk about that later and maybe get our names in the history books," Sheary said.

They can. They can also discuss how the Penguins are the first team since the 2009 Detroit Red Wings to have two rookies score in a Cup Final game (Justin Abdelkader and Jonathan Ericsson scored in Game 2 against Pittsburgh).

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm1: Rust bangs puck past Jones for a lead

"They've been a big part of this team for so long now, you know, it doesn't surprise us," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "These guys are good hockey players. They add another element to our team. The energy that they bring, the enthusiasm that they bring to the rink, they've stepped up and made some big plays for us.

"As I've said all along, we have a nice chemistry of veteran players and young guys here that complement one another. I really think they enjoy one another. What I really like about this group is that they play for each other and I think that shows and it's a neat dynamic to watch unfold."

That chemistry is apparent on Pittsburgh's top two lines. 

Sheary plays left wing with center Sidney Crosby and right wing Patric Hornqvist. Rust plays to the right of center Evgeni Malkin and left wing Chris Kunitz.

Rust, who opened the scoring Monday with his fourth goal in three games, has elevated his game to a level few foresaw.

After scoring both goals in Pittsburgh's 2-1 Game 7 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final, Rust carried that momentum into Monday when he batted a rebound past goalie Martin Jones with 7:14 remaining in the first period. Rust now has six playoff goals, the most by a rookie in Penguins history.

Rust is the sixth rookie to score in three consecutive playoff games since 2011, joining Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli (2014), Columbus Blue Jackets forward Boone Jenner (2014), New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider (2012), Kings forward Dwight King (2012) and Sharks center Logan Couture (2011).

But Monday could have ended better for the 24-year-old.

Rust exited the game after being hit by Patrick Marleau 4:47 into the third period, returned a few minutes later and then left again. Sullivan said Rust is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

"It was nice when we were out there carrying the pace and carrying the play," Kunitz said. "Hopefully he's OK. We've had a good run here together that we've really contributed offensively and carried the play. We need him in the lineup and hopefully he'll be OK."

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm1: Sheary doubles the lead with a wrister

Sheary is attempting to replicate Rust's success on his own line. He scored 1:02 after Rust to make it 2-0 with his first goal since April 23.

"It's been awhile since I scored," Sheary said. "It felt like a whole season there because it was two series, but I was just excited to get one in there."

Sheary played in a third game since being a healthy scratch and replaced by forward Beau Bennett in Game 5 of the conference final.

Sullivan thinks Sheary is beginning to show signs of igniting. 

"I thought he was real good," Sullivan said. "He was on the puck. He was quick. I thought he played that give-and-go game with Sid. When he plays that way, he's a real good player."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.