Game 1 provided a little of everything. Shawn P. Roarke chronicled some sights, sounds and news from Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
End of Game: What a Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Pittsburgh Penguins survive a late penalty to win the game 3-2 on the strength of a late goal from Nick Bonino.
Bonino helped kill the penalty with a crucial block as well.
It all sets up an intriguing Game 2 On Wednesday. Please join us then.
17:32 of third period: The Penguins have the lead and the building is electric and deafening.
Nick Bonino, who was questionable until declaring himself fit Monday morning, scored on a one-timer from the low slot after taking a centering pass from Kris Letang. It was Bonino's fourth goal of the playoffs.
16:00 of third period: It is the Penguins who are surging in the third period.
Sidney Crosby, the Penguins captain has been playing at another level than almost any other player on the ice. In the past five minutes, he has set up a golden opportunity by Patric Hornqvist and then had his own great chance from the goal line extended. Jones, who has 37 saves, denied both those opportunities.
The Penguins, however, are playing one forward short. Bryan Rust, who scored the first goal of Game 1, left the contest shortly after absorbing a hit to the head from Patrick Marleau.
10:08 of third period: The penguins and Sharks are trading chances here in the third period as we pass the midway point.
A dominant shift from San Jose's top line ended in a Grade-A chance by Tomas Hertl that was thwarted. Hertl is having a particularly good game.
Pittsburgh went down the other end after that chance though and forced Martin Jones into a tough save. After being under siege in the first period, Jones has looked sharp since.
6:59 of third period: The Sharks successfully completed their third penalty kill of the game, negating a power play created by an illegal check to the head by Patrick Marleau against Bryan Rust, who scored the first goal of the game.
Start of the third period: All is left to play for as the Sharks and Penguins take the ice tied at 2-2.
It has been a game of surges. The Penguins surged first, dominating the first period by outshooting the Sharks 15-4. The shot attempts were 27-14 in Pittsburgh's favor after 20 minutes.
The Sharks used the intermission to regroup and find a way to maintain possession of the puck. The results were startling. San Jose scored the only two goals of the period and had 27 shots attempts to 13 for the Penguins.
Who will find the ability to surge in the third period and break the tie?
End of second period: We have a 2-2 game heading into the third period with the Penguins enjoying a 23-17 advantage in shots on goal.
In the second period, it was 13-8 in favor of the Sharks. Tomas Hertl scored on the third shot of the period, on the power play, and Patrick Marleau scored on the final shot of the period for the Sharks.
The Penguins will have the early advantage in the third period as they play out the final 52 second of a power play awarded when forward Joe Pavelski was whistled for tripping. After the whistle, Joe Thornton and Evgeni Malkin also received matching minor penalties for roughing.
18:12 of second period: The comeback continues.
Patrick Marleau, playing in the first Stanley Cup Final gameof his career, tied it 2-2 with a sweet wrap-around goal off a rebound, beating Matt Murray to the far post with the Sharks 13th shot of the period. It was his fifth of the postseason.
The goal was made possible by an aggressive rush up the ice and deep into the Pittsburgh zone and then some hearty board work by Logan Couture, who fed the puck back to Burns for a point shot that generated the rebound.
10:00 of second period: Midway through the second period, it is a completely different game than it was in the first.
The Tomas Hertl power play goal is tangible proof that the Sharks have been a much better team. In the first six minutes of the period, they out-shot the Penguins, 8-1 and Matt Murray had to make key saves on Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver is in the crowd, joining the aforementioned Brett Keisel, the retired defensive end, as famous football players in the Consol Energy Center crowd.
Athletes from other sports are also enjoying this Game. 1. Golfer Ernie Els tweeted during the game his amazement at the speed at which the game was being played and noted a big second period was coming up for the Sharks.
Pittsburgh leads 2-1.
3:02 of second period: San Jose got what it needed with a goal from its dangerous power play.
This one, though, came from the less-heralded second unit. Right wing Tomas Hertl took a pass along the goal line from left wing Joonas Donskoi and walked into the slot before beating Matt Murray between the legs. Defenseman Brent Burns got the secondary assist.
The goal came on the third shot of the period, all by San Jose.
Start of second period: The Sharks needed the 18-minute intermission to figure out what went wrong in the first period and make adjustments for the second period.
There have been very few times in the previous 18 games that they have been dominated in the manner that Pittsburgh dominated the first 20 minutes.
The Penguins had more shots (15) than the Sharks had shot attempts (14).
On a historical note, the goals by Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary were, according to Elias Sports, the first time since the 2009 Stanley Cup Final that two rookies have scored in the same game. In that game, against the Penguins, Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson each scored in Game 2.
End of first period: Pittsburgh takes a 2-0 lead and all the confidence into the dressing room after the first period of Game 1.
After an even stretch to start the Game, the Penguins were the dominant team in the final 15 minutes. Not only did they get goals from Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary 62 seconds apart, but they out-shot the Sharks 15-4 and held the visitors without a shot for a stretch of more than eight minutes in the middle of the period.
The highlight for the Sharks in the first period was a tremendous backcheck from defenseman Brent Burns, who somehow caught Carl Hagelin, the fastest player on the ice, on a breakaway.
Not surprisingly, the Penguins exited the ice to a standing, towel-waving ovation.
13:48 Bryan Rust likes this hero business. The Pittsburgh forward scored two goals in the Game 7 win against the Lightning on Thursday. He scored the game-opening goal in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It is his fourth goal in past three games and sixth this postseason.
Justin Schultz took a shot and it bounced off the leg of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and right onto the stick of Rust for a shot past a scrambling Martin Jones.
Conor Sheary added a second goal 62 seconds later, using a heavy screen in front to find the far post. Sidney Crosby had the primary assist on the goal.
10:00 first period: Halfway through the first period, the speed of the game has been break-neck. It is faster than what the Sharks have played in their first three rounds, but they have not been overwhelmed by it.
After a strong start to the game by the Penguins attack, the Sharks found their equilibrium and made it more of an even game.
Perhaps the biggest cheer so far came a few minutes ago when the Jumbotron showed former Penguins forward Max Talbot in the stands.
The score remains 0-0.
8:26 p.m. What an emotional start to Game 1. Jeff Jimerson sings the Star Spangled Banner on this Memorial Day and the fans try to blow the roof off the Consol Energy Center. It's as loud as it has been here all playoffs according to the locals in the press box.
"Walk" by Pantera was the last song before the puck dropped and it was a perfect prelude to all that will follow as respect will be a central theme for the better part of the next two weeks.
The fans here started the "We Want the Cup!" chant on the first shift of the game to make their intentions clear.
8:05 p.m. Warmups recently concluded here as the Consol continues to turned a brighter shade of yellow.
There was little intrigue during the warmups. As predicted this morning, both defenseman Kris Letang and forward Nick Bonino were on the ice for warmups and will play in Game 1.
Letang did not skate during practice Sunday or at the morning skate Monday, but he looked ready during warmups. Bonino sustained a lower-body injury in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and missed practice Sunday. He skated Monday morning and said it would take a more significant injury to keep him out of the lineup.
Bonino, by the way, was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2007, selected at No. 173.
He attended a couple of developmental camps with the Sharks, but never played in a game with the organization. He was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2009.
For the Sharks, they decided to stick with the same lineup they used in the Western Conference Final against the St. Louis Blues. That means that Matt Nieto, healthy after being sidelined for seven games with an upper-body injury, remains out of the lineup.
7:32 p.m. Welcome to Consol Energy Center for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It is a near-perfect evening for hockey here in the Steel City as the best-of-7 series starts.
A little less than an hour before the drop of the puck and the arena is already considerably full of fans, many wearing the yellow T-shirts that are the Game 1 promotional giveaway here.
The excitement here is palpable across the city throughout the Memorial Day weekend, but it has built to a crescendo as the day has progressed. The area around Consol is a black-and-gold party at the moment.
NHL Network just caught up with Brett Keisel, the former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end, outside the arena. Keisel was known for his famous unruly beard, which spilled out over his chinstrap during his playing days. He still has the signature beard, but it is a little more groomed these days. It's probably the fourth best beard in the building tonight, trailing those sported by defenseman Brent Burns and forward Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks and forward Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins.