Joonas Donskoi has made an impact for the San Jose Sharks, from rookie camp to training camp, during the regular season and now during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But Donskoi made perhaps the biggest impact of his first NHL season Saturday when he scored 12:18 into overtime to give the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center. His goal gave the Sharks the first Cup Final win in their 25-year history.
Here are five things to know about the 24-year-old forward:
1. The Florida Panthers selected Donskoi in the fourth round (No. 99) of the 2010 NHL Draft. But he never played a game with Florida and stayed in Finland until signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Sharks in May 2015.
2. Donskoi is from Raahe, a small town in northern Finland. Only three players from Raahe have made it to the NHL. The only other active player is Nashville Predators forward Miikka Salomaki, who Donskoi played against in the Western Conference Second Round, when San Jose eliminated Nashville in seven games. The third is retired defenseman Janne Niinimaa.
3. Donskoi played six seasons for Karpat of Liiga, Finland's top professional hockey league, and helped it win back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015. He finished the 2014-15 season with 49 points (19 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 58 regular-season games.
4. Donskoi scored a goal in his first NHL game, a 5-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Oct. 7. How did he do against San Jose's opponent in the Cup Final? He had one assist in two regular-season games against the Penguins this season.
5. Donskoi has six goals in this year's playoffs. He scored his first two in a 6-3 win in Game 5 of the first round against the Kings. His first came 1:08 into the first period; his second, at 3:58 of the third, gave San Jose a 4-3 lead and ended up being the series-clinching goal.
by Joseph Calabrese @JoeCalabreseNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer