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Sharks' Jones Up to Task in Game 3 Victory

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks



SAN JOSE --
San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones knew what kind of night it was going to be in the first period Saturday when he faced 14 shots from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Jones let the Penguins know what type of challenge they were in for when he stopped 13 of those shots, including one by Phil Kessel on a breakaway from point-blank range.

"He was coming in," Jones said of Kessel. "Just the way he had the puck it looked like he was going to shoot. I just tried to stay aggressive and got a pad on it.

"I felt good going into the game. I can't control what happens, how the game goes. I can't rely on making a breakaway save to get into the game. I felt like I was ready from the start of the game."

Jones made 40 saves in the Sharks' 3-2 overtime victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center. San Jose trails the best-of-7 series to 2-1 and avoided a 3-0 hole in large part because Jones refused to break in the game's final 33:11.

Jones has been under siege since the Cup Final began. He has faced 113 shots and stopped 106. He faced 41 shots in Game 1, 30 in Game 2, and 42 in Game 3.

"Not hard to be focused this time of year, but yeah, they're a tough team to play," Jones said. "They come with a lot of speed, they get a lot of pucks to the net. We've done a good job in front of the net, I thought. Tonight was no different."

The Penguins had a chance to take the lead with less than 15 seconds left in the third period when defenseman Kris Letang took a wrist shot from the point, but Jones made the save. Moments later, Carl Hagelin sent the rebound Jones' way from the slot, but he made that save too, covering the puck in the crease.

"He kept us in it," Sharks forward Chris Tierney said. "They obviously had a couple chances. He made a couple big saves. Big saves in overtime. Ten seconds left, he got that cover on. He obviously gave us a chance to win like he does every night. We finally got one for him."

The Sharks had lost their first four overtime games in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs before winning Game 3. Jones made nine saves in overtime, and the Sharks survived to win a Cup Final game for the first time in their history.

"Jones has been great the whole series, all playoffs," Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said. "Another fantastic effort from him. You can't ask for much more from him because he's playing great."

Jones came to the Sharks from the Boston Bruins in an offseason trade, days after the Los Angeles Kings traded him to Boston. He had never been a full-time starting goaltender before this season and never started a game in the playoffs. But he backed up Jonathan Quick in 2014 when the Kings won the Stanley Cup.

"He was obviously waiting in L.A. for a shot," Tierney said. "He was the backup there for a long time. He probably learned a lot there being behind Jonathan Quick, a great goalie. It's his time now. He's a starter and he's our guy. I think he knows that.

"He's just had a calming effect ever since Day One. He knows that we need him at his best every night and he brings it for us."

by Eric Gilmore / NHL.com Correspondent

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