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Sharks Win Game 5, Keep Penguins from Stanley Cup

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

Goalie Martin Jones made 44 saves, and the San Jose Sharks prevented the Pittsburgh Penguins from winning the Stanley Cup with a 4-2 victory in Game 5 of the Final at Consol Energy Center on Thursday.

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 3-2 with Game 6 at SAP Center in San Jose on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"This team hasn't quit all year and we're not going to start now," Jones told NBC. "There's still a long way to go, it's going to be an uphill battle, but we're going to fight till the very end."

Jones' most impressive moment came with 4:45 remaining in the second period. With San Jose leading 3-2, Pittsburgh forward Phil Kessel shot off Jones' right pad with the rebound coming to Nick Bonino near the right circle. Bonino shot toward an open right side of the net, but Jones slid over for a toe save that preserved the lead.

"He's been doing this all year," Sharks forward Joe Thornton said to NBCSN of Jones. "He's the backbone of our team. We just feel so much confidence just coming out of him. But just a spectacular performance out of him tonight."

San Jose was outshot 46-22. Brent Burns, Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson scored for the Sharks in the first period.

Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin scored for Pittsburgh, which was trying to win the Stanley Cup at home for the first time. The Penguins won the Cup three times on the road (1991 at Minnesota North Stars; 1992 at Chicago Blackhawks; 2009 at Detroit Red Wings).

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told NBCSN. "These are two really good teams playing against one another, and the elimination game is always the most difficult, we knew it going in, we knew we were going to have to bring our best, and I thought we did a lot of really godd things out there."

It would have been the first time a major professional sports team from Pittsburgh won a championship at home since the 1960 Pirates defeated the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series at Forbes Field.

"I thought that [we] handled (the emotion) fine," Sullivan said. "When you look at how the game was played there was a lot of things to like about how we played. ... There are a lot of things I think that we can build on."

San Jose scored twice in the first 2:53 before Pittsburgh answered with two goals in 22 seconds to tie the game 2-2 at 5:06.

The four goals in that time broke the record to start a Final game set by the Penguins and Blackhawks, who each scored twice in the first 6:51 of Game 4 of the 1992 Final.

Burns gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead when he wrapped around the left side of the net and shot inside the left post and rookie goalie Matt Murray's blocker at 1:04 of the first period. The goal was Burns' first of the series; he last scored twice against the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Final on May 17.

Couture made it 2-0 with his first goal of the series 1:49 later when he deflected a shot from Justin Braun over Murray's blocker.

"Figured he would be a little nervous tonight, obviously what's at stake," Couture said of Murray. "We were able to get a couple by him early."

Couture scored three points to give him 29, which leads the playoffs.

"I haven't done too much this series," Couture said. "You want to contribute. We knew what the series was at, what a loss would have meant to us, so wanted to try to force the game back in San Jose."

The Penguins scored soon after Sharks forward Dainius Zubrus was called for delay of game at 4:21. After receiving a cross-ice pass from Kessel, Malkin delayed his shot, allowing Jones to slide to the right post, before shooting off Braun's skate and into the net 4:44 into the first period.

Malkin's goal was his second in the past two games after failing to score in his previous six and 14 of his previous 15.

"I thought our team as a whole was a little bit unsettled at the first part of the game, but we settled in fast," Sullivan said. "Obviously we didn't have the start that we would have liked, but I really liked the fact that we battled back as quick as we did."

Hagelin tied the game 2-2 when Bonino intercepted a pass from San Jose defenseman Brenden Dillon, carried the puck to the top of the right circle and shot over a sliding Dillon, off Hagelin and past Jones. Hagelin had last scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final on May 18.

"It's a long game, there's going to be ups and downs and that was just a down point," Thornton said. "We've been doing this so long now, there's no panic in our game."

Pittsburgh nearly took a lead when Chris Kunitz and Kessel each hit the post midway through the period.

"We couldn't seem to find that third goal," Sullivan said. "But I give our players a lot of credit. We stayed with it throughout the course of the game. It was just one of those nights we couldn't find that goal."

San Jose scored a third goal on its fifth shot of the first period. Couture backhanded a pass by Bonino to Karlsson, who shot through Murray to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead on his second goal in as many games with 5:13 remaining.

Joe Pavelski scored his first goal of the series into an empty net with 1:20 remaining in the third period for the 4-2 final.

The Sharks played without forward Tomas Hertl for a third consecutive game. Coach Peter DeBoer said Hertl remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

"We get to play again, that's the big thing," Thornton said. "We know if we lose, we're out, it's as easy as that. We get to go home in front of our great fans; it should be a great game."

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

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