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Postgame thoughts - Penguins 3, Sharks 2 - 05-30-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

First things first, right winger Bryan Rust is "day-to-day" with an "upper-body" injury according to head coach Mike Sullivan.

At 4:47 of the third period, Rust entered the offensive zone on the right wing and tried to pass a pass. After he released it, Sharks center Patrick Marleau plastered him with a hit to the head with his right shoulder:

Rust left the game and retreated to the dressing room. He returned for one shift but eventually returned to the dressing room for good. 

Marleau was given a minor penalty for illegal check to the head. Sullivan, who usually avoid commentary on any sort of dangerous hit was direct in describing it:

"It's a blindside hit to the head.  He gets a penalty.  I'm sure the league will look at it."

Marleau offered his perspective on the hit:

“I just tried to keep everything down and didn't want to get up too high. I didn't see a replay so...”

Do he anticipate any supplemental discipline?

“I don't think so. I kept my shoulder in and my elbow and everything in so...”

Did you feel it on the shoulder in terms of the contact?

“I just kind of let him skate into me so...”

Many members of the NHL's Department of Player Safety were on hand to watch the game in person. Given the inconsistent nature of this increasingly frustrating institution within the league, it's difficult to say if any substantial action will be taken.

As far as the game goes. It was - as advertised - fast. The first period was lopsided in favor of the Penguins while the second period was slanted in favor of the Sharks. Things leveled off in the third period but both teams pushed things offensively and it became a track meat at times. The way this game was played, it's hard to envision this series not going seven games.

Either way, this series got off to a fast start ... literally.

"It was back and forth," said defenseman Justin Schultz. "It's going to be like that all series."

What happened

The Penguins took the series' first lead on a rebound. Rust drove a puck up the right wing and centered it to the high slot. Schultz took the pass then gripped and ripped a wrister which was blocked by Sharks defenseman Paul Martin. The puck ricocheted and deflected to the left of the cage which Rust was able to clean up the garbage and swatted it by the right leg of goaltender Martin Jones. Schultz and left winger Chris Kunitz had assists.

They made it a 2-0 game 62 seconds later. Center Sidney Crosby drove a puck deep on the left wing and spun off a check from defenseman Justin Braun. Off the left half wall, Crosby dealt a cross-ice backhand pass to left winger Conor Sheary. With right winger Patric Hornqvist driving defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to the crease, Sheary ripped a wrister past Jones' blocker on the far side. Assists went to Crosby and defenseman Olli Maatta.

The Sharks' dangerous power play went to work and tied the game 3:02 into the second period. After Sharks right winger Joel Ward danced the blue line to keep a puck in the offensive zone. Defenseman Brent Burns fed a pass from the right point right winger Joonas Donskoi off the right half wall. Donskoi then dealt it to center Thomas Hertl low to the right of the cage. Turning towards the crease, Hertl shot the puck through the legs of a kneeling Maatta and through the five hole of goaltender Matt Murray. Assists went to Donskoi and Burns. 

It became a 2-2 game with 1:38 left in the second. Fending off Maatta, Sharks center Logan Couture fed a pass from the left corner to Burns at the right point. Burns ripped a quick one-timer which Murray denied with his left skate. Marleau controlled the rebound, skated behind the net and tucked in a backhand wraparound goal by the right skate of Murray. Burns and Couture netted assists.

The Penguins reclaimed the lead for good with 2:33 left in regulation. Defenseman Kris Letang went in deep on the right wing and had a wrister blocked by Burns. The block knocked Burns' stick free and The puck slide into the left corner where left winger Carl Hagelin and Letang won a battle for it against Hertl. Letang dug the puck free and fired a pass past the stickless Burns to center Nick Bonino positioned to the left of the crease. Bonino had a year and a day to pick his shot and he lifted a wrister past Martin. The puck glanced off of Jones' blocker and deflected into the net.

After killing off a Sharks power play with 2:09 left in regulation, the Penguins claimed Game 1. 

The Penguins

-As has been the case throughout the past six months or so, the "Wilkes-Barre/Scranton" guys - who are undoubtedly "Pittsburgh" guys at this point - played a role in this victory. Goals by Rust and Sheary gave the Penguins a quick start. Murray buttoned things down after surrendering a two-goal lead. And defenseman Brian Dumoulin played a key role on the team's top defensive pairing. The trust Mike Sullivan has in these guys is very evident.

-Any potential absence by Rust would be a tough loss given his production as of late. He's just feeling it right now. The Penguins have been able to overcome injuries most of the season and on paper, a loss of Rust wouldn't seem overwhelming. But clearly, they would be a lesser team without him.

-The Penguins' top line of Crosby, Sheary and Hornqvist was very aggressive in this game. They went after the Sharks' top defensive pairing of Braun andVlasic and really peppered Jones with shots. The Sharks need Braun and Vlasic to be more effective if they're going to go head-to-head with that line.

-What more can you say about Bonino at this point? He scores so many important goals or contributes in so many key situations. On his goal tonight, he just read the play perfectly and found an open space in front of the cage. He's such an intelligent player and a sequence like his goal is evidence of that.

-The guts Letang showed in helping create Bonino's goal showed were impressive. How many other defensemen would have just chipped that puck deep and live to skate another shift? Instead, he took it upon himself to challenge Brent Burns - a finalist for the Norris Trophy - one-on-one and attempt a shot. Letang got a little lucky as Burns dropped his stick but took full advantage of Burns' predicament by passing to Bonino.

-Murray came through with another solid effort. The Sharks really attacked the net in the second period and exchanged chances in the third period. Perhaps he could have stopped Hertl's goal but he was really sharp otherwise. He needed a strong opening game like this after some up and down efforts against the Lightning.

-We think there was some evidence of the Penguins missing Daley in this game, particularly in the second period. The Sharks seemed to really pressure Maatta a bit and he was involved in some fashion on both of the Sharks' goals. We'll see how Daley's injury is felt over the course of the series.

-After Rust left for good, center Matt Cullen moved up from the fourth line to the right wing on the line with center Evgeni Malkin and left winger Kunitz. Cullen would certainly appear to have adequate speed for that line.

-Sheary's goal was a real shot. He didn't just throw that on net and hope it went in. He read Hornqvist's screen well and shot it. He continues to find ways to contribute.

-The penalty kill really came up big late in the game. The Penguins came up with big faceoff win in the defensive zone and cleared the puck a few times to ice this game. It was a clutch moment for this group.

-The one major wart int his game fo the Penguins was the power play going 0 for 3. The Sharks are going to get power-play goals. The Penguins need to match that output somewhat.

The Sharks

-In our opinion, Marleau's hit is worthy of a suspension. But as mentioned above, you never know with the NHL. If he is absent for any length of time, that would be a tough loss for the Sharks. His individual effort on his goal was proof of what he offers this team.

-Braun was playing with a heavy hear tonight as his father-in-law, former Atlanta Flames/Chicago Blackhawks center Tom Lysiak, died following a battle with Leukemia. He was 63. We won't dare speculate if his less-than-stellar play could be attribute to his presumed grief but clearly, this was hardly a great day for him.

-Braun will leave the team following Game 2 to attend to his family.

-You really can gain an appreciation for Burns by watching him in person as opposed to the television screen. In the first period, whent he Penguins were dominating play, Hagelin, one of the fastest players in the NHL, had a breakaway from the Sharks' blue line in. Burns chased him down and lifted his stick to prevent a shot:

-Additionally, Burns is such a weapon from the blue line. He shoots fast and accurately. He's such a great player.

-Jones was pretty sharp. He deserved a better fate. All three goals he allowed were hardly his fault. One was off a pinball deflection. The second was a blind screen and the third was a point blank wrister. Jones will keep this series competitive.

-Sharks center Joe Thornton had a few quality chances in the third period but had a fairly quiet game. Center Joe Pavelski was even more silent. The Shark need more from these two valuable players.

Quotable

-Bonino gave some play-by-play of his goal:

"Just came into the zone a little bit late. I saw [Letang] in the corner. [Hagelin] was down there battling with him.  Wasn't sure if I should get out of there and get above their guys. They kept it alive and [Letang] put it right on my stick. It's one of those shots that wasn't my hardest shot by any means, but just found a way to kind of flip it over him.  Great pass from [Letang]."

-Letang noted it's easier to make the pass did on Bonino's goal since Burns didn't have a stick:

"It's a lot easier because he's pretty good with that stick. Just a reaction of the [stray] stick. I decided to stay in. I thought I had a good chance to make the play."

-Letang explained why he chose to challenge Burns on the play leading to Bonino's goal:

"If I didn't jump there, we would have just chipped it and we would have lost control of the puck. So It was just a question of seeing the play develop and I had a chance to get the puck and keep control of it. That's how I kind of I see it. If I didn't think we couldn't get something, I probably have stayed back.”

-Cullen talked about Bonino:

"He's had some huge goals in the playoffs. He's come up really big. Playing in the middle of that line, he's been huge for us all playoffs. It just brings us another element of depth to our lines."

-Sullivan lauded Bonino:

"Well, I think he's a terrific player in every aspect of the game.  We use him in so many key situations, both offensively and defensively. I think he's a guy that has a real high hockey IQ, sees the ice really well.  He has real good hands.  His awareness defensively I think, the use of his stick to take passing lanes away, it's impressive. He's brave.  He blocks shots.  He's one of our better shot-blockers.  He's a good faceoff guy.  He's done so much for this team to help us get to this point. I don't know what other praise I can shower on him right now.  We think he's a terrific player."

-Cullen spoke about the late penalty kill:

“I thought we did a pretty good job. We understand how important that moment is. We did a good job of pressuring and trying not to allow them to set up. Guys blocked some big shots and that's what you've got to do to finish some of those games off."

-Dumoulin said not giving the Sharks many power-play chances was key:

"They're dangerous. Fortunately, we didn't give them too many chances. I think they only had two [power plays] in that game. That's a crucial key in every game we play against them, is to try to limit their power-play time and only taking two, I thought we did a pretty good job of that."

-Sheary gave some play-by-play of his goal:

"Sid beat his guy out of the corner. He rolled up there and they over-backchecked a bit there and they lost me weakside. I just had a lot of time to shoot that.”

-Sheary credited Hornqvist's screen on his goal:

“That's what he's good at. He's good in front of the net. I mean he took the goalie's eyes away completely and he couldn't' even see the puck.”

-Letang talked about the flow of the game:

"I think it was fast in the first for us, fast in the second for them. The third period was kind of in between, up and down a little bit. Our first, their second and the third was pretty balanced.”

-Sheary spoke about the game's speed:

"Two fast teams and two really good teams playing each other, it's going to be that way. They're dangerous off the rush so we kind of want to limit that but I think we are as well. So it was a really good game.”

-Dumoulin has a need for speed:

“It felt fast. That's a fun game to play up and down. We enjoy playing that type of game and we want to be even faster.”

-Hagelin was asked about the game's speed:

"Yeah, it was a fast?paced game for sure.  Two teams that came out with a lot of intensity.  We skated really hard in the first obviously.  They kind of caught up to us in the second when we stopped skating a little bit.  I think overall we have to use our speed to be successful in the series. "

-Murray talked about the game's flow:

"I would say we carried the play in the second and I would say they carried it most in the second period. And we got the momentum back for most of the third period. That's the playoffs. There's going to be ebbs and flows. I think if you can handle those momentum swings the right way, you're going to be better off in the long run."

-Crosby spoke about the start of the game:

"I think we just did a really good job of not tyring to feel the game out, especially early. You get two teams who haven't seen each other in a while. It's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup [Final]. I think that there's always nerves there. I think we did a good job of just playing and trying to get to our game. It gave us a big boost to to get that kind of start.”

-Sullivan talked about his players sitting back with a two-goal lead:

"I think part of it is human nature. I think there's a few things at play. You have to give the opponent credit. They're going to push, too, raise their intensity. I think that's part of it. But I also think sometimes it starts with our decisions with the puck. I thought early in the second period we turned the puck over a few times. We really didn't have a lot of ice to play on. We had opportunities to put pucks behind them. We chose to try to play in front of them instead of behind them. I think when we're at our best, we make the right decisions in the neutral zone, that area of the rink. I think there's a few dynamics at play. But certainly I think our players are well aware of how we have to play in order to play to our strengths and our identity. Speed is always a part of it, where we put our opponents under pressure, whether we have the puck or don't have the puck. Sometimes you're better off not having the puck, putting your opponents under pressure when they have to make a play under a lot of duress. You can create offense that way, as well. I think that's when we're at our best, is when we don't get stubborn with the puck, we make the right decisions, and we have the ability to generate offense different ways."

-Sheary thought the game would go to overtime:

-It kind of did have that feel a little bit. The way we were playing, we were evenly matched. That was a huge goal for us [with 2:33] left. Then a huge [penalty] kill at the end there. That gave us a little heart attack there but it was good.”

-Ditto Cullen:

"It's a close game, if you get to down to anywhere under five minutes to go in a game, you feel like next goal wins basically. It essentially felt like it was to that point already."

-Dumoulin spoke to Murray's effect on the defense:

"He's very calm in the net. And it helps us as a [defensive] corps., especially in the second period when they were weathering us a little bit. It was key for us to have him back there and make those crucial saves. He's a guy you see he doesn't get flustered. He bounces right back and I think that's one of the best things about him.”

-Letang talked about the contributions of Sheary and Rust:

"They're first and second line players right now. So it's not depth. It's our one-two punch lines that are scoring big goals for us. And you always have that line of Bonino, Phil and [Hagelin] that are always dangerous with our speed. [Rust] has a big role and [Sheary] has a big role to be on offensivel line with Sid.”

-Kunitz spoke to the value of Rust:

"It was nice when we were out there carrying the pace and carrying the play. Hopefully he's okay. We've had a good little run we've been together. … We've really contributed offensively and really carried the play. We need him in the lineup and hopefully he'll be okay."

-Cole drew comparisons to Letang's hit against Capitals center Marcus Johansson in the second round which drew a suspension:

“You never like to see that, especially a veteran player like Marleau throwing a high hit. It's something they've been trying to get out of the game for years now. A guy like him, I think he probably should know better. You saw that with [Letang's hit on Johansson in the second round], a similar play coming across the middle throwing a late hit and he gets a suspension there. So we'll see what happens with the league. Obviously, [Rust didn't finish the game]. But if he does not comes back, it's going to be something that's a huge hole to fill.”

-Sharks coach Pete DeBoer talked about the start of the game:

"I think the first period was a product, credit to them, they came out and were moving, like you would expect if you were playing at home in the first game of the Stanley Cup Final. We stood around and watched a little bit. Didn't get up to speed, didn't get up to pace. I really liked our second period. We started to play the way we're capable of playing. And the third, you know, we didn't play like we did in the second for long enough stretches. We had some spurts here and there. But they played their game for longer stretches than we did tonight. That's what happens. You don't deserve to win when you don't outplay the other team. "

Numbers

-The Penguins dominated shots, 41-26.

-Bonino and Hornqvist each led the game with six shots.

-Couture led the Sharks with four shots.

-Letang led the game with 27:48 of ice time.

-Burns led the Sharks with 24:07 of ice time.

-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 33-29 (53 percent).

-Cullen was 8 for 14 (57 percent).

-Pavelski was 10 for 18 (56 percent).

-Bonino led the game with six blocked shots.

-Braun led the Sharks with four blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-Rust set a franchise record for most goals (six) in a playoff season by a rookie. Center Michel Briere (five in 1970) previous held the mark.

-Rust is sixth in the NHL in goals this postseason. Sixth

-The last time rookies scored the opening goals of a Stanley Cup Final series was in 1924 when Canadiens center Howie Morenz scored twice.

-Bonino's goal was late. How late was it?

-Only three rookie goaltenders have won more games in a postseason than Murray:

-Hertl scored the Shark's first ever goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

Visuals

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

(Photos: Keith Srakocic/Associated Press)

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Jersey hunt - Sharks at Penguins - Game 1 - 05-30-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The best jerseys at tonight's Penguins-Sharks game:

-The always rare Deryk Engelland-Darius Kasparaitis pairing:

-Andy Bathgate:

-Jordan Staal:

-Bryan Rust:

-Bryan Trottier:

-Luc Robitaille:

-Matt Murray:

-Conor Sheary:

-Jaromir Jagr:

-There are quite a few Sharks fans here. Mike Ricci!

-Joe Thornton:

-Logan Couture:

-Mirco Mueller:

-Tommy Wingels:

-Brent Burns:

-Mitch Richmond Golden State Warriors?

-This is left over from the morning skate. The NHL's public relations department has placards for each player and coach on both teams for any press conference that may involve those individuals:

-The Lightning's placards were left behind:

-It's a good night for French Canadian backup goaltenders.  Jean-Sebastien Aubin:

-And Jocelyn Thibault:

-No. 12s are popular. Richard Park and Bob Errey, a former Sharks captain:

-Former Penguins/Sharks forward Bill Guerin:

 

-Former Penguins/Sharks defnseman Marty McSorley:

-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Sharks defensman Douglas Murray:

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Pregame thoughts - Penguins-Sharks - Game 1 - 05-30-1

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Center Sidney Crosby is used to drawing the top defensive matchups. Since the first game of his all-star career, he's drawn that kind of attention.

This series won't be any different.

He'll likely draw a defensive assignment he's quite familiar with in this Stanley Cup Final as well in Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

Crosby played against Vlasic often in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He played for Rimouski Oceanic while Vlasic played for the Quebec Ramparts.

Is Vlasic any different these days?

"Exactly the same," said Crosby, who also played with Vlasic for Canada in the 2014 Olympics (above). "Exactly the same. You know what? He probably didn't get a lot of credit for how good he was in junior. There's some guys that were probably maybe scouted and talked a little bit more than he was but I definitely remember playing against him Quebec. We saw him a lot. We were in the same division. You could see it even in junior. His game hasn't changed. He's very similar to then.”

Vlasic and his defensive partner, Justin Braun, have been used as the Sharks' shutdown pairing for most of the past few seasons and their exploits have had quite a showcase this postseason. They've been keyed on some of the top goal-scorers in the NHL this postseason. In the first round, they limited Kings center Tyler Toffoli to no goals in five games. In the second round, they clamped down on Predators left winger Filip Forsberg who had one goals in seven games. During the Western Conference final, Blues right winger Vladimir Tarasenko could only produce two goals in six games. 

What makes Vlasic so adept at being a shutdown defender?

"His poise," said Braun. "His playmaking ability. And always having a good stick. Guys arem't making passes through him. They're not getting around him. A lot of people don't' see the highlights of that kind of play. They're not seeing how great of a defensive player he is because they're not putting that on the highlights [of NHL Network] the next day."

"Just smart," Crosby said of Vlasic. "Really smart. He's able to get himself out of trouble. He's not the most physical guy but he's really good with his stick. He can block shots when he needs to. But I think just his hockey IQ, he doesn't need to work necessarily. He works smart. You definitely have to find way to create [against him]."

But with the Penguins boasting three lines which are scoring at the moment, will Braun and Vlasic definitely matchup against Crosby's line?

"They're not here by accident," said Braun. "Their forwards have been really good this playoffs. I think matchup-wise, you're going to have to be on every shift. There's not a shift off where your'r thinking third-, fourth-[lines]. Every line can score. We're going to have to be on top of our game in order to shut them down for this series."

---

Another matchup which will be critical in this series will be the Sharks' dangerous power play versus the Penguins' sturdy penalty kill. The Sharks have ripped things up by going 27.0 percent on the power play this season.

"It's very different," said center Eric Fehr (right). "It's tough to predict. They're one of the teams that changes up what they do and they don't rely on one or two plays. They're probably one of the best teams at switching things up." 

Like the Penguins' power play, the Sharks' power play uses four forwards (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski) and one defenseman (Brent Burns). Does that allow for opposing penalty killers to take short-handed scoring chances?

"Not really," said Fehr. "Not against these guys. They protect the puck really well. They don't take a lot high-risk chances. I think they do a pretty good job of moving the puck around the perimeter. Definitely not a team you're going to capitalize on their power play. Its as dangerous you're going to see."

---

Center Nick Bonino’s time with the Sharks came to an end before it even really started.

A sixth-round pick in 2007 by San Jose, Bonino’s signing rights, as well as goaltending prospect Timo Pielmeier, were dealt at the 2009 trade deadline to the rival Anaheim Ducks in exchange for veteran defenseman Kent Huskins and left winger Travis Moen.

Bonino, who never signed with the Sharks, found out about the trade while still attending Boston University.

“It was funny,” Bonino said. “I was in school. I was in a class and I couldn’t really concentrate. I had heard I was going to get traded. I ended up going to practice. Once I went to practice, I hadn’t been traded yet. It was a 3 [p.m.] practice. I came back to the room after. Had a bunch of calls and [text messages]. It’s definitely different in college. It doesn’t impact you that much at that point. Down the road, you can see how it worked out.”

The fact that he’s playing the team which drafted him for the Stanley Cup carries no extra significance with Bonino.

“It was cool to be drafted,” Bonino said. “I’ll always thank them for drafting me. But I only went to a couple of development camps. Really nice guys. A really good, good organization.”

I’ve got my draft jersey back back in my room at home. I’ll obviously never get rid of that. But that’s it.”

---

Right winger Pascal Dupuis (right) spoke yesterday during the media day at Consol Energy Center. He spoke quite a bit about his current status as being unofficially retired.

"I stayed away from it, from the game a little bit," Dupuis said. "I tried to step away and I missed it too much. But the hardest part was to be there every day and be with the guys. I still think I'm on the players' side. I go to the rink. I still have my change stall with the players. I still put my underwear on before they go on the ice. I still work out with the team when it works out. I'm still around the players. Yes, its still hard to come to the rink but the bigger picture is me trying to help this team winning."

A number of players around the NHL have been afflicted with blood clots in recent seasons including Dupuis, former Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun, Lightning center Steven Stamkos, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and Sabres center Cody McCormick. Dupuis was asked why he thinks its a more regular occurrence.

“I think the fact that its a little more known." Dupuis said. "If a guy would have had numbness in his arm 10, 15, 20 years ago, all right he's got a 'stinger' maybe. Right now, the doctors are so smart and it's t here. They start looking for different things. I think doctors are looking more for that stuff than they were earlier and that's maybe why they're catching them."

---

Sharks center Tomas Hertl was a Penguins fan growing up in the Czech Republic. The reasons was simple. Jaromir Jagr.

“He played here for the Pittsburgh Penguins," said the 22-year-old Hertl. "I have some pictures back home of him, a jersey. Because he was [an] idol for everybody back home because he was [the] No. 1 NHL guy. A lot of kids loved, same as me, the Pittsburgh Penguins because he was there.”

---

Defnesemen Brenden Dillon (right) and Roman Polak are the Sharks' third defensive pairing. What's it like being a third pairing begind the Vlasic-Braun and Paul Martin-Brent Burns pairings?

“We don't like to think of ourselves as a third [defensive] pairing but if you look at the guys ahead of you, you got two Olympians, an all-star, a World Championship winner," Dillon said. "I think in this day an age, you have to have that depth on teams. I think for me and Roman, Roman's an Olympian. He just got named on a World Cup team and he's playing on the third pairing as well. I think that's something that's made our team successful this year is being able to have three pairings that can play against any lineup [and] can play against whoever is out there.”

---

The Sharks came into the NHL as a pretty bad expansion team in 1991-92. They were torched many nights by the NHL's established teams. In their first meeting with the Penguins at the Cow Palace Dec. 5, 1991, the Penguins lit them up, 8-0. Center Mario Lemieux scored the first goal.

So clearly, them being in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is really significant.

There's a sense," said first year coach Pete DeBoer. "First year in the community, I didn't realize kind of the baggage that was carried around. Twenty-five year season ticketholders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.  There were some moments there after where the gravity of what they've been through and how important this is to them. 

---

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was a member of that inaugural Sharks team which played at the Cow Palace. The multi-purpose facility hosted several sports events and - as the name would suggest - livestock and rodeo exhibitions. It wasn't exactly ideal for hockey however.

“What I remember most about the Cow Palace is if you had the fortunate privilege to have the last shift of the period, and then you had to walk up those stairs, it was like the green mile,” Sullivan said. “I think they had to put chairs down at the bottom to give that last shift a chance to rest before they had to climb up the stairs to the locker room.”

(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images, Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images, Seth Rorabaugh/Post-Gazette and Martin Rose/Getty Images)

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About the Sharks - Game 1 - 05-30-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Sharks.

When and where: 8:10 p.m., EDT.  Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC, CBC.

Leading postseason scorer: Center Logan Couture, 24 points (8 goals, 24 assists).

Last Game: 5-2 home win against the Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. Right winger Joel Ward (right) scored two goals for the Sharks.

Probable goaltenders: Matt Murray (11-4, 2.21 GAA, .924 SV%) for the Penguins. Martin Jones (12-6, 2.12 GAA, .919 SV%) for the Sharks.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Nick Bonino (undisclosed) and right winger Tom Kuhnhackl (left foot/ankle) is probable. Defenseman Trevor Daley (broken left ankle) is out. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), center Kevin Porter (right ankle) and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle or foot) are on injured reserve. For the Sharks, left winger Matt Nieto (undisclosed) and defenseman Matt Tennyson ("upper body") are questionable.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess at their lines and pairings:

43 Conor Sheary - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
62 Carl Hagelin - 13 Nick Bonino - 81 Phil Kessel
 14 Chris Kunitz 71 Evgeni Malkin - 17 Bryan Rust
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 7 Matt Cullen - 16 Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin - 58 Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - 12 Ben Lovejoy
28 Ian Cole - 4 Justin Schultz

-The Sharks had an optional morning skate. Their expected lines and pairings are:

48 Tomas Hertl – 19 Joe Thornton – 8 Joe Pavelski
12 Patrick Marleau – 39 Logan Couture – 27 Joonas Donskoi
68 Melker Karlsson – 50 Chris Tierney – 42 Joel Ward
9 Dainius Zubrus – 16 Nick Spaling – 57 Tommy Wingels

44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic – 61 Justin Braun
7 Paul Martin – 88 Brent Burns
4 Brenden Dillon – 46 Roman Polak

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Sharks, this happened:

-Bonino participated in an optional morning skate after skipping two days of practice. He is expected to play.

-Letang did not participate in today's skate or yesterday's practice. He said he is playing.

-Among players who have played at least one game this postseason, the Penguins have an average size of 6-foot-1, 197 pounds. The Sharks have an average size of 6-foot-2, 207 pounds.

-This is the Penguins' fifth appearance in a Stanley Cup Final. This is the Sharks' first appearance.

-The referees are (No. 4) Wes McCauley and (No. 13) Dan O'Halloran. The stand-by referee is (No. 9) Dan O'Rourke. The linesmen are (No. 65) Pierre Racicot and (No. 75) Derek Amell. The stand-by lineseman is (No. 95) Johnny Murray.

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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