Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

Grinders outshine stars in Cup final

SAN JOSE, Calif. — This is a Stanley Cup final filled with stars who have won the Hart Trophy, Olympic gold medals and numerous other awards — players such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

But through three games in the series, those players haven't shown up on the scoring sheet. After three straight one-goal games, two decided in overtime, some lesser-known players have delivered the goals.

"You look through these playoffs and third-line, fourth-line guys have stepped up for both teams and scored big goals," Sharks center Logan Couture said Sunday. "You need that when you get to this point."

Sharks rookie Joonas Donskoi became the latest on that list Saturday when he scored the overtime winner in San Jose's 3-2 victory in Game 3 that cut Pittsburgh's series lead to 2-1. Game 4 is tonight in San Jose.

In Game 2 Penguins rookie Conor Sheary got the winner. Before that, it had been 30 years since a rookie scored in OT in a Cup final — Montreal's Brian Skrudland in Game 2 against Calgary.

Sharks defenseman Justin Braun scored in the past two games, matching his total from the previous 40 contests.

"I'm happy I can finally chip in offensively," he said. "A lot of other guys have done a lot of heavy lifting to get us here."

Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who has 15 goals in 334 regular-season games, scored one of the Penguins' goals in Game 3 and set up the other that was deflected in by Patric Hornqvist. Nick Bonino got the Game 1 winner for Pittsburgh when the other goals were scored by rookies Sheary and Bryan Rust.

"You just try to worry about yourself and make sure you're doing your job and as a team you're doing the things necessary to give yourself a chance to win games," Crosby said. "It's tight."

Note: Sharks forward Tomas Hertl remained day to day with a lower-body injury.

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