Three Stars: Joonas Donskoi answers call for Sharks in Game 3
Facing the prospect of an 0-3 hole in the Stanley Cup Final, the San Jose Sharks battled through a pair of Game 3 deficits to take the Pittsburgh Penguins to overtime, where Joonas Donskoi provided the heroics for a 3-2 win.
The victory is the franchise’s first in the Final, and the Sharks have a chance to even things up in Game 4 on Monday.
Here’s who stood out to us Saturday:
Joonas Donskoi, San Jose Sharks
The Sharks needed a hero in Game 3, and Donskoi answered the call with the biggest goal of San Jose's season...so far.
With the cycle clicking deep in the Penguins zone, the rookie winger picked up the puck behind the net, drove wide around a defender and wristed a shot that found daylight between the crossbar and Matt Murray's shoulder. Any goal would have looked as beautiful as a newborn to the Sharks, but that one was something special.
Donskoi becomes just the sixth freshman to score an OT winner in the Final, following Pittsburgh's Conor Sheary who did the same in Game 2. The goal was his sixth of the postseason, one off the franchise record set by Logan Couture in 2011.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Seventeen shot attempts? Was the puck ever not on his stick?
A diligent defensive effort by the Pens kept the blueline bomber off the scoresheet, but they couldn't hide his massive impact on this game. This was Beastmode Burnzie doing everything in his power to keep his team alive.
And Burns being Burns, he was able to laugh at how often he was denied.
"I hope they run out of sticks soon," he said. "I'm trying to break their budget."
Ben Lovejoy, Pittsburgh Penguins
Lovejoy has been a quietly significant piece of Pittsburgh's defensive puzzle in the playoffs, delivering a safe, simple performance that coach Mike Sullivan has come to rely upon. But after toiling in relative anonymity for three rounds, he finally earned his moment in the spotlight in Game 3 with a goal, an assist and four blocked shots. It was the first multi-point playoff game of his career.