PITTSBURGH — Conor Sheary scored in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup final.
Sheary beat Martin Jones through traffic at the 2:35 mark of overtime after the Sharks evened the score 1-1 with less than five minutes to go in regulation.
Phil Kessel also scored for the Penguins, while Matt Murray stopped 21 shots in net.
Jones made 28 saves for San Jose and Justin Braun had the only goal for the Sharks, who dropped to 5-2 this spring when coming off a loss.
San Jose was frustrated by its slow start in Game 1 and though there were an encouraging opening few minutes in Game 2 the Sharks were again stymied by the Penguins' speed and pressure.
San Jose winger Joel Ward had the first good chance of the game less than two minutes into the opening frame, but from there the Sharks went cold.
The highest scoring team throughout these playoffs, San Jose generated next to nothing offensively, stuck defending in their own zone most of the time.
The Sharks top line of Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl combined for only two shots in the first period, coming close only on a Hertl backhand attempt that hit the post.
The unit, though boasting strong puck possession, remains pointless at even strength in the series.
Much like in Monday's opener, Jones had to be both sharp and lucky to keep his team close. The Sharks netminder made a left pad stop on Matt Cullen from high in the slot, adding a right pad save on Kessel to his save total a short while later.
Kessel had three shots during an engaged start and five attempts on goal on the night.
Like Game 1, which saw the Penguins score twice and outshoot the Sharks 15-4, Wednesday's opening period clearly favoured the home side.
Shots were 11-6 for Pittsburgh in a fast-paced 20 minutes, but the score remained even at 0-0.
That changed at the 8:20 mark of the second when Kessel scored his team-leading 10th goal of the playoffs.
The play started when Sharks defenceman Roman Polak flubbed on a passing attempt in front of his own goal, teammate Brenden Dillon unable to control the puck thereafter. Dillon was picked free by the Penguins Carl Hagelin, who found teammate Nick Bonino, his passing attempt effortlessly guided in by Kessel.
The trio of Kessel, Hagelin and Bonino has been the Penguins best this post-season, Kessel also leading the team with 19 points.
San Jose's struggles continued. They went more than 11 minutes without a shot at one point in the second and finished the period with only five shots, rarely assembling anything dangerous in front of Murray.
Chris Tierney nearly got the visitors on the board in the opening five minutes of the third, his rush attempt ringing off the post.
He was joined at the other end by Kessel, who hit the left post with a shot as Jones searched to find it.
It took until the 4:05 mark of the third for the Sharks to tie the score. Controlling the puck confidently behind the Penguins goal, Logan Couture found Braun at the point, his shot sailing through traffic before pinging off the post and in.
It was the first goal of the post-season by the Sharks defenceman and 26th point for Couture, who leads all players in playoff scoring.
San Jose kept the pressure on and nearly scored in the final minute of regulation on a redirected shot by Ward.
The Sharks outshot the Penguins 9-6 in the third period, rallying from a sluggish opening two periods.
It wasn't enough though and San Jose will now have to win four of the next five to win its first Stanley Cup.
The 2011 Boston Bruins were the last team to go down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup final and still emerge victorious.