SAP CENTER — The Stanley Cup Final ended with thousands disappointed in San Jose as the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisted the trophy after defeating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 on Sunday.
The Shark Tank welcomed the team back home with cheers, hoping for a win in the last home game of the season to force a Game 7 in Pittsburgh. Not all things go according to plan, however.
“You never plan on losing when you get here,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. “You dream of winning. So it definitely hurts. It’s not fun.”
Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist’s empty net goal at 19:50 in the third widened their one-goal lead to ensure their fourth Stanley Cup win, seven years to the day from their 2009 win in Detroit.
“I give full credit to Pittsburgh,” San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer said. “They played a hell of a series.”
The Sharks received the first penalty of the night when forward Dainius Zubrus was whistled at 7:50 for tripping Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
Dumoulin struck first 8:16, scoring his second goal of the playoffs with assists from Justin Schultz and Chris Kunitz, putting the Penguins up 1-0.
San Jose returned in the second with a few good chances, then Couture slipped one through the legs of Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray at the 6:27 mark. His fifth goal and 30th point of the playoffs was assisted by Melker Karlsson and Brent Burns.
Less than two minutes after the Sharks tied the game, Pittsburgh struck back with a goal of their own. Defenseman Kris Letang scored his third goal of the playoffs, assisted by Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary at the 7:46 mark of the second.
“We were pushing from the second period on, so it’s not for a lack of effort,” defenseman Brent Burns said.
San Jose only registered two shots on goal in the third period, and Pittsburgh outshot them 27-19 in Game 6, totaling 206-139 in the series.
The Sharks went on their first power play of the game at 5:26 in the third period when Sheary took a hooking penalty on Justin Braun. San Jose couldn’t convert a single shot on goal and had difficulties staying in the offensive zone.
Martin Jones was the best player of the series for the Sharks, facing shot after shot from the Penguins and only allowing 13 goals on the 206 shots he went up against.
“It sucks right now, but we’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Jones said.