SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks remarkable season, and their historic playoff run, has come to an end.
The Sharks, who played from behind for almost the entire length of the series, couldn’t erase a final one-goal deficit as the Pittsburgh Penguins captured their fourth-ever Stanley Cup with a 3-1 win in Game 6 of the final at SAP Center.
Logan Couture scored the only goal for the Sharks and Martin Jones made 24 saves in their final performances of the season.
Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang scored the first two goals for the Penguins, who won the Cup for the first time since 2009. Patric Hornqvist scored into an empty net with 1:02 left in the third period to seal the victory.
The Sharks scrambled to create scoring opportunities in the final period. But the Penguins, who dominated the series with their superior quickness, limited the Sharks to just two shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Sharks had one power play chance after Conor Sheary was called for hooking Justin Braun 5:36 into the third period. But the opportunity slipped by without any Sharks shots on net, as they finished the series with one power play goal on 12 tries in six games.
It was the tip of the iceberg in terms of offensive frustration for the Sharks.
Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau combined for eight points in the series, as the Penguins took away their time and space to be creative and make plays.
A bright spot for the Sharks over the last two games was the play of Couture.
Couture tied the game 1-1 with 13:33 left in the second period with his 10th goal of the playoffs, stickhandling as he worked his way toward the Penguins’ net to buy some space before his shot on goal got through Matt Murray.
But the Penguins answered right back with another strong shift, as Letang’s shot from a sharp angle — off a nifty pass from Crosby — got past Jones for a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead. The play began when Roman Polak failed to clear the puck out of the Sharks zone.
The Sharks, in their history, had never come all the way back from a 3-1 series deficit. They did have one series win when they trailed a round 3-2, which came in 1995 when they beat the Calgary Flames in Game 6 at home and Game 7 on the road.
The Sharks gave up a power play goal for the third straight game, and for the second straight game, it came after a penalty to Dainius Zubrus.
Just 26 seconds after Zubrus was called for tripping Dumoulin along the boards in the Sharks’ defensive zone, Dumoulin scored on a shot from inside the blue line to give thePenguins a 1-0 lead with 11:44 to go in the first period. On Thursday, the Penguins got their first goal in the first period when Zubrus was in the penalty box for delay of game.
The flow of the first period was reminiscent of Games 4 and 5, with the Penguins dominating possession. They outshot the Sharks 9-4, but goalie Martin Jones kept Pittsburghfrom adding two or three goals to its count, including a pad save on Sheary
The Sharks had several prime scoring chances, including a breakaway for Matt Nieto and shot from the slot by Brent Burns, but couldn’t convert.
The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup title, beating the Sharks 3-1 on Sunday night at SAP Center.
The Sharks were making their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in the 25-year history of the franchise.
San Jose got down three-games-to-one before winning Thursday night in Pittsburgh, but the Penguins grabbed an early lead in Game 6, and although the Sharks tied the game 1-1 in the second period, Kris Letang answered quickly to give the Pens a 2-1 lead, which they never relinquished.