Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Sharks had chances early, culminating in a backhand attempt at the front of the Ranger net by Alyn McCauley (SJ) after he moved around two Ranger defenders. The puck sailed past the outstretched glove of Mike Dunham (NYR). Sharks 1, Rangers 0.
Mike Rathje (SJ) then had his own attempt blockered away by Dunham (NYR), and the game continued. Midway through the 1st period, Adam Graves (SJ) took a pass from Dan McGillis (SJ) and broke in alone on Dunham (NYR) Graves crossed the crease and backhanded a shot high against his former team. Similar to Alyn McCauley's (SJ) shot, this one also reached the back of the net. Sharks 2, Rangers 0
Dixon Ward (NYR) then took a pass from Darius Kasparaitis (NYR) to break in alone on Evgeni Nabokov (SJ). Nabokov stopped Ward's first shot, kicked the rebound out, and Ward finished a backhander as Nabokov was too far back in his crease to be effective. Sharks 2, Rangers 1.
Adding to the Sharks' newfound woes, Scott Hannan (SJ) took a hooking penalty on Mark Messier (NYR) to give the Rangers an opportunity to erase their early 2-0 deficit. However, it was Brad Stuart (SJ) and Teemu Selanne (SJ) who had the early scoring chance and controlled the puck in the Rangers' zone. At the end of the powerplay, however, a bad turnover lead to Alexei Kovalev (NYR) feeding Mark Messier (NYR) in the slot one-on-one against Evgeni Nabokov (SJ), but the Sharks' goalie stopped him cold.
Teemu Selanne (SJ) continued his puck possession dominance in the Rangers' zone, with a cut-in move that saw his backhand attempt beat Dunham (NYR), but not the post. Selanne registered two more shots in the final minutes of the 1st Period. The Rangers, though, were outshooting the Sharks 9-7 by the 1st Intermission.
The Sharks and Rangers traded early offensive chances and big hit. Nabokov's poor puck control continued, but the rebounds he surrendered were snuffed out by the Sharks' defenders. Petr Nedved (NYR) then entered the Sharks' zone on the far side and spotted a streaking Alexei Kovalev (NYR) on the short side, and fed him a pass for a clean one-timer feed. Kovalev hurried the shot along, and Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) stacked the pads for a miraculous save to preserve the Sharks' lead.
Moments later, on a delayed penalty, the Marco Sturm (SJ) and Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) sent a flurry of shots toward Mike Dunham (NYR), who managed to keep them off the scoreboard. Chris Simon (NYR) was assessed a penalty for hooking Kyle McLaren (SJ), and the Sharks had their first powerplay of the game. Teemu Selanne (SJ) continued buzzing around the Ranger net with no results, and Adam Graves' (SJ) chances met the same fate.
The Rangers won a faceoff in their zone, buck Marco Sturm (SJ) made a big hit in the corner to retake the puck and passed to a wide open Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) for a top-shelf powerplay marker to extend the lead. Sharks 3, Rangers 1.
Shortly afterward, the Rangers had an opportunity of their own when Tom Poti (NYR) passed to Mark Messier (NYR) in the slot, who fired a one-timer that Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) stretched out and managed to barely save with his blocker. The period ended with the Rangers outshooting the Sharks 17-12.
The Rangers started the third period by continuing to pepper Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) with shots from multiple angles, but he stopped them all. Alexei Kovalev (NYR) and Mark Messier (NYR) connected on several beautifully crafted passing plays but Nabokov continued to exemplify why he was the winningest goaltender of the regular season and the postseason thus far. At the other end of the ice, Mike Dunham (NYR) made his own saves to keep the Rangers within striking distance.
Off a Sharks' turnover, Petr Nedved (NYR) took a shot from the point that Nabokov saved. Rob Davison (SJ) made a rookie mistake and passed through the slot, which Nedved intercepted and managed to score on his own rebound. Sharks 3, Rangers 2.
Surprisingly, it was the third line of the Sharks that managed offensive chances against the 2nd line of the Rangers. Lynn Loyns (SJ) started the chances with multiple attempts, and the Rangers took their own against Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) that were also denied. Scott Thornton (SJ) then beat out an icing call and the puck slipped to a helmet-less Loyns who scored the third backhand goal glove side against Mike Dunham (NYR). Sharks 4, Rangers 2. The game ended as such. The Rangers outshot the Sharks 28-18 in the contest, and the following players were selected as the three stars of the game:
3) Alyn McCauley (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and +1
2) Alexander Korolyuk (SJ) Registered 1 Goal, 0 Assists and -1
1) Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) Registered 26 Saves on 28 Shots (92%)
New York Rangers 2
San Jose Sharks 4
The Sharks take a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 2 will take place at HP Pavilion and is scheduled to be broadcast on Monday, June 22nd at 7:00PM Pacific Standard Time.