Martin Jones Game 5 Performance Was One for the Ages

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San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones Game 5 performance in the Stanley Cup Final was one for the ages. It set a Sharks record for most saves in a regulation postseason victory, improved the Sharks to 4-0 in Game 5’s in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and most importantly, forced the entire series back to San Jose.

Martin Jones Game 5 Performance

Even when the Sharks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, their first such experience of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, they found that the game was quickly tied by two odd deflection goals by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin’s second power-play goal of the series was an unlucky ricochet off Sharks defender Justin Braun’s left skate and past Jones. Just 24 seconds later, another deflection, this time off the shoulder of Carl Hagelin, after a turnover by Brenden Dillon, levelled the match at 2-2 just 5:06 into the first period.

The Penguins would go on to launch 68 more shot attempts in Game 5, with 39 of them on goal according to WarOnIce.com. Jones would stop them all. His play in the Cup Final has been a level better than the already solid goaltending he provided for San Jose during the regular season. Jones game five performance raised his save percentage to .933 through five games.

Saying that Martin Jones is the reason San Jose still has a chance at the franchises’ first Stanley Cup is not hyperbole. Jones’ play has been a far departure of the goaltending ghosts of seasons past and he has begun building a reputation as a big game goalie. His shutout in Game 7 against Nashville and Game 6 versus the St. Louis Blues were the beginnings of said reputation, and the 44-save Game 5 performance to extend the Sharks season is now added to his accolades.

Jones also posted 40 saves in the team’s Game 3 win, becoming the first goaltender since the NHL expanded in 1967 to register multiple 40-plus save victories in the same Stanley Cup Final, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Jones has “that competitive edge.”

His play had rounded into form after struggling to find his groove with his new teammates early in the season. But the compete level of Jones was something Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer talked about following Game 5, and Jones has raised his already excellent play to yet another level.

“We started the season; it didn’t start as smoothly for any of us as we wanted. I mean, we were winning one, losing one, including him,” said DeBoer to NHL.com after Game 5. “I think we all recognized then that he had that competitive edge, too, that is critical.”

Jones ability to bounce back after a loss has indeed been crucial and at some point, a team has to take a 3-2 lead in a best of seven series. However San Jose arrived at two wins, the Sharks are positioned to extend the series once again as the teams head back to the SAP Center, where the Sharks are 8-3 this postseason.

If the rest of San Jose Sharks can continue to elevate their game to the level Jones has shown thus far, the 2016 Stanley Cup Final is far from over.

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