PITTSBURGH -- They were down in the minors when the Pittsburgh Penguins' season started -- Conor Sheary, Matt Murray, even coach Mike Sullivan. Now, improbably, they have the San Jose Sharks down two games in the Stanley Cup finals.
Sheary, the rookie forward, scored 2:35 into overtime and Murray, the rookie goalie, made 21 saves as the Penguins beat the Sharks 2-1 in Game 2 of the finals on Wednesday night.
"It's surreal," said Sheary, who spent half the season at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but now has goals in each of the finals' first two games.
The same can be said of the Penguins, who were out of playoff contention in December but have been the NHL's hottest team ever since. Including overtime, where they are 4-2 in the playoffs.
"We just stick to our game play, and keep our confidence up -- we know if we play the way we can play (in overtime), we'll be all right," said Murray, who is 4-1 in overtime.
After the Penguins dominated most of the game only to have Sharks defenseman Justin Braun tie it late in the third, they won it quickly in overtime after Sidney Crosby drew up a play before winning a faceoff in the offensive zone.
The puck deflected back to Kris Letang at the left point, and he fed it ahead to Sheary, who beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones with a wrister from near the left faceoff dot.
Just like the Crosby, the Penguins' captain, planned it before winning his 17th faceoff in 24 attempts.
"Sid came up before draw, and told me line up on wall, which is something we don't do normally," Sheary said. "Tanger (Letang) found me in a soft area and it worked out. They lost me when I came off the wall and I had a lot of time to shoot."
Sheary now has four key playoff goals for the Penguins, including a goal in their 3-2 win in Game 1 Monday.
"We're seeing him produce, the way he's playing right now," said Sullivan, who sat down Sheary briefly in the conference finals because he thought he was wearing down.
Phil Kessel also scored his 10th of the playoffs for the Penguins, who are 4-2 in overtime in the playoffs. San Jose is 0-4.
"We played such a good game, we didn't want to get to overtime," said Carl Hagelin, who plays with Kessel and Nick Bonino on a Penguins line that has produced 50 points in the playoffs. "Now, looking back, it's a great feeling to win in overtime. It gives your team momentum and, hopefully, slows them down."
The victory came 24 years to the day after the Penguins won their second Stanley Cup in as many years in 1992 by sweeping the Chicago Blackhawks. Now, these Penguins are in position for a finals sweep, too, though winning twice in San Jose will be a considerable task.
"Let's hold off on the funeral -- there's a lot of hockey to be played," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "We've got to go back home and get back in the series."
The Sharks seemingly played a step behind the Penguins all night, trailing 2-to-1 in shots much of the game, only to have Braun tie it at 1 with 4:05 remaining.
After the Penguins couldn't change a tiring line because they iced the puck in their own zone, Braun -- after pinching on the play -- got free at the top of the right circle. His shot deflected off a post and by a screened Murray for his first goal of the playoffs.
Braun now will take a leave of absence to attend the Thursday funeral in Atlanta of his father-in-law, former NHL player Tom Lysiak. He'll fly back to San Jose that night to prepare for Game 3 on Saturday.
The Penguins controlled play in the first period, just as they did in a 3-2 win in Game 1, but couldn't put the puck past Jones until their best line throughout the playoffs came through again in the second.
With nearly all of the second played in the Sharks' end, San Jose defenseman Roman Polak turned the puck over near his own net. The Sharks got it back for a moment, but Hagelin quickly regained it and passed to Bonino, who quickly directed it to an undefended Kessel at the right post for his 10th of the playoffs, at 8:20, on an easy tap-in.
"But there's no panic button here, we've got two at home and it's our job to go back home and get our four points," Sharks left winger Matt Nieto said. "We're going to battle and come back here (to Pittsburgh for Game 5)."
NOTES: G Matt Murray's 13 wins as a rookie are the fourth most in Stanley Cup playoffs history. ... Of the 49 teams to take a 2-0 Stanley Cup finals lead, 44 went on to win the Cup. ... Penguins RW Bryan Rust, who scored the first goal of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win in Game 1, played in Game 2 despite an upper-body injury that occurred Monday on a blind side hit by Sharks F Patrick Marleau. ... The Sharks made a move to inject more speed into their lineup, playing LW Matt Nieto on their third line. He replaced F Danius Zubrus. Nieto had been out for eight games with an upper-body injury, or since Game 6 of the second round. ... Jim Rutherford of the Penguins is trying to become the first GM to win the Stanley Cup with two teams during the expansion era. He was Carolina's GM in 2006.