Bryan Rust celebrates his first-period goal with Evgeni Malin (71), Justin Schultz (4) and Ian Cole (28). (Kevin Lorenzi/The Times)
Plus – Rust isn’t a bad thing
The legend of Bryan Rust continues to grow. The rookie forward scored the opening goal 12:46 into the first period against the San Jose Sharks on Monday night and was involved throughout the night. He used his speed to create chances for he and his linemates and the Sharks definitely had some trouble keeping him under wraps. He added a blocked shot and a takeaway and again was one of the best forwards on the ice for the Penguins.
Minus – Power play doesn’t pay
The Penguins power play scored just once on 11 opportunities through the final three games of the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning. They were no better in Game 1 of the final against the Sharks, going scoreless through three chances. They again focused setting up the perfect play and didn’t seem to get enough shots to the goal. This is in stark contrast to the power play of the Sharks, which is rolling in the playoffs, scoring on 27 percent of its chances. They scored on their only chance during Game 1.
Plus – Roll the Bones
There was a great deal of concern about the fact that Nick Bonino had to be helped off the ice late in the Penguins Game 7 victory. He did come back, but proceeded to miss two days of practice and wasn’t available during media day events on Sunday. Coach Mike Sullivan said he’d be fine and he did take the ice, ending up the hero of Game 1. Bonino scored the game-winning goal with just 2:33 remaining in regulation and then played a huge role in helping to kill off a Ben Lovejoy penalty at 17:51 to secure the victory. He also added six shots, blocked six shots and won 50 percent of his faceoffs.
Plus – Captain Crosby
Sidney Crosby brought his game to another level during Game 1. He managed just one assist, a sparkling backhand effort to set up Conor Sheary’s first period marker, but he seemed to be creating opportunities throughout. He played a fast game that saw him put four shots on goal and won 56 percent of his faceoffs. His deft passing touch put teammates in position to score often in the game and would have had plenty more points if not for the work of Jones. A great start to the series for the captain.