Balanced Penguins Capture Cup
The San Jose Sharks were happy to be in the Stanley Cup finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins were determined to win it. Displaying the grit and depth they have all through the playoffs, the Pens clinched the Stanley Cup on the road Sunday with a 3-1 win over the Sharks in Game 6 of the title series.
It will be the fourth time the Cup has resided in Pittsburgh, and the first time since 2009, when the trio of Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin and Kris Letang led the Pens to glory. The three were again key to the Penguins' success through the postseason. Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy, Letang scored the go-ahead goal in the clincher, and Malkin tallied in Game 5.
A Total Team
But they were joined by a crew of youngsters and shippers, some whose names were barely known before the postseason. Brian Dumoulin, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Olli Maatta are all under age 25, but they combined for 34 playoff points, and each contributed key goals. Phil Kessel was more of a known entity. He was picked up in a trade during the off-season, and he served the Penguins well in the playoffs. He led the Pens in playoff scoring with 22 points (10-12) in 24 games.
Winning the Stanley Cup was particularly rewarding for the Penguins, considering the frustrations they experienced with early exits from the playoffs in recent years. But Mike Sullivan took over as coach in December and crafted a unit that survived the tough Metropolitan Division, and went through the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning before reaching the finals. That's where the Stanley Cup finals betting line got tricky, because the west-coast Sharks were a wild card. Though they had taken down reputable teams in Los Angeles and St. Louis, another unknown in Nashville had taken the Sharks to seven games. And the money in the Stanley Cup finals betting line leaned east. The less-experienced Sharks played as if they were grateful for the Western Conference title and less determined to go all the way. It took the Sharks a couple of games to get used to their situation, and by that time, it was too late.
There will be the draft and offseason trades to consider, but keeping a close eye on these two teams next year and considering futures odds might be advisable. By the time Stanley Cup finals betting line comes around, the oddsmakers are familiar with the finalists and more tight with the lines. When the futures do arrive, +600 is a base figure to consider for the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup, and +1000 for the Sharks.
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