Sharks Put Pens' Celebration on Hold
Hold the parade. The San Jose Sharks have managed to fight off the surges of the Pittsburgh Penguins and hang into the Stanley Cup series, by virtue of a 4-2 win Thursday night. Now the Stanley Cup finals betting gets a little testy as the series shifts to San Jose on Sunday with the Penguins up 3-2.
Jones Keeps Sharks in It
The Pens came into Game 5 with a chance to hoist the Cup, but San Jose goalie Martin Jones would have none of it. Jones was brilliant, stopping 44 shots as the Penguins were at times relentless with their pressure. The Penguins outshot the Sharks 46-22.
It was a wild game that had the "over" bettors counting their money early, then on the edge of their seats when the scoring went dry after the first period. The Sharks gave notice that they weren't about to surrender when Brent Burns and Logan Couture scored in the first three minutes of the game. Then, as if they needed that reminder, the Pens turned on like a light switch and put up two straight goals in the next three minutes. The first was by Evgeni Malkin on a power play, and seconds later, Carl Hagelin struck to tie it. At that point, with the momentum in the Penguins' favor, a home victory seemed a foregone conclusion. But Melker Karlsson's goal gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead late in the first period, and Jones answered the call from there. Despite flurry after flurry, Jones was there to make near-impossible saves. He almost single-handedly held off the Pens until Matt Murray left the net and Joe Pavelski poked one in with just over a minute left in the game.
Stanley Cup Finals Betting
Look, the Penguins are the better team here. But Thursday's result changes the Stanley Cup finals betting enough to make anything but even odds on Sunday something to study. Since the start of the series, these games have been hard to figure, but I'd be willing to take a plus figure either way in Game 6. Both Jones and Murray have performed well enough to make under 5 a good prospect at -120 or better. Remember, even if Murray doesn't start on Sunday, the Pens have Marc-Andre Fleury waiting in the wings, and that's no drop-off.
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