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It's All Pens Going Into San Jose

Posted by Webster Washington on 6/5/2016 5:01:58 AM

The scores of the first two Stanley Cup finals games might indicate that the play on the ice has been close. It hasn't. The Pittsburgh Penguins needed overtime Wednesday to eek out a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks and a 2-0 series lead. But for the second game, the Penguins pretty much ruled the play. Now the Sharks have to figure some things out before they can get back into this series, which resumes Saturday night in San Jose.

The Series So Far

The Penguins have taken it to the Western Conference champions by doing what they do best - using speed, skill and fore-checking to control the play. They did it again Wednesday before Conor Sheary took a pass from Sidney Crosby off of a faceoff and scored the game winner early in overtime. The Pens outshot the Sharks 30-22 in the game, and now have 71 shots to San Jose's 48 in the series.

Meanwhile, San Jose looks as if they are still getting used to simply being in the finals. They have shown flashes at times, but usually to no avail. About the only thing the Sharks have excelled at in the series is kill penalties, something they weren't particularly good at during the regular season. They have frustrated the Pens in all five shorthanded situations. And goalkeeper Martin Jones has kept them in these games by stopping 66 of 71 shots.

From Here …

The Sharks have to find a way to counter the Penguins' speed to have a chance at the Cup. And that means containing the Crosby and Nick Bonino lines, which have accounted for most of the Penguins' pressure and scoring. Teams up 2-0 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup finals are 44-5 in those series. That makes the Pens a safe bet to win the Cup. But -550 is just not luring me in, since the series is just two games in, and heading back to San Jose. Check the game odds, and if they're around even or better, a play on Pittsburgh might be in order. The play of Jones and Penguins goalie Matt Murray, plus the shot blocking of Pittsburgh, now makes the under look favorable at the right price.

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