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Wed 01/06/2016 - 09:04 EDT

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Preview

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Preview
Victimized by a slow start in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, the San Jose Sharks must come out of the gate with more urgency or they will find themselves leaving Pittsburgh down 2-0 in this best-of-seven series.

Pens Vs Sharks Game 2 Betting Lines & Analysis

By Bob Duff

San Jose Sharks (+105) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-125)

philOutshot 15-4 in the first period of Game 1 and 41-26 overall, the San Jose Sharks can't afford another slow start in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final series. They fell behind 2-0 and even though they managed to fight back and tie the game before losing 3-2, come from behind hockey is almost always losing hockey, because the team in the lead gets to dictate the way the game will be played.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is a big reason why they are not only in the Cup final but ahead in the series. He has eight points in his last 11 games and is playing his best hockey of the postseason right now. But it's scoring balance that has Pittsburgh really rolling. In Game 1, it was rookies Brian Rust and Conor Sheary who spotted the Penguins their 2-0 lead with goals 62 second apart. Rust now has six goals, shattering the Penguins mark for rookie goals of five that Michel Briere had held since 1970.

Sheary and Rust were the first rookies to score the opening two goals of a Stanley Cup final series since Howie Morenz scored twice to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-0 advantage over the Calgary Tigers in the 1924 final. The last time two rookies even scored for the same team in the a Cup final game was in 2009, when Detroit's Justin Abdelkader and Jonathan Ericsson tallied against the Penguins in Game 2. 

Pittsburgh forward Nick Bonino netted the game winner in Game 1, his second in 19 playoff games after getting none in 63 regular-season games. Teammate Chris Kunitz is riding a seven-game points streak (3-4-7). 

The NHL indicated that Sharks forward Patrick Marleau wouldn't face supplemental discipline for his Game 1 hit on Rust that sent Rust to the dressing room. Rust played just one more shift after the hit and is questionable for Game 2 with an upper-body injury. Beau Bennett would be the likely lineup replacement if Rust can't go, with Eric Fehr moving into Rust's second-line spot alongside Evgeni Malkin and Kunitz.

San Jose forward Matt Nieto, out since the second round of the playoffs against Nashville with an upper-body injury, is available and could be insterted for Game 2. With two assists in Game 1, Sharks defenseman Brett Burns has 6-16-22 totals in the playoffs, the fifth-best output by a rearguard in Stanley Cup history. 

Pick: The Sharks (+105)

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