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NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Preview
One victory away from the fourth Stanley Cup victory in franchise history, the Pittsburgh Penguins are poised to accomplish a feat that hasn’t been done since 1960 – win a championship on home soil in Pittsburgh.
Pens Vs Sharks Game 5 Betting Lines & Prediction
By Bob Duff
San Jose Sharks (+140) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-160)
When Bill Mazeroski clouted a walkoff home run to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a victory in the 1960 World Series at Forbes Field, it marked the the last time a Pittsburgh team was able to win a championship in front of a hometown crowd. There have been 11 Pittsburgh titles since - six Super Bowls won by the Steelers, two more World Series by the Pirates and three Stanley Cups from the Penguins - but none ended with a win at home.
That could change in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, as the Penguins are up 3-1 on the San Jose Sharks and at home at the Consol Energy Center, and to be fair, it's also the first time since that 1960 World Series that a Pittsburgh team has been afforded the opportunity to play an elimination game in a championship series at home.
The odds and history are cleary on the side of the Penguins. Since the NHL went to a best-of-seven Cup final series in 1938-39, just one team, the 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs, ever came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the Stanley Cup. Those Leafs actually rallied from a 3-0 disadvantage against the Detroit Red Wings. That was one of 32 previous Stanley Cup final series in which one team took a 3-1 lead. Of the other 31, there were 17 series that ended in five games, eight went to six and five others took the seven-game maximum.
How well are things going for the Penguins? Defenseman Ian Cole opened the scoring in Game 5. It was his first goal in 104 regular-season or playoff games and his first career postseason tally in his 29th Stanley Cup game. Phil Kessel, who skates on Pittsburgh's third line, posted his fifth multi-point game of the playoffs with two assists in Game 5 and leads the team in playoff scoring with 10-11-21 numbers in 22 games. Matt Murray, who began the season as the third goalie on Pittsburgh's depth chart, is one win away from tying the Stanley Cup record of 15 wins by a rookie goalie, jointly shared by Cam Ward (2006), Ron Hextall (1987) and Patrick Roy (1986).
Meanwhile, the Sharks are floundering like a beached whale. Their top scorers aren't scoring. Captain Joe Pavelski, who netted 13 goals through the first three playoff rounds, is pointless in the final. Patrick Marleau has one goal, scored in Game 1, and Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Brent Burns have collected two assists apiece.
Pick: The Penguins (-160)
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