Sat 04/06/2016 - 08:14 EDT

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 3 Preview

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 3 Preview

Down 2-0 to the Stanley Cup final series to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the San Jose Sharks must utilize home-ice advantage to get back into the series. There’s just one problem with that – the Sharks won just 18 of 41 regular-season home games.

Pens Vs Sharks Game 3 Betting Lines & Prediction

By Bob Duff

Pittsburgh Penguins (+125) at San Jose Sharks (-145)

pensFrom the viewpoint of pure panic, it would be easy to suggest that the San Jose Sharks are in trouble. Down 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup final, the big picture shows that the Sharks must win four of the next five games they play in order to lift Lord Stanley's mug aloft.

In reality, though, both games were one-goal decisions - the same margin that 12 of the last 14 Stanley Cup final games have been decided by - and all the Sharks have to do is hold the home-ice advantage and San Jose is right back in the series and then it's a best-of-three set. The only negative aspect to that hypothesis is that things haven't gone swimmingly for the Sharks in the Shark Tank this season. They won just 18 of 41 home games during the regular season and that was the lowest total of any of the 16 teams that qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It's been a different story in the playoffs, though. San Jose is 7-1 in its last eight home games and the Sharks will need to keep rolling on home ice to get back into this series. The Penguins are a middling 4-3 on the road in the playoffs. The Sharks are 5-2 in the playoffs in games in which they'd lost the previous game. To start this series San Jose lost back-to-back playoff games for the first time since Games 3 and 4 of the second round against the Nashville Predators. After beginning 3-0 on the road in the playoffs, San Jose has gone 2-6 since. 

A big factor for the Penguins in their Game 2 win was the work of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the faceoff circle, where he won 17 of 24 draws, including the faceoff that led to Conor Sheary's overtime winner. Sheary was the first rookie to score an OT winner in the Stanley Cup final since Montreal's Brian Skrudland in 1986. He's the fifth rookie to score a Cup final OT winner and all four previous scorers played for the team that won the Cup - Montreal's Skrudland, Jacques Lemaire (1968) and Jimmy Peters (1946) and Alf Pike (1940) of the New York Rangers.

With his 10th goal of the postseason in Game 2, Phil Kessel became the ninth player in Penguins history to reach double digits in goals during a playoff year. Balance has been key to Pittsburgh's success. Ten players have at least four goals and an equal number have recorded at minimum of nine points.

Pick: The Sharks (-145)

Category : News

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