NHL Stanley Cup Final Betting Preview: San Jose Sharks vs Pittsburgh Penguins

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Stanley Cup Final
#3 San Jose Sharks vs #2 Pittsburgh Penguins
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price (odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook): Penguins -135 / Sharks +115

Game #1 – Monday, May 30, 2016, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Pittsburgh -155 / San Jose +135
Current Line: Pittsburgh -140 / San Jose +120
Opening Total: over 5 1/2 -110 / under 5 1/2 -110
Current Total: under 5 1/2 -140 / over 5 1/2 +120

The Penguins and Sharks meet for the Stanley Cup. Game one is Monday in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins and Sharks meet for the Stanley Cup. Game one is Monday in Pittsburgh.

Both the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins have underachieved in the playoffs recently. That changed this year as the teams will meet for the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh returns to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning the Cup in 2009. San Jose has never made it to the Final in their 25 year history. Game one is Monday night in Pittsburgh.

San Jose is coached by Peter DeBoer. The Sharks finished third in the Pacific Division with 98 points. San Jose beat the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the first round, but the first four games were decided by one goal. The Sharks then beat the Nashville Predators in seven games in the second round. San Jose beat the St. Louis Blues in six games in the Western Conference Finals, including 5-2 in the clincher at home last Wednesday. San Jose is 58-36-3-3 this season and the total is 50-39-12.

Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Sullivan. The Penguins finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points. Pittsburgh dominated the New York Rangers in 5 games in the first round. The Penguins outscored the Rangers 21-10 in the series. Pittsburgh upset the Washington Capitals in six games in the second round. Five of the six games were decided by one goal including 3 overtime games. The Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals including 2-1 in the last game Thursday night.  Pittsburgh is 60-32-4-4 this season and the total is 45-37-18 this season.

Pittsburgh and San Jose split the regular season series with each winning on the road. San Jose won 3-1 in Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh won 5-1 on the road. However, they haven’t played since December 1.

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San Jose is outscoring teams 3.50-2.28 in the playoffs. The Sharks lead the league in playoff scoring. San Jose averages 28 shots per game and opponents average 27.1 per game. The Sharks are 17/63 (27%) on the power play and 40/51 (80.4%) on the penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs.

Goalie Martin Jones is 12-6 in the playoffs for the Sharks. He has a GAA of 2.12 and a save percentage of .919 (440/479). He has three shutouts in the post-season. James Reimer is the back-up but has only played for 29 minutes in the playoffs.

Center Logan Couture leads all playoff scorers with 24 points including 16 assists. Joe Pavelski has 22 points with 13 goals.  Defenseman Brent Burns has 20 points with 14 assists.  Joe Thornton has 18 points with 15 assists. Patrick Marleau has twelve points with eight assists. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi all have at least 9 points in the playoffs. Left wing Matt Nieto is probable with an upper body injury.

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Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 3.22-2.39 in the playoffs. The Penguins average 35.1 shots per game and opponents average 29.7 per game. Pittsburgh is 15/64 (23.4%) on the power play in the playoffs and 46/55 (83.6%) on the penalty kill. The Penguins have one short handed goal and has allowed one as well.

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury missed the first two rounds with a concussion but started one game in the Conference finals. Rookie Matt Murray is 11-4 in the playoffs with a 2.22 goals against average. He has made 404 of 437 saves (.924) with one shutout. Fleury is 0-1 with a 3.03 GAA. He has made 28/32 saves (.875). Jeff Zatkoff is 1-1 with a 3.07 GAA. He has made 59/65 saves (.908). Zatkoff played in two games in the first round.

Phil Kessel has 18 points with nine assists. Center Sidney Crosby has 15 points in the playoffs including 9 assists.   Nick Bonino has 15 points with 12 assists.  Evgeni Malkin has 15 points with 11 assists. Carl Hagelin has 12 points with 7 assists. Patric Hornqvist has 11 points with 7 goals in the playoffs. Kris Letang has 10 points with 8 assists.  Six other players have at least 5 points in the playoffs. Left wing Scott Wilson and center Kevin Porter are both out indefinitely. Defenseman Trevor Daley is out with a broken ankle.

San Jose is 4-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 20-6 against teams with winning records, 6-2 after scoring 5 goals or more, 5-2 in Monday games, 12-5 in road games, and 18-8 after the opponent allows two goals or less. The Sharks are 17-5-1 against the Penguins recently.

Pittsburgh is 5-1 against Western Conference teams, 4-1 in Monday games and Stanley Cup Final games, 20-6 against teams with winning records, 23-7 at home, 16-5 after allowing 2 goals or less, 19-7 after scoring 2 goals or less, 21-8 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less, 26-10 after the opponent scores 5 goals or more, 18-7 after a win, 39-16 overall, and 7-3 on three or more days rest. The under is 5-1-1 in Pittsburgh in this series recently. The home team is 12-4 in this series recently.

Both teams can be explosive on offense. The two goalies have been great most of the time, but have struggled in a few games. Even though Pittsburgh has home ice, I wouldn’t be surprised if San Jose stole a game on the road. I think game one will be high scoring. I think the Sharks win the series in seven games.

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