NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game Five: San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Stanley Cup Final – Game #5
#3 San Jose Sharks at #2 Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins Lead Best of Seven Series 3-1
Thursday, June 9, 2016, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Opening Line: Pittsburgh -145 / San Jose +125
Current Line: Pittsburgh -165 / San Jose +145
Opening Total: over 5  -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: over 5  -125 / under 5  +105

The Penguins look to wrap up the Stanley Cup win a win Thursday night at home in game five against the Sharks.
The Penguins look to wrap up the Stanley Cup win a win Thursday night at home in game five against the Sharks.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one win away from winning their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history, and first since 2009. They look to eliminate the San Jose Sharks in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals Thursday night in Pittsburgh. A Sharks win would force a game six Sunday night in San Jose.  No team has come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup since 1942.

Pittsburgh won the first two games at home 3-2 in game one and 2-1 in overtime in the second game. San Jose won game three 3-2 in overtime, but Pittsburgh won 3-1 Monday night in game four.

In game four, Pittsburgh scored first on a goal from Ian Cole seven minutes into the game. The Penguins have scored first in every game of the series. Evgeni Malkin scored on a power play with just over 2 minutes left in the second to make it 2-0 Penguins. He also assisted on Cole’s goal but hadn’t scored a point in three games before that. The Sharks went nine minutes in the second period without a shot on goal. The Sharks made it 2-1 8 minutes into the third period on a goal from Melker Karlsson. Eric Fehr put the game away for the Penguins with a goal with just over 2 minutes left. San Jose had 24 shots to 20 for Pittsburgh. It was the first time in 12 games that Pittsburgh did not have more shots than their opponents. The Sharks won 37 faceoffs to 30 for the Penguins. Pittsburgh was 1/2 on the power play and San Jose was 0/2. Goalie Matt Murray made 23/24 saves for the Penguins. Martin Jones made 17/20 saves for the Sharks.

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 to advance to their first ever Stanley Cup Final. San Jose is 59-39-3-3 this season and the total is 50-43-12.

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.  Pittsburgh is 63-33-4-4 this season and the total is 45-41-18 this season.

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San Jose is outscoring teams 3.18-2.32 in the playoffs. The Sharks lead the league in playoff scoring. San Jose averages 27.4 shots per game and opponents average 28.2 per game. The Sharks are 18/71 (25.4%) on the power play and 48/59 (81.4%) on the penalty kill. The Sharks have allowed two shorthanded goals in the playoffs.

Goalie Martin Jones is 13-9 in the playoffs for the Sharks. He has a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of .920 (563/612). 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 26 points including 18 assists. Joe Pavelski has 22 points with 13 goals.  Defenseman Brent Burns has 22 points with 16 assists.  Joe Thornton has 20 points with 17 assists. Patrick Marleau has 13 points with eight assists. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joel Ward, Tomas Hertl, and Joonas Donskoi all have at least 11 points in the playoffs. Hertl is doubtful with a lower body injury.

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Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 3.09-2.27 in the playoffs. The Penguins average 34.7 shots per game and opponents average 28.7 per game. Pittsburgh is 16/72 (22.2%) on the power play in the playoffs and 53/63 (84.1%) 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 14-5 in the playoffs with a 2.09 goals against average. He has made 495 of 535 saves (.925) 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 21 points with ten goals. Center Sidney Crosby has 17 points in the playoffs including 11 assists.   Nick Bonino has 17 points with 13 assists. He is probable with an undisclosed issue.  Evgeni Malkin has 17 points with 13 assists. Carl Hagelin has 15 points with 10 assists. Kris Letang has 13 points with 11 assists. Patric Hornqvist has 12 points with 8 goals in the playoffs. 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 18-6 after scoring two goals or less, 21-8 against teams with winning records, 32-13 on two days rest, and 2-6 in road games. All four games in this series have gone under the total, as have the last four games in Pittsburgh between the teams.

Pittsburgh is 11-2 in Thursday games, 5-1 in Stanley Cup Final games, 8-2 against Western Conference teams, 23-7 against teams with winning records, 6-2 against Pacific teams, 23-9 when the opponent scores 2 goals or less, 20-8 after allowing two goals or less, and after a win, 42-17 overall, and 35-17 at home. The home team is 15-5 in this series recently. The Penguins are 4-1 against the Sharks and 4-1 in Pittsburgh in the series.

The potent Sharks’ attack has suddenly gone toothless in this series. If they don’t figure it out tonight, this series is over. Pittsburgh hasn’t trailed in regulation since game four against Tampa Bay in the last round. I think the Penguins wrap it up tonight in another low scoring game.

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