In the first game of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals, the Pittsburgh Penguins utilized their home ice advantage, taking down the San Jose Sharks 3-2. The teams play again tonight in Pittsburgh. A few things happened in game one that must be corrected if the Sharks are to even up this best of seven 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals series.
The first thing that the Sharks must do tonight is slow down the speedy Penguins. If they can’t do that, they’ll have a very tough time stopping Pittsburgh from scoring. In addition, San Jose has to get more quality shots from their top line. They were neutralized in the initial period of the first game of this NHL Stanley Cup series.
In the first period of game one, the Pittsburgh Penguins came out of the gate and flew by the San Jose Sharks. To their credit, the Sharks did adjust to the breakneck pace and managed to control the ice more in the last two periods. The teams went into period three tied 2-2. With 2:33 left to go in the game, Pittsburgh’s Nick Bonino scored the game winner. If San Jose can control the ice and slow down Pittsburgh, keeping them off balance, they have a good chance of winning the second game in this best of seven 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals game.
Sharks Scoring Line
The Shark’s first line includes Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl and Joe Pavelski. These three guys are the team’s major point makers. They were hampered in game one as Nick Bonino’s line, which includes Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin, did a great job controlling them. However, when Thornton and company went up against the Evgeni Malkin line and the Matt Cullen line, they did much better. If San Jose can make the right adjustments against Pittsburgh and put their top line on the ice against any group other than the Bonino line, they will have a good chance of scoring.
The Rookie Effect
In this 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals series, the Pittsburgh Penguins put two amazing rookies on the ice, Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary. Rust, who now has six postseason goals, set a new franchise record this year. Both scored in game one. If San Jose can take these rookies out of the game that will give them a real step up tonight. The thing is both of these guys can come out of nowhere and score. The Sharks should not take them lightly.
2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Predictions
Game two of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals should result in many heated battles on the ice. Expect the Sharks to force the question with the Penguins and to challenge them repeatedly. San Jose should be able to create an advantage by goading what can be an undisciplined Pittsburgh team into making some bad decisions and ending up in the penalty box. That being the case, you should expect San Jose, which has an extremely potent power play, to score some goals.
Take San Jose at +1.5 goals. We also like the under at 5.5 goals. San Jose wins 3-1 tonight. That means that the Sharks will go back to San Jose even. The third game of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Finals will be played Saturday at 4 pm.