For the first time in their 25-year history, the San Jose Sharks will play in the Stanley Cup Final as their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins begins Monday evening at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
The Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the opening round, followed by eliminating the Nashville Predators in seven and the St. Louis Blues in six. Can they put the finishing touches on the Pens and lock up hockey’s holy grail? That’s something that will be answered in what promises to be an excellent series.
If you find yourself on the fence about slapping down some of that hard-earned cash to back the team in teal, here are three reasons that should convince you that the Sharks will take a bite of Lord Stanley’s mug.
These Sharks Love Foreign Shores
You don’t get to the Stanley Cup Final without being a great road team and these Sharks are a GREAT road team.
At 28-10-3, they owned the best road record in the league during the regular season and while that has not necessarily translated into road wins in their quest for the Cup, it will not be an intimidating factor in the least.
San Jose has gone just 5-4 SU in nine road games during their Cup run and had lost four straight before taking Game 2 in St. Louis in the Western Conference final.
They did post a record of 11-4 SU in 15 road games against the Eastern Conference this season, including a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh back on November 21.
The Sharks seem to be hitting their stride in all facets and the series win versus the Blues was a huge statement by this team.
Shark Attacks Can Kill. Duh.
I’m not splitting the atom when I tell you that scoring more goals than your opponent will win you a hockey game.
With that out of the way, San Jose’s offense is clicking so nicely that it’s going to be really tough to stop.
Hats off to Matt Murray and the job he’s done in the crease for the Pens, but the Sharks enter the Cup averaging a whopping 3.50 goals scored per game – easily the most gpg in the postseason. Compare that figure against the 2.28 goals allowed per game, which is the second-lowest of any of the 16 playoff teams, and you understand that the Sharks did not luck their way into the final.
Furthermore, you can’t give them the man advantage because they score on 27 percent of their power-play opportunities (second among all 16 playoff teams) and they are the only team to score more than one goal while shorthanded (2) during thte playoffs.
There’s no getting around it: The Sharks will get you in any situation.
Sharks Are Lethal In Packs
Take a look at the top of the postseason points leaders. What do you see?
Logan Couture leads all players with 24 postseason points, while Joe Pavelski is second with 22 and Brent Burns is third with 20. This trio has played damn near perfect hockey in the playoffs and have been integral to the team’s success.
Oh yeah. Joe Thornton has 18 and is second in assists with 15.
Sharks players dominate most statistical categories and if they don’t already then they probably will by the time their series with the Pens is over and captain Joe Pavelski hoists the Cup over his head.
Speaking of Pavelski, he’s leading the playoffs with 13 goals and Phil Kessel is probably the only one who can catch him at this point.
Couture was injured when the pair met in the regular season, but Burns and Pavelski combined to score all four goals that San Jose tallied against the Pens in those two meetings.
I have no doubt that this will be a tightly contested series, but I fully expect the Sharks to win the Cup so jump on their price while they are still dogs.
My prediction – Sharks in 7 (clinching on the road as the NHL's best road team)
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