After a dominating 4-1 victory on the road in Game 4, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked ready to end the NHL Finals at home. But the San Jose Sharks showed signs of life by picking up a 4-2 victory in Game 5, narrowing their series deficit to 3-2.
Goaltender Martin Jones (44 saves) did an outstanding job of limiting Pittsburgh’s attack and helping his team send the Finals back to San Jose.
“This team hasn’t quit all year and we’re not going to start now,” said Jones. “There’s still a long way to go, it’s going to be an uphill battle, but we’re going to fight till the very end.”
Is there really a long way to go, and can the Sharks force a deciding seventh game by winning at home? Or will Pittsburgh win their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history?
Find out as we cover Game 6 between the Penguins and Sharks.
GTBets.eu Moneyline for Game 6 (June 12 at 8:00pm EST)
San Jose (-115)
GTBets.eu Spread for Game 6
San Jose +1.5 (-300)
Pittsburgh -1.5 (+250)
Why the Penguins will Win Game 6
The score makes it seem like San Jose claimed a comfortable victory. But there are a few key points worth mentioning here:
1. Joe Pavelski added an empty netter with less than two minutes.
2. Pittsburgh got off 46 shots.
3. San Jose only had 22 shots.
While the Sharks made their shots count, the box score shows that Pittsburgh outplayed San Jose for the most part. If not for an amazing effort by Jones, the game might have gone into overtime, or even ended with the Penguins winning in regulation.
Long story short, Pittsburgh should have plenty of confidence moving into Game 6. Yes, they’re on the road and considered a slight underdog. But even with San Jose playing at home, this contest looks even.
Evgeni Malkin has heated up, scoring goals in two straight games. If they can get more from Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh has a solid chance of winning. All they really need to do is put forth the same effort that they had last game and they’ll find the net.
Why the Sharks will Win Game 6
History doesn’t favor the Sharks because, since 1939, when the Stanley Cup became a best-of-seven series, only one team (1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs) have come back from this deficit. But San Jose shouldn’t let this deter them because they’re two wins away from making a historical comeback.
The Sharks showed a much-more spirited effort last night, especially on defense, where they forced 10 takeaways and denied two out of three Penguin power plays. The power plays aspect is important here because San Jose has been the worst postseason team at stopping them, with 12 goals allowed.
Thanks to this renewed defensive effort, the Sharks are headed to the SAP Center, where they’re 8-3 in the postseason. Of course, the defense might not look so good if Jones hadn’t saved 44 shots. With San Jose needing to win yet another elimination game, Jones’ goaltending will be crucial on Sunday.
Another encouraging sign for the Sharks is that Joe Pavelski finally got on the board in this series. After scoring 13 goals throughout the first three rounds – including 4 goals in the last three games of the conference finals – Pavelski was scoreless against Pittsburgh.
But he got a late goal in Game 5 that might boost his confidence heading into the weekend. If Pavelski gets back to the streak he was on earlier in the postseason, then anything is possible for San Jose.
Prediction on Sharks vs Penguins
Despite losing last night, Pittsburgh has outhustled and outworked San Jose through most of this series. Game 6 looks close on paper, especially with the Sharks playing at home and having a great goalie. But with the moneyline being so close and the Penguins playing really well, we don’t see a reason to bet against them. Expect Pittsburgh to win a hard-fought contest and hoist the Stanley Cup in San Jose.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 3 – San Jose 2
Betting Advice: Bet on Pittsburgh with their -105 moneyline.