The Sharks lose another game, now behind in the series 1-3. It’s elimination time: win to extend season, or head home for the summer.
Game 4 pregame thoughts
Pens scored first again; and got the only PP goal of the game. Sharks managed one goal, to avoid being shut out. Seems like Pittsburgh is able to counter the Sharks dump and chase better than the Sharks have been able to adjust to the Pens speed and scramble, taking advantage of the little mistakes.
The Sharks won’t be able to count on their power play with the officials keeping their whistles in their pockets for most of the game.
Pens will be inspired to win their fourth Stanley Cup; the previous three have been won on the road, so it would have special meaning to clinch at home.
But the Sharks would like to score first (hasn’t happened yet in the series), as well as have a lead (they haven’t had one of those either). Pavelski and Burns have not scored a goal this series.
Hertl is still listed as “day to day” (which per DeBoer in Czech means he’s lost for the season; lol). Everyone’s playing banged up; it’s just an issue of who can perform the best.
The last team to come back and win the Stanley Cup after being down 1-3 was more than sixty years ago. Sharks have an up hill battle, but they seem to play their best when considered the under dog.
Hope to see game 6 live on Sunday.
Pregame pump up play list
Sharks play physical, gritty. Win 3-2 in OT.
Game 3 thoughts
Pens scored first (again), tied up by Braun soon after, in first period. Late Pens goal in second, but Ward ties it up immediately after power play ended. In OT, Donskoi got a gorgeous over the shoulder shot for the win.
Sharks outshot (except in 2nd period), but the physical play was high. DeBoer shortened bench to 10 forwards late in the game.
For game 4, Hertl is still out.
But the Sharks (and their fans) are determined to even up the series (and guarantee another home game Sunday).
Sharks head home down 0-2.
UPDATE: Hertl out; Karlsson or Zubrus to be on top line tonight
Game 2 pregame thoughts
I had family in town and was unable to watch game 2. Perhaps that was for the best.
Scoreless in the first. Penguins score first in the second. Sharks tie it up in the third. And Penguins get the game winner early in the first OT.
Many pundits are backing away from their predictions and swapping horses (from the Sharks), touting the Sharks inability to handle the Penguins speed, poor faceoff win ratio, the Sharks dependence on the power play (and the Penguins discipline in not giving them many opportunities), and the silence of the top two lines offensively. And that 89.2% of teams up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals win them, plus the Sharks have never won a playoff series after being down 0-2.
And yet, the Sharks have yet to play one game of this series at home. And they’ve never been in the Stanley Cup Finals before. All the games have been one-goal games, with the game winning goal scored in the last few minutes of the third period or OT.
So, just toss those stats out the window (see #9 from former captain Bob Errey).
The Sharks will be energized by their home fans. And perhaps the SAP Center ice won’t be allowing the Penguins to use their speed as effectively.
There are sixty (or more) minutes of hockey to be played on Saturday.
Time to show up in teal, and root the boys on.
My pregame playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTYGRdTUEnKXb4K-Qm552Ywhj2kvviBgF
O.M.G. Sharks are playing hockey in JUNE!!
Game 1 postgame thoughts
It has been announced that Justin Braun will leave the team after game 2 to attend his father-in-law’s funeral. (Sounds like he won’t miss any game time and be back in the lineup for game 3.)
Line up changes: Nieto in. Game time decision as to who will not be in. Rust is game time decision for the Pens.
Sharks have promised to make the necessary changes (and play without nerves) for game 2.
I think this game will be better to show how the two teams match up.
And it begins.
SCF series preview
The first 20 minutes won’t be a good memory. The Sharks came out tentatively (and probably nerves), and let the Penguins dictate play for the most part. They gave up two goals and were outshot 15-4.
After regrouping in the first intermission, the Sharks had a much better period with Hertl (PPG) and Marleau scoring, and outshotting the Penguins 13-8.
The third period was back and forth, with the Sharks doing well to weather the 18 SOGs (to the 9 for the Sharks), but a little out of position and a broken stick gave the Penguins the GWG with about two and a half minutes to play. Marleau also took a hit-to-head minor on Rust; no supplemental discipline will be levied, but Rust is out day-to-day.
Disappointing, but this is not a one game series. Still, there will be some tweaks and many are excited over the speed and play that game 1 showed that might extend through the series.
25th Franchise anniversary. Still making history, with first Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter list
Former Sharks on Penguins: Nick Bonino (former prospect); Mike Sullivan, Head Coach; Bill Guerin, Assistant General Manager; Jay Leach, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Associate Coach; Bob Errey, ROOT Sports Pittsburgh Color Analyst
Other Pittsburgh connections: 1997 draftees Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau; 2012 draftees Tomas Hertl and Chris Tierney; former Penguins Paul Martin, Nick Spaling
To advance this far in the playoffs, you have to be good offensively and defensively. Sharks are leading in goals for, goals against, power play %, shots against. Sharks have the top three scorers in the playoffs (Pavelski, Couture, Burns).
Sharks forwards average a year and a half older, more than 11 pounds heavier, and 3/4″ taller than the Pittsburgh forwards. Sharks defense are about an inch taller, more than ten pounds heavier and about 18 months older than their Penguins counterparts. The Sharks should be able to play a more physical game, but do have speed that the Penguins might not expect.
One story line is the nine years between Finals appearances for the Penguins vs the first time for the Sharks. And the Sharks ease/experience of travel will tip the balance as we advance through the series.
And while the NHL Sharks and Penguins go at it, their ECHL affiliates, Allen and Wheeling, are fighting it out for the Kelly Cup, a first in the ECHL.
How I think the finals might go: Early on, the Sharks will be emphasizing defense as they test out the Penguins physically, then they’ll push offensively. Sharks in 6.