San Jose (0-1) at Pittsburgh (1-0)
When: Wednesday, June 1st 2016
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC
The San Jose Sharks will try and slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday with a chance to earn a split and take away home-ice advantage in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Nick Bonino’s later third period goal gave the Penguins a 3-2 victory in Game 1 and Pittsburgh outshot the Sharks 41-26. San Jose, which also lost Game 1 of the Western Conference finals before rebounding to win in six games, is 5-1 after a loss in the playoffs – the lone defeat coming in triple overtime at Nashville in the second round. San Jose had trouble coping with Pittsburgh’s speed and it was the first time they have allowed more than 40 shots in regulation since March 7th. Speedy forward Matt Nieto, out since he was injured in Game 6 of the second round, could rejoin the lineup for Game 2. San Jose is 0-10 all-time in playoff series when dropping the first two games so this could be a must-win situation.
The Penguins could be without rookie Bryan Rust, who scored both goals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay and netted the opening goal in Game 1 versus the Sharks. Rust is listed as day-to-day after absorbing a check to the head from Patrick Marleau, who will face no additional punishment from the league. If Rust is unable to play, the most likely candidate to take the rookie’s place would be veteran Eric Fehr, who played on the line with Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz until Rust replaced him in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bonino entered the Finals with a team-high 12 assists for Pittsburgh, but it was the game-winning goal that made him the hero in Game 1. It was his fifth career game-winning goal in the postseason – the last four of which have come in the last three minutes of regulation or overtime.
I still think San Jose earns a split in Pittsburgh. They were so close in Game 1 after falling behind 2-0. They’ll get more pressure on Pittsburgh’s rookie goaltender and the defense will tighten up and not allow as many shots.
Pick: Sharks +120