San Jose (1-3) at Pittsburgh (3-1)
When: Thursday, June 9th 2016
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC
The Pittsburgh Penguins can become the first major sports team in the city to win a Championship at home since the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates when they host the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh pushed the Sharks to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 victory at San Jose on Monday night to edge closer to its first Stanley Cup championship since 2009. Center Evgeni Malkin, the Conn Smythe Award winner in Pittsburgh’s 2009 run to the Cup, admitted he wasn’t producing enough through the first three games of the series and responded by setting up one goal and scoring another in what proved to be the game-winner on Monday. The Penguins managed just a series-low 20 shots on goal in Game 4, but made the most of them. Forward Phil Kessel is near the front of the line for this season’s Conn Smythe after collecting a pair of assists Monday to boost his team-high total to 21 points this postseason.
The Sharks facing a daunting task if they want to hoist the city’s first Stanley Cup, but they first must find a way to take a lead. They have yet to lead at any time in this series in regulation time. The Sharks are trying to become the second team in league history to win the Cup after facing a 3-1 series deficit, but they are 3-0 in Game 5’s this postseason including two on the road. “We want to win one game and get a Game 6 back here at home,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told reporters. “I think we would be comfortable in that spot that we could get it to go seven.” After averaging a playoff-best 3.5 goals through the first three rounds of the postseason, San Jose has scored only seven times in four games versus Pittsburgh. Captain Joe Pavelski scored 13 goals and had a seven-game point streak entering the Finals, but he has been held off the scoresheet by the Penguins. Logan Couture has a postseason-best 26 points, but both he and defenseman Brent Burns have been limited to just two assists in the Finals.
There’s going to be a lot of emotion in the building tonight and that might be a little too much for the Penguins to handle. I think the Sharks finally get an early lead and hold on to bring the series back to San Jose. They were the best road team in the NHL this season.
Pick: Sharks +144