Pittsburgh (3-2) at San Jose (2-3)
When: Sunday, June 12th 2016
Where: SAP Center, San Jose, CA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NBC
The Pittsburgh Penguins failed to hoist the Stanley Cup at home and now must travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks in Game 6 on Sunday night. Logan Couture scored his first goal of the series and set up two more in Thursday’s 4-2 win in Game 5 to increase his NHL-leading point total to 29 (nine goals, 20 assists) in 23 games. That marked Couture’s fourth three-point performance of this postseason. Second-year wing Melker Karlsson has stepped up nicely in the absence of an injured Tomas Hertl (lower body). Karlsson has collected five goals in the playoffs after recording just 10 during the regular season. “Melker’s been excellent the entire playoffs, but particularly in the final. I think he’s really found another level here for us,” Peter DeBoer told the San Jose Mercury-News of the 25-year-old Swede. Martin Jones, who turned aside 44 shots in Game 5, is the first goaltender since the 1967 expansion to make at least 40 saves in multiple wins in the Stanley Cup final.
Pittsburgh was denied in its bid to secure the fourth title in franchise history – and first at home. Rookie goaltender Matt Murray allowed three goals on his first five shots to lead the Penguins’ undoing in Game 5, but is 5-0 in games following a loss in the postseason. Evgeni Malkin has scored in consecutive games and speedy forward Carl Hagelin also tallied a goal on Thursday to record his fourth point (one goal, three assists) of the Stanley Cup final. Hagelin’s mates on the “HBK Line” each had an assist in Game 5 as Phil Kessel collected his team-leading 22nd point while Nick Bonino is tied with Malkin for second place at 18. Star Sidney Crosby has been held off the scoresheet in each of the last three games after recording nine points (three goals, six assists) in his previous 12. Pittsburgh has scored a power-play goal in back-to-back contests after going 0-for-11 with the man advantage in the previous four.
The Penguins should be a little more relaxed away from home. There was a lot of pressure on them to finish things at home and they still have a chance to do that if they stumble here tonight. I think the Pens get it done tonight. Crosby breaks out of his mini-slump and leads his team to their fourth Stanley Cup.
Pick: Penguins -110