NHL Hockey Betting: San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Hockey Betting:  San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins

There’s such a fine line between success and failure in the NHL and particularly the Stanley Cup playoffs. The San Jose Sharks are learning this the hard way. Coming off a somewhat fortunate Game Three victory to cut the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lead to a single game the Sharks looked awful in Game Four. They’re now heading back to Pittsburgh down 3-1 and facing elimination. While coming back from a 3-1 deficit isn’t completely unprecedented in the National Hockey League it’s very rare–and particularly in the finals. We’ll look at the exact percentages momentarily. The good news was that San Jose was finally able to limit Pittsburgh’s shots on goal output. The bad news was that it didn’t matter and the Penguins’ won anyway. The second half of the Sharks’ ‘shots issue’ is their lack of offensive productivity that that was more of the same.

San Jose goaltender Martin Jones didn’t have a great game allowing 3 goals on 20 shots. In all fairness, the first two were tough shots including a deflection that few goalies in the league would have been able to handle. The final goal of the game came when his team was furiously trying to score the equalizer in the third period and didn’t mind their defensive responsibilities. On the other end of the ice, Matt Murray was his usual freakish self playing like a 32 year old playoff veteran and not a 22 year old rookie. Murray has been the difference maker in this playoffs and he’d get my vote for the Conn Smythe Trophy awarded to playoff MVP.

San Jose isn’t scoring and that’s been bad news for the Sharks in recent years. After playing three or more consecutive ‘Under’ games the Sharks are 9-19 over the past three seasons. The historical data also doesn’t look good. Teams heading home for Game 5 leading 3-1 go on to win the series 91.8% of the time in all NHL playoff series and have never lost a Stanley Cup Finals series in this situation (22-0). The home team is also a 65% winner in Game Five suggesting that it’s a very rare team that lives to fight another day.