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The Pittsburgh Penguins go into San Jose for tonight’s Game 3 up 2-0 as they were able to outplay the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in Game 1 and 2-1 overtime win in Game 2. Pittsburgh has shown veteran leadership within the depth of the roster and have continued to ride the success of the “HBK” line of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. Mix that in with the excellent play of Matt Murray in the net and it has led to a 2-0 lead. In NHL history only six teams have come back from a 0-2 hole on the road in the Stanley Cup Final and win; needless to say San Jose has their work cut out for them.
Keys to Game
Pittsburgh needs to continue to do what they’ve been doing by shutting down the Peter DeBoer offensive style of dump n’ chase hockey and score early to get the crowd out of it. The Penguins defense, led by Kris Letang, will certainly be under fire early, but look for the “Captain” Sidney Crosby to take control of his early shifts and put Pittsburg on the scoreboard first. The Sharks need more quality shots and take advantage of power play opportunities as they have throughout the playoffs thus far.
The X-Factor for the Sharks is Joe Pavelski. Pavelski must be in the mix early and often for San Jose to take Game 3. His ability to deflect the puck into the net has been a prime example of how well San Jose can play if they get shots fired at the net.
The X-Factor for the Penguins is Matt Murray. Murray needs to be aggressive while handling the puck. The Penguins go as far as he go. He will be expected to continue his amazing playoff run and more specifically his Stanley Cup Final performance with a 1.50 GAA in the first 2 games.
Prediction: Expect a high energy sense of desperation from San Jose as they go all out for this Game 3 victory. Sharks pull this one out 3-2 in OT.