Tonight marks the start of the 2016 Stanley Cup championship series between the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Looking back at our 2016 Playoff predictions you will see that we picked the San Jose Sharks to win the 2016 Stanley Cup over the Washington Capitals, but you will notice that we did pick the Pittsburgh Penguins as a dark-horse from the Eastern conference (we had St. Louis as the dark-horse in the Western Conference) so really we correctly picked three out of the final four Cup contenders.
San Jose Sharks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
2016 Stanley Cup Final Game by Game Predictions
So while we are sad that not once has the Canadian National Anthem been played during the 2016 NHL Playoffs, (and really the NHL should put in a rule that during the Stanley Cup Finals both the US and Canadian anthems should be played), the finals are shaping up to be a great series. First you have an exciting, fast skating team in the San Jose Sharks and on the other side we have one of the hottest teams in the NHL since January in the Pittsburgh Penguins. I have wanted the Sharks to win a Cup for a number of years now but they have run into some bad playoff luck (and some good teams) during their 25 history.
5 Reasons Why the San Jose Sharks Will Win the 2016 Stanley Cup
The San Joe Sharks are a great hockey team. They have a nice blend of veterans and younger players. Here is a look at five reasons why the San Jose Sharks will win the Stanley Cup in 2016.
- Team Concept – the Sharks roll as a team, everyone contributes in their own way. This is what it takes to win the Holy Grail of hockey. Everyone has a role and plays to their ability on this 2016 Sharks team. From the timely scoring of Joel Ward to the at times spectacular goaltending of Martin Jones and the quiet acquisitions of players like Paul Martin, the Sharks have a well rounded team.
- Momentum – the San Jose Sharks have beaten three great teams to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. First a lot of people were predicting that the Los Angeles Kings would again get the better of the San Jose Sharks. This series started out like a dynamo with some of the most physical play and body checks that you will ever see, the Sharks prevailed and in some ways dominated this series winning 4-1 thereby knocking out a Cup favorite amongst many in the Media. Then in round two the Sharks battled a very solid team in the Nashville Predators winning in hard fought seven games over the Preds. However a couple of breaks in some overtime games and this series would have been done a little sooner. Advantage Sharks. In the Conference Finals the Sharks again met up with a leading contender for the Stanley Cup in the St. Louis Blues. The Blues were rolling along nicely having defeated Cup favorite Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars both in seven games series. The Sharks proved too much for the Blues winning in six games.
- The Joes Have It – Jumbo Joe Thornton and Little Joe Pavelski are a dynamic force. Both would have to be considered as players who do not often get the recognition they deserve. (Have you checked out Joe Thornton’s career stats lately?). Both Joes can get the job done and will get the job done. While Pavelski is the captain of this team, Joe Thornton is still a veteran leader that has communicated on numerous occasions that the Sharks have 23 leaders on that team. He’s not wrong, which brings us to reason number four why the San Jose Sharks will win the 2016 Stanley Cup.
- Leadership – the Sharks do have a number of great leaders on their team and this includes their coaching staff. Whether it is the steady and consistent play of Patrick Marleau, the energy of a young Tomas Hertl, the Norris-trophy-like play of Brent Burns or the annoying peskiness of Roman Polak, this team leads by example. The 2016 San Jose Sharks are a team of destiny. With a roster full of great leadership they will prevail and win Lord Stanley’s Cup within the next ten days or so.
- Brent Burns – this guy is a tremendous hockey player and has been one for quite some time. He sits currently third in Playoff scoring with 20 points in 18 games trailing only teammates Logan Couture (24) and Joe Pavelski (22). All of your hockey writers in the East take note as this should be the Norris trophy winner and potentially Conn Smythe trophy winner. He brings a lot to the dressing room and leaves it all on the ice. This guy is a beast, he is one of the best defensemen in the game today and he seems like a pretty cool guy with a good head on his shoulders.
The San Jose Sharks will win the Stanley Cup at home in game six of this series…. but hey don’t count the Pittsburgh Penguins out just yet…
5 Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Penguins Will Win the 2016 Stanley Cup
- The Pens are simply a good hockey team – when you have the talent that the Pens have, there is no reason why you should not compete for the Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby had a slow start to the year, but he has been rolling along since. Their roster consists of some really talent forwards and some above par defense such as Kris Letang and let’s not forget the stellar goaltending that they are getting from Matt Murray.
- Momentum – like the Sharks the Pens have momentum. They have been one of the hottest teams in the League since the start of the new year. They had 30 wins between January and April 9th. Come playoff time the Penguins disposed of the New York Rangers in five games, the heavily favored Washington Capitals in six games and the Tamp Bay Lightning in seven games. For this momentum to continue the Pens will probably need 7 games to knock off the Sharks.
- Scoring by Committee – if you look at the 2016 Stanley Cup playoff scoring as we enter the Finals we see that there are only two Penguins in the top ten in points (Phil Kessel with 18 and Sidney Crosby with 15), the Pens are bit just getting scoring from Crosby and Malkin, players like Kessel, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin have all been contributing when needed.
- Unsung Hereos – Watching a few of the Pens’ playoff games I could not help notice the strong performance of some of the “black aces” as they are often referred to. Players such as Justin Schultz who was a castoff in Edmonton where he lost his confidence but now plays a key role on the Penguins powerplay or Nick Bonino who has 15 points in 18 playoff games and of course rookie goalie Matt Murray has been playing solid between the pipes. You win in the trenches and its players such as these that can be the difference between winning and losing.
- Sidney Crosby – for whatever reason I have never been a big fan of Sidney Crosby, but he has shown me some great resilience these past couple of seasons. The man is still one of the most talented and passionate hockey players that you will find out there. He deserves another Stanley Cup.
Ok so let’s get into our game by game predictions for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Game One: San Jose Sharks at the Pittsburgh Penguins – game one will go one of two ways either a massive blowout or a tight game. We think that it will be the later. The Sharks will win game one 3-2 on an overtime goal by Logan Couture in the first overtime period. San Jose 1 – Pittsburgh 0. The Sharks will need just three more wins to capture the Stanley Cup.
Game Two: San Jose Sharks at the Pittsburgh Penguins – the Penguins will come out more focused for this game being down by one. The Pens will bring their “A” game and dominate the first period before the Sharks tighten it up. The Pens win 3-1 tying the series at one game a piece.
Game Three: Pittsburgh Penguins at the San Jose Sharks – the “Shark Tank” will be crazy loud and the fans will give the Sharks and extra boost, Brent Burns will have a huge game with the Sharks winning 4-2. Sharks lead the series two games to one.
Game Four: Pittsburgh Penguins at the San Jose Sharks – The Sharks can smell blood, but Pittsburgh will do their best to hold them off after a physical start to this game. this game will feature some of the best goaltending of the series and will result in a one one draw heading into overtime. A powerplay goal by Joe Pavelski seals it for the Sharks in OT, the Sharks take a commanding lead of 3-1 in the series.
Game Five: San Jose Sharks at the Pittsburgh Penguins – don’t count the Pens out yet. Sidney Crosby will have his best game of the series as the Pens beat the Sharks at home 4-2. This game will get physical near the end and will set the tone for game six back in San Jose.
Game Six: Pittsburgh Penguins at the San Jose Sharks – there will be no doubt in the outcome of this game as the San Jose Sharks will simply refuse to lose on home ice avoiding a game seven back in Pittsburgh. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will have their best games of the series as the Sharks win the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 victory over Pittsburgh. Brent Burns of Joe Pavelski will win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP and the final Californian based NHL team will win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Joe Thornton will shave his beard after the game.
The San Jose Sharks win the Stanley Cup!!!