Following the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, they’ve taken a commanding 3-1 series lead over the San Jose Sharks, bringing them one win away from their franchises fourth Stanley Cup title.
Have The Penguins Already Won The Stanley Cup?
Sharks fans are in a state of worry after Game 4’s horrifying loss. Their team is now on the brink of elimination, have had no help from their forwards all series long and haven’t lead in regulation.
After Joonas Donskoi‘s overtime goal in Game 3, the series seemed to have shifted in favor of the Sharks, but that would be short lived. You’d think that cutting the series deficit in half would give the Sharks momentum, right? Instead, it only fed the Penguins march for resilience and leadership throughout their lineup.
Once Evgeni Malkin got on the scoresheet in Game 4 to make it 2-0 after Ian Cole‘s opening tally, the script was written. Malkin had been desperate to find the back of the net, and was striving to do so. The following goal by Eric Fehr sealed the deal and concluded the victory, as well as set the tone for Thursday nights possible Cup-clinching game.
With the stars shining in Pittsburgh, the Sharks are walking upon a road that’s leading directly into the ocean, as their playoff run is dwindling towards an end. Patrick Marleau has one goal, which came in Game 1, Joe Thornton has missed on multiple scoring chances that came in dire moments, and no other lines besides the third line of Joel Ward, Chris Tierney, and Melker Karlsson have been able to consistently find the back of the net.
Not having an overall consistent team will cost you a playoff series, but will only hurt more in the Stanley Cup Final. Having this been their first ever final, and with no experience this far in the playoffs, a win is unlikely for the Sharks. Although, it’s not only the player stats which point towards a Penguins victory, it’s the historical stats.
According to NHL Network, teams that have taken a 3-1 series lead have gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 31 of 32 times since 1939 (96.9%). Even worse, only five of those series reached a Game 7. If Sharks fans weren’t worrying before, they are now. It’s easy for confidence to run gaunt in times like these, but positivity is key with any sport.
With their season on the line, be expecting the Sharks to come out in desperate fashion. They’re going to need all players on their “A” game in order to live another game and force a game six on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. They might just have a fighting chance if they are to get the first goal, or maintain a lead long enough for scoring to become common throughout the lineup.
There’s also that instant reality of how close the Penguins are of acquiring the Stanley Cup, and how dire of a situation it is for the Sharks. A comeback is easier said than done, but with a confident 3-1 series lead, and an unstoppable group defending goaltender Matt Murray, a Cup title seems imminent for Sidney Crosby and his crew.