The San Jose Sharks look to come back from a 0-2 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The teams will have two off days and will play Game 3 on Saturday night in San Jose at 8 p.m.
Here are five keys for the Sharks in Game 3:
1) Feed Off the Crowd
San Jose will host a Stanley Cup Final game for the first time in franchise history. The crowd should be ready to go even with the 5 p.m. local puck drop. The Sharks need to feed off the crowd’s energy and get involved in the game early whether by being physical or by spending more time in the offensive zone.
2) Get Shots to the Net
The Sharks need to get more pucks through to Matt Murray because he has only faced a total of 48 shots through two games. The Sharks had a combined 11 shots on goal through two periods and only four shots on goal in the first period of Game 1. San Jose needs to be quicker with their shots and have better puck movement since the Penguins are blocking a lot of shots. Murray hasn’t really been tested so far in the series and that needs to change for the Sharks to have any chance at mounting a comeback.
3) Get the First Goal
The Sharks have been playing from behind for a good portion of the series. San Jose is 10-3 when they score the first goal of the game in the playoffs, but are only 2-5 when the opposing team scores first. Two of those five loses have come in this series against the Penguins. The Sharks need to get the first goal of the game and play with the lead for once in the series. It’s much easier to play with the lead than to have to constantly fight to come back from a goal or two deficit.
4) Avoid Turnovers
A big reason for the 0-2 deficit has been the preassure that the Penguins have shown, forcing the Sharks to turn the puck over. Turnovers lead to second chances and extended time in the offensive zone for the opposing team. The Sharks defensemen were sometimes just sloppy in their decisions with the puck even, when there was no one around them. They’ll need to clean that up on home ice to try to get back into the series.
5) Joe Pavelski/Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Joe Pavelski has scored more goals in the playoffs than any other player and he is tied for second with teammate, Brent Burns for second in overall scoring with 22 points. The Penguins have kept Pavelski off the scoreboard in the first two games of the series. It’s hard to register any points or goals when the team is spending too much time defending and not enough time attacking. Vlasic hasn’t exactly had the best two games of the postseason against the Penguins either. He has been turning the puck over, not getting his shots through to the net and just making mental mistakes. If the Sharks want to win Game 3 then both of these players will need to step up and get going.