Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Game 2 Pre-Game: Trickle Down Effect of the HBK Line drawing the Pavelski Line

Go Up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup = Series Win 90% of the time

Teams that go up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final win the Stanley Cup 90% (44-5) of the time. The Penguins were one of the five teams to come back from being down 2-0, doing it in 2009.

The last time the Penguins went up 2-0 in a Stanley Cup Final was against Chicago in 1992 when they went on to sweep the Blackhawks.

The percentages obviously project that going up 2-0 tonight would be huge for the Penguins.

San Jose is 5-1 this postseason when following a loss. Many Sharks observers say San Jose’s performance in Game 1 might have been their worst performance of the playoffs, yet with under three minutes to play in Game 1 they were involved in a tie game.

Everyone is expecting a much better game from the Sharks tonight but what if Pittsburgh also finds another level?

Some key stats out of Game 1 in the Penguins’ favor that were very promising.

A 41-23 edge in 5 vs 5 scoring chances, 18-7 edge in high danger scoring chances. While they peppered Martin Jones with 41 shots, the quality of chances and shots is what matters.

Pittsburgh also produced against the Sharks top-2 pairings.

San Jose’s top shutdown pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun were a minus-2. On Nick Bonino’s game winning goal, the Penguins scored against the D-pairing of Paul Martin – Brent Burns. Up to that point Paul Martin was one of the best players on the ice, having a dominant defensive night.

While there were expectations of Sidney Crosby going head-to-head vs the Pavelski line, Mike Sullivan is more interested in getting the HBK line against the Sharks top line.

Nick Bonino played nearly six minutes against Pavelski in Game 1 with the Penguins controlling possession on 58% of their shot attempts and producing One Goal For and zero against.

Sullivan said today one of the reasons he likes that matchup is because the HBK line has a combination of being “defensively responsible” and are also a threat “offensively.”

Joe Thornton remains a great player at age 36 but he doesn’t have the wheels of a 25 year old anymore. Going head-to-head with Carl Hagelin is a smart move from the Penguins end to make the Sharks top line play a skating game.

The Penguins neutralizing San José’s top line for long stretches will be a difficult task but there could be a major trickle down effect if the Bonino line can continue to hold their own or even get a slight edge like they did in Game 1.

The matchup in Game 1 opened the door for Sidney Crosby to go up against the Sharks third line more than expected, notably a rookie checking center in Chris Tierney who went against Crosby for 6:53 at even strength Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

Comments Disabled

Comments have been disabled for this post.