San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup Predictions

May 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; The San Jose Sharks celebrate their win over the St. Louis Blues to win the Western Conference Finals in game six in the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; The San Jose Sharks celebrate their win over the St. Louis Blues to win the Western Conference Finals in game six in the Western Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Sharks won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /

Will San Jose hoist their first Stanley Cup in franchise history or will Pittsburgh deny team teal their chance at history?

After what seems like an eternity following their defeat of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, the San Jose Sharks are preparing to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals tomorrow night at Consol Energy Center.

For one final time during this postseason, the staff at Blades of Teal gives their thoughts and predictions about whether San Jose will emerge victorious over Pittsburgh:

Bradley Phillips, Staff Writer

No matter how this series ends, the Stanley Cup Finals will be fun. Not just for Sharks fans, but for any hockey fan that wants to watch fast and exciting hockey. We know the Sharks and Penguins are two teams that play similarly and can keep fans at the edge of their seats.

But there will be opportunities that both teams can exploit to gain an advantage. That is why I feel like this series will be decided on coaching. Whichever coach can exploit the better matchups will give his team the best chance at winning. This is why having home-ice advantage is a huge plus for the Penguins.

However as the best road team in the regular season, I’m sure the Sharks have enough confidence to steal at least one in Pittsburgh.

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Another factor I haven’t given too much thought to has been score effects and desperation. If you have been watching closely, it seems as if the Sharks have been leading for almost every minute of these playoffs. As a result, others teams start to get desperate and generate more scoring chances in an effort to win.

For some reason, I have a feeling that the script will be reversed in this series. Everyone in the Sharks organization realizes this is perhaps Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau’s only shot at hoisting the Stanley Cup in teal. With that in mind, they will ensure they can do anything in their power to bring the franchise their first ever Stanley Cup.

Confidence is a weird phenomenon. It has brought the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final, let’s hope they can finish the job.

Prediction: Sharks in Seven.

Mike McCareins, Staff Writer

It’s pretty incredible what the Sharks have done to get to this point, and the team is just four wins away from winning their first Cup in franchise history. Beating the rival Kings, throttling the red-hot Predators in a Game 7 and taking down a 107-point Blues team is no small task.

Team teal still has one more high-powered team to get through in the Penguins to achieve their ultimate goal, and this is sure to be a fast-paced, high-scoring and close series. The Penguins have three elite goal scorers in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel as well as an elite defenseman in Kris Letang. But the Sharks have top-notch forwards, Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture and an elite defenseman too in Brent Burns.

The good news for San Jose is the Penguins’ group of blue-liners is nothing they haven’t seen before. They conquered Drew Doughty and the Kings, Shea Weber and the Predators’ fantastic top-four defensemen and Alex Pietrangelo and St. Louis’ star-studded defense. The fact the Sharks have totally shut down Tyler Toffoli, Filip Forsberg and Vladimir Tarasenko bodes well for their fate against Crosby, Malkin and Kessel.

One advantage Pittsburgh definitely boasts is their forward depth. The Sharks rely heavily on their top two forward lines to fill the scoresheet, while Pittsburgh sees contributions from each line. Their third line of Kessel, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin ran through the Eastern Conference. They have 42 points combined heading into the finals. In comparison, the Sharks’ third line of Joel Ward, Melker Karlsson and Chris Tierney have 23 points.

It seems like this is a year where there is no clear-cut favorite in the finals. Most expected Chicago to take down Tampa Bay last season, yet these teams have been so dominant offensively and have two first-year starter-goaltenders that any result aside from a sweep wouldn’t be a surprise to most. I think if the Sharks win this series, it will most likely come in seven games, but Pittsburgh’s offensive prowess is enough for them to win it in fewer. However, I think the Sharks win the Cup and get Thornton and Patrick Marleau the trophy they have waited 18 years for.

Prediction: Sharks in Seven.

Felix Chow, Staff Writer

I feel like this is going to be a close series. Both of these teams are evenly matched. Both of these teams have had tough opponents. There are going to be superstars and depth players to watch on both sides.

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The more I look at this series, the more I put the advantage in for San Jose. Why? Well, first off, the one thing that has stood out to me the most is the defensive effort. While the defensive depth has always been a question for the Sharks (let’s face it, they still don’t have much of a third D pairing with Brenden Dillon and Roman Polak), the defensive core has done an exceptional job with shutting down some of the top players as mentioned previously. Marc-Eduoard Vlasic has been an absolute stud, and then of course you have the rest of that group in Brent Burns, Paul Martin and Justin Braun along with the forwards who are chipping in defensively as well. The defensive effort for this team has been second to none.

Secondly, the leaders of this team have stepped up big time, and of course, that starts with the captain, Joe Pavelski, who leads the league and team with 13 goals in this postseason.He loves to hang around that net, which is going to have to make him priority number one for the Penguins. Then, of course, there’s Joe Thornton who’s been having a hell of a postseason of his own, with 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists). Last but not least, how about Logan Couture? I mean, he’s been having a phenomenally historic season of his own, with 24 points (8 goals,16 assists).

Thirdly, I cannot say enough about the depth of this team. On NHL Network, the only depth players I’ve really heard about for the Penguins has been the HBK line.

With the Sharks, I can name Joel Ward, Joonas Donskoi, Chris Tierney, Tommy Wingels, Dainius Zubrus, and Melker Karlsson. And that’s with Matt Nieto still out with an injury. That’s how deep this team is. We know the Ward signing has paid dividends for this team, as he’s come up clutch numerous times. Donskoi just continues to impress, and Tierney has been having a hell of a postseason as well. This team, when they’re on their game and playing well, attacks in waves when head coach Peter DeBoer gets his way. I don’t think there’s any question that if they keep forechecking like they have, the Penguins’ defense is going to have their hands full.

Last but not least, we compare the goaltenders. Per the stats, Matt Murray (.924 SV%, 2.22 GAA) actually has a slightly better save percentage than Martin Jones (.919 SV%, 2.12 GAA). However, when you look at these two goalies up close, they’re very evenly matched. Both of them are capable of making that all-important save. Both have been spectacular in these playoffs and have helped lead their respective teams to the Stanley Cup Final. I think it’s all going to come down to making that really critical save.

When it’s all said and done, this is — like I said — a very, very close series that can really go either way. But just based on how the Sharks have performed and responded to adversity this postseason, I’m going to say Sharks in 6. I think they’re just a better team.

Prediction: Sharks in Six.

Patrick Leiva, Editor

Plain and simple, the Sharks are a team on a mission to make history. This group has wanted to write their own story and they’ve done just that in reaching this point.

Now, it’s time to finish the job and the leaders on this team are ready to make that happen. While the Penguins are a formidable foe with two of the best centers in the world, the Sharks have shown they’re capable of handling any challenge that comes their way.

Next: Sharks Advantages In Stanley Cup Final

San Jose’s clear edge on defense is the reason why team teal will win this series. They will wear down the Pittsburgh blue liner and will be able to test rookie Matt Murray.

It’s tough to discount the intangible aspects of wanting to bring the Cup home for veterans like Thornton and Marleau who have endured so much throughout the years.

When all is said and done, the Sharks will be skating the Stanley Cup around the friendly confines of SAP Center as San Jose and their fans will be able to celebrate a championship 25 years in the making.

Prediction: Sharks in Six.