The San Jose Sharks have dug themselves a hole early in the Stanley Cup Final down 2-0 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They look to turn the tides tonight in their first-ever Stanley Cup Final home game at SAP Center.
The San Jose Sharks vowed to be better in Game 2 after suffering a 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1. Unfortunately, “better” was still not enough in an eventual 2-1 OT defeat. With the series shifting to San Jose tonight, the Sharks know tonight is a must-win.
Usually, you wouldn’t think athletes would need much motivation in a championship series such as the Stanley Cup Final, but here are two things that could (and hopefully will) get the Sharks jump started in their comeback quest for the Cup:
Most people in the fan base have been through this franchise’s ups-and-downs in their 25-year history. Just about every Sharks fan knows what it means to “bleed teal”.
From the first two years of they spent playing in the Cow Palace to the move to SAP Center, AKA the “Shark Tank” (or just simply “the Tank”), from the Jamie Baker goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs to the Sharks’ last run to the Western Conference Final with Patrick Marleau‘s goal propelling them to the NHL’s third round for the third time in team history, the list goes on, and those are just some of the accomplishments without having included their past failures.
This team and fan base has been through it all. But in this historic series and first Final home game, I’d expect nothing less than a very raucous atmosphere at the Tank tonight, and that’s something the Sharks have always fed off and are going to want to continue to feed off. The fans want something to cheer about, and the players want to give the fans something to cheer about. They’ve got to pour it all in tonight, and show Pittsburgh what Sharks Territory is all about.
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There are times when life transcends sports, and for Justin Braun, that certainly is the case. This past Monday, former NHLer Tom Lysiak, also Braun’s father-in-law, passed away at the age of 63. While Braun’s overall play has been shaky in the first two games, it’s understandable. That said, it was nice to see Braun score the game-tying goal in Game 2. They say one’s personal loss can be an extra motivator. Is this it? Can his teammates rally around Braun for their first win of the series?
Key of the Game
Play for the Fans and Each Other
This is really the only key I have for tonight. Again, the fans have waited 25 years for this. After two games of being dominated, this is your time to shine, Sharks. Martin Jones kept you guys in this series, but you guys can get back in it.
Just think about how you got to this point. Think of the pride in the locker room, the confidence that you guys have. Pittsburgh may be a faster team, but that’s when they’re playing their game. When you play your game, you give yourselves even more of a chance to win. Play the way you know how to play and do it for the guy sitting next to you. Play Sharks hockey, and make us Sharks fans proud.
|San Jose Sharks
|Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Dainius Zubrus – Nick Spaling – Tommy WingelsMarc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon – Roman Polak
Martin Jones (starter)
Conor Sheary – Sidney Crosby – Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin – Nick Bonino – Phil Kessel
Chris Kunitz – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Matt Cullen – Eric FehrBrian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Ben Lovejoy
Ian Cole – Justin Schultz
Matt Murray (starter)
Sharks: Tomas Hertl (lower body) is out.
Penguins: Trevor Daley (broken ankle) is out.
TV: NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
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