USA TODAY Sports
Following Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, the Sharks advanced to the Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history, becoming the first team to make their Stanley Cup debut since the 2006-07 Ottawa Senators.
So with that monkey off their back, the Sharks’ focus shifts to the final task. The Stanley Cup.
But will the Sharks’ inexperience, when it comes to the final round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, bite them (no pun intended) in the butt?
The Sharks are the eighth team since 1995-96 to make their Stanley Cup debut and in the previous seven occasions, a Stanley Cup rookie has hoisted the iconic trophy just twice. And one of those times it was only because two first-timers squared off for the Cup, when the Colorado Avalanche faced off against the Florida Panthers in 1995-96.
The last Stanley Cup rookie to win the Cup was the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning, who defeated the Calgary Flames in seven games.
The most concerning thing for bettors about the Sharks’ first time visit to the final round of the NHL playoffs, is just how few total games Stanley Cup rookies have won.
Since 1995-96 teams making their Stanley Cup debut are a combined 13-23 (36.1 percent) in the final round and have won Game 1 of the series just twice. Meaning when it comes to totals, these teams making their first Stanley Cup appearance have been a decent under bet, going 20-13-3 (60.6 percent) in those series.
So it’s not out of the question that the Sharks can hoist the Cup at the end of this series, but the numbers aren’t necessarily in their favor.
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