Penguins lead series 2-1
The San Jose Sharks look to ride the momentum of their first Stanley Cup final win in their 25-year history into Monday’s Game 4 versus the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Home ice has served them well as the Sharks attempt to win their ninth such contest in 10 outings and even the Stanley Cup final at two victories apiece on Monday.
Martin Jones has given the SAP Center faithful a show in the playoffs, yielding just 17 tallies en route to posting an 8-2 mark with two shutouts, a 1.74 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. “Everyone knows what’s at stake,” Jones told CSNBayArea.com after his 40-save performance – in addition to rookie Joonas Donskoi’s overtime goal – keyed the Sharks to a 3-2 overtime victory on Saturday. “We played well. That was our best game of the series. We can still be better. It was a good step forward for us.” Pittsburgh rookie Matt Murray took a step back by permitting a pair of questionable goals, including Joel Ward’s tying tally in the third period. The 22-year-old goaltender has rebounded well following a defeat in the playoffs, posting a 4-0 mark while stopping 106-of-114 shots.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVAS
Penguins – Matt Murray (W/L: 13-5, GAA: 2.15, SAVE %: .926)
Sharks – Martin Jones (W/L: 13-8, GAA: 2.13, SAVE %: .919)
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (62-30-11, 45-40 O/U): Defenseman Ben Lovejoy didn’t mince words when he talked about his teammates’ readiness to put their bodies on the line. “We’re ready to block shots at any time,” the 32-year-old Lovejoy told reporters after Pittsburgh thwarted 38 shots on goal in Game 3 after averaging 17.5 in the first two contests – and 16.4 over the first three rounds. “I’m ready to take a Brent Burns slapshot to my face.” Shot-happy Burns saw 12 of his attempts bounce off a Pittsburgh player on Saturday, with blue-liner Olli Maatta recording a career-high six blocks in the contest.
ABOUT THE SHARKS (59-34-10, 51-41 O/U): Joe Pavelski has been held off the scoresheet in the first three contests of this series after collecting 22 points (team-high 13 goals, nine assists) in the first three rounds. While Pavelski suddenly is struggling, fellow forward Ward scored his first goal of the series and fifth in his last five contests. Veteran Joe Thornton, who saw Melker Karlsson and Logan Couture platoon on his line with Pavelski for the absent Tomas Hertl (undisclosed), notched a pair of assists in Game 3 after recording 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 18 games during the first three rounds.
* Penguins are 21-5 in their last 26 games playing on 1 days rest.
* Sharks are 8-1 in their last 9 home games.
* Under is 6-0 in Penguins last 6 Stanley Cup Finals games.
* Under is 4-0-1 in Sharks last 4 vs. Eastern Conference.
* Under is 6-1 in the last 6 meetings.
* Penguins are 1-12-1 in the last 14 meetings in San Jose.
COVERS CONSENSUS: San Jose is picking up a sizeable percentage of the Covers Consensus action – currently sitting at 64 percent. The total is set at 5.5 and the public is pouncing on the Under at a rate of 62 percent. View full consensus data here.
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