The Pittsburgh Penguins face the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Consol Energy Center.
When the puck drops for Game 1 a little past 8 pm tonight, the Penguins will have all of Pittsburgh behind them, pulling for them to hoist their fourth Stanley Cup. Unfortunately, the national media feels the San Jose Sharks will continue the Western Conference’s supremacy in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Despite the Vegas odds (-125 on Bovada) being in the Penguins favor, only a few NHL writers and personalities are picking Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup. All five writers at Bleacher Report are picking the Sharks. Out of the 21 “experts” from the NHL, 17 picked San Jose to win their first ever cup. Over at ESPN, only 3 out of 10 feel the Penguins will win. Usual Pittsburgh supporter John Buccigross is not among the three, he feels the Sharks will win in six.
Even with the creator of the #Bucciovertimechallenge going against his heart, it is no surprise so many outside of Pittsburgh feel the Sharks will win this series. San Jose is big and fast with guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski hell bent on raising their first cup of their careers. The feeling is the Penguins will struggle offensively and defensively without the services of Trevor Daley, who broke his ankle in Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
More from Pittsburgh Penguins
- Pittsburgh Penguins: A Look Back at 2019
- Penguins Will Continue to Persevere Despite Injuries
- Penguins: Alex Galchenyuk May Finally Start Meeting Expectations
- Penguins’ Three Keys to Help End Islanders’ Point Streak
- Penguins: Without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin Will Be an MVP Candidate
There is also something to be said about the Western Conference’s recent dominance over the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals. Since the NHL returned following the lockout in 2004-2005, the West has won 7 of 10 cups including 4 straight dating back to 2011. Over the past 2 decades, Western Conference teams have won 13 of 19 Stanley Cup Finals after the East won 5 straight in the early 1990’s.
The Penguins were the team that kicked off the Eastern Conference’s five straight victories (the conference was the Campbell Conference then while the Western was the Wales Conference). If the Pens do win the cup, it will put them in a tie for sixth with Metro rivals the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
My prediction for the Stanley Cup Finals? I feel the Penguins will finally end the streak of the Western Conference in a hard fought, back and forth series. The teams will split the first four games of the series, but the Pens will not need seven games like they did against the Lightning.
Like all 3 of their previous Stanley Cup clinching wins, the Penguins will raise the cup after Game 6 in San Jose.