NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks&h=253&w=372&zc=1

There won’t be a sweep in the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals. Joonas Donskoi scored in overtime to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory and cut the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series lead in half. Pittsburgh now leads 2-1 with Game Four set for Monday night back at the SAP Center in San Jose.

Once again, Pittsburgh outplayed San Jose but credit to Sharks’ goaltender Martin Jones for cleaning up the mess. Jones made 40 saves on 42 shots and earned the ‘Third Star’ of the game for his efforts. Unfortunately, he shouldn’t have to be making this many saves. Pittsburgh has badly outshot San Jose in all three games and put up 40+ shots on goal in two of them. It’s a valuable asset to have a goaltender up to the task of such a heavy workload but it’s something the Sharks need to take care of if they hope to win this series.

Pittsburgh shouldn’t be too concerned about the Game Three loss. It was due almost exclusively to Jones’ play in net and Donskoi’s individual effort on his overtime goal. The Sharks were once again outplayed by the Penguins in every phase of the game. Our handicap on this matchup hasn’t changed a bit even with the San Jose win in Game Three. These are two evenly matched teams but the ‘eye test’ suggests that Pittsburgh is in better form. They’re pushing the action and playing proactively while the Sharks are playing reactively.

San Jose has been a solid home team in the playoffs winning 8 of 10 games at the SAP Center. If they want to add to that they’ve got some big issues to address. First of all, they need to ramp up the defensive intensity. Try to get the shots on goal against down to the low 30’s. At the same time, they need to make Penguins’ goaltender Matt Murray work harder. San Jose is averaging just 25 shots on goal per game. They’re being outshot by an average of 12.5 shots per game. If they can’t get this disparity under control it’s unlikely they’ll win this series.

The value dynamic on this series hasn’t really changed. These are two very even teams and we’ll take the price.