On Monday the NHL Stanley Cup Final begins in Pittsburgh, PA as the San Jose Sharks take on the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has been to the Stanley Cup Final four times before, winning the cup three times, the last time in 2009. To make this fifth trip the Penguins had to dispatch the New York Rangers (4-1) the Washington Capitals (4-2) and then the Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1). A total of 16 games that includes besting the team that won the President’s Trophy, the Capitals.
The Penguins finished the season with 104 points, six points ahead of their rivals in the coming series, which means games 1 and 2 of the Final take place at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh — the House the Sidney Crosby Built.
The San Jose Sharks are making their first trip to the final. They have been close several times in their 25 year history. They’ve won the Pacific Division championship six times, but have never advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. This past season the Anaheim Ducks won the division and the Sharks were the third seed.
In the first round the Nashville Predators defeated the Ducks and the Sharks knocked off the Los Angeles Kings in five games. Nashville and San Jose played seven games, with the Sharks winning game seven on their home ice in the SAP Center.
Their next series was against the St. Louis Blues, who finished the season ahead of the Sharks in points. The series went six games, with San Jose winning their trip to the Stanley Cup Final at home in front of their fans.
With the Stanley Cup Final starting in Pittsburgh, Sharks fans will have to wait until Saturday, June 6 when the series comes west for games 3 and 4. The celebrations in the Bay Area will be large and loud.
Top photo of Sharks Defenseman Brent Burns by Claudia Gestro.
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