As the Sharks and Penguins press further into this series, each team is expected to adapt to many things. Changing opposition schemes, lost or returning players, even changing ice conditions... all factors affect game performance, and it's up to these professionals to deal with that and ride the momentum highs as long as they can. In Saturday's game, the Sharks rode momentum from a good (but ultimately losing) effort and some insane home-crowd support to a win and possible momentum shift in this Final.
LAST GAME'S RECAP
Saturday's Game 3 marked the first-ever Stanley Cup Final game and win at the Shark Tank. The Sharks were obviously pumped up by the home crowd, and needed every ounce of that energy to get past the Penguins with an overtime win. This game felt a lot like Game 2, in that it was played tightly, was decided in overtime, and easily could have gone the other way. The young guns continue to lead the way for both sides, as goalies Matt Murray and Martin Jones have looked very sharp, and the 2nd and 3rd line kids continue to be the ones putting pucks in the nets (including Joonas Donskoi with the game-winner from this one).
Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks (Game 4), 8:00PM EDT - NBC
The possibility that we have seen a momentum shift in this series is very real. From the Penguins dominating 2 periods in Game 1, to the narrow Pens win in Game 2, and now the narrow Sharks win in Game 3, tonight's pivotal game could be the Sharks' answer to Game 1. With the strength of their first home Finals win behind them and the confidence of their first win in this series, this could be their time to shine. For the Penguins, they'll be hoping that the emotional high from the Game 3 win leads to a Game 4 collapse for San Jose.
Why You Care Enough To Watch: A Pitt win tonight will be the death-knell of this series, while a San Jose win will cement this as a slug-fest going forward and leave us hanging on to see how things shift for Game 5. For what it's worth, my money is on San Jose to come out in a frenzy tonight and even the series. San Jose has responded to big moments this playoff year - from dominating their in-state opposition L.A. Kings, to obliterating the Predators in Game 7, and bouncing back after high-pressure losses against the Blues in the Conference Finals and winning their first Stanley Cup Final home game. If they can build off of the pressure from Game 3, San Jose will be in a good position to win Game 4.