PITTSBURGH — By now, you’ve probably seen the stat.
But if you haven’t, well, here it is:
The all-time series record of home teams sweeping Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is 33-3.
It was trotted out quite a bit following Pittsburgh’s 2-1 OT win over San Jose in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The victory gave the Pens a commanding 2-0 lead — with both wins coming at Consol — and presented the Sharks with a daunting task:
To win it all, they’ll need to beat Pittsburgh in four of the next five games.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer didn’t say if he was aware of “the stat” or not, but did say he’s holding off on eulogies.
“Game 1 was decided in the last two minutes. Tonight is an overtime game,” DeBoer said in his postgame presser. “I think we’ll hold off on the funeral. We have a lot of hockey left to play.”
DeBoer is right. And he’d probably be wise to point out that, of those three teams to rally after losing the first two games on the road, two of them happened within the last seven years.
What’s more, one of them was the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
But if the Sharks are going replicate what the Pens did seven years ago, they’re going to need more production across the board. DeBoer stressed the need for more goals at 5-on-5 — San Jose has just two in the series — and there are individuals, especially at forward, that haven’t shown up yet.
To a man, the Sharks know a more collective effort is required. Especially when they look across at Pittsburgh, and see the likes of Connor Sheary and Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz and Olli Maatta chipping in with points.
Despite all these issues — like the fact his team has been out-shot 71-48 — DeBoer was defensive when pressed about them. The way he sees it, things aren’t as one-sided as everyone’s making them out to be.
“This was a game that went back and forth,” he explained. “They’re at home. They carried the play for parts. We carried it for parts.
“We’ve got to go back home now, and get back in the series.”