Monday, June 25, 2018
Sports

Sharks enter franchise's first Cup final home game in big hole

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Sharks host their first Stanley Cup final game tonight neck deep in trouble, down two games to none to the Penguins.

Maybe home ice — and home fans — can help turn the tide against a Penguins team that has looked significantly superior to the Sharks despite a pair of wins achieved by just one goal.

History is not on the Sharks' side. Only five teams have rallied from 0-2 deficits in the final to win the Cup out of 49 that have faced the predicament. Trailing 3-1, the numbers are worse. Only one team out of 32 has come back to win, and that was the 1942 Red Wings, who climbed out of 0-3 hole to beat Toronto.

"We're not reading a lot into where we're sitting right now," San Jose coach Pete DeBoer said Friday. "We just have to take care of business here at home."

The Sharks have never won a playoff series after losing the first two games. But for what it's worth, two of the five 0-2 Cup comebacks have occurred in the past seven years. The Penguins did it in 2009 against the Red Wings, and the Bruins rallied from 0-2 and 2-3 deficits to beat the Canucks in 2011.

To a man, the Sharks were talking up being back home on Friday and how it could make all the difference playing in front of a packed house screaming their lungs out in support.

"It gives you legs," defenseman Brent Burns said. "You get energy. It's fun to play at home. You're comfortable. You've got your bed. You get the food you're used to. You go on the road, you're eating out. You're sleeping in a weird bed. Both are fun, but I like my bed."

"You can feel the energy going around the city right now," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. "Everyone's excited for this game."

'EVERYone CHEATS:' San Jose center Logan Couture, who caused a bit of a storm after Game 2 when he accused Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby of cheating on faceoffs, said Crosby isn't the only player who does that. Couture said that he and just about every other player who gets in the faceoff circle tries for any sort of edge they can get, legal or otherwise.

"Everyone cheats on faceoffs. That's how you try to win draws," Couture said. "(Crosby is) one of the best at it. He wins a lot of faceoffs."

Crosby said he was surprised when he heard the accusation and said he doesn't do anything other players don't do. "I think we are all doing the same thing in the faceoff circle," he said.

Crosby and Couture said they didn't think the dispute would have any bearing on Game 3. Crosby said it wouldn't add any fuel for him, and Couture said he wasn't trying to lobby linesmen to kick Crosby out of the circle.

"Not at all," he said. "These (officials) are the best in the world at what they do. I have no complaints of the officials throughout these playoffs. They've been very, very good."

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