You can win the Stanley Cup Final in a multitude of ways. A hot goaltender, an incredible deep team or a potent offense all stand out as tropes of a winning team. Of course winning four before your opponent wins three takes a combination of factors, including luck.
So what's the recipe for the Sharks to life the Stanley Cup for the first time? Like anything, there's more than one way for the Sharks to find against Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Final. Here are a few ways that will drastically improve the Sharks chances of making history.
Take advantage of power play opportunities
The Sharks boast one of the best power plays in the NHL and certainly have the superior power play in this series. For the Sharks to combat the Penguins superior 5v5 play, they'll need to cash in when they have a man-advantage. Pittsburgh took 329 penalties during the regular season according to War-On-Ice.com.
That's 16th in the league. Only Nashville took fewer penalties among the Sharks' four opponents during this postseason. The Penguins boast a solid penalty kill, too, but if the Sharks win this strength-on-strength matchup I like their chances at winning this series.
Stick to the defensive gameplan
Pittsburgh has a very deep forwards group which will give the Sharks defenders all they can handle, especially with Roman Polak and Brenden Dillon on the ice. San Jose isn't going to be able to shut the Penguins down completely, but if the Sharks can stick to their defensive gameplan and keep Pittsburgh out of high-danger areas they've got a chance of surviving.
Get at least average goaltending
Martin Jones has played quite well during this postseason in no small part because of how the team has played in front of him. The Sharks need Jones to stay in form against the Penguins, a task that will grow tougher as Pittsburgh will almost certainly get more pucks to the net than Jones experienced against the Sharks previous three opponents.
Matt Murray is no slouch in net and may end up being the best goalie the Sharks face during the playoffs. With that in mind, San Jose may lean on Jones a bit more than in series past to find success in the Final.
This isn't a criticism of the Sharks so much as it is an understanding that just about every champion ever has won more of the coin flips in the Final. Luck, along with skill, is why these two teams have made it this far and chance will play a key role in who lifts the Cup at the end of this series.
PDO, which combines a team's shooting percentage and save percentage, is a pretty good measurement of who has gotten the most bounces. 100 is considered average. If your PDO is higher than that, you've gotten more of the luck — under 100? You've probably had some bad luck.
Since 2005-06, the 2015-16 Sharks have the second-highest PDO of any postseason team (104.1). Only the 2005-06 Montreal Canadiens had a better PDO in a single postseason season, and they lost in seven games to the eventual champion Hurricanes. So, like everything else here, luck isn't everything. Can't hurt, though!