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Stanley Cup Final 2016: Sharks just need to survive

It doesn't have to be pretty.

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

We're five games into the Sharks first ever Stanley Cup Final and San Jose is a mere two wins away from hoisting the Cup for the first time. If you told me six months ago the Sharks would be in this position, I'd have taken it.

With the odds still overwhelmingly against San Jose, the Sharks aren’t likely to find a bit of magic to take over the final two games of this series. Pittsburgh will likely continue to dominate the possession play and the Penguins will almost certainly use their speed to excess, forcing the Sharks to rely on Martin Jones time and again.

San Jose survived game five through a combination of a hot start and great goaltending. If the Sharks are to win their first ever Stanley Cup, they'll need to try to replicate this formula. Whether through stubbornness or wisdom, the Sharks are unlikely to make any drastic changes to the lineup at this point.

The Sharks will dance with the girl they brought to the dance — even if that girl has two left feet and actively wants to spill punch all over your new pants. This is the team that brought San Jose to its first ever Cup Final and this is the one that will finish the Sharks season — whether that be with a parade in San Jose or with heartbreak.

Teams riding a hot goaltender and crazy shooting percentages to a Final victory isn’t unprecedented, but it’s also no one’s favorite strategy. The 2011 Boston Bruins road a 103.9 PDO (save percentage + shooting percentage) to a title, the 2012 Kings posted a 103.8 and the 2015 Blackhawks notched a 101.9.

The Sharks’ PDO of 104.1 is the highest since the 2006-07 season and it’s the highest any San Jose team has had since that time. Heck, this is the first time in the past 10 postseasons that the Sharks’ PDO has been more than 100 — so after years of rotten luck, San Jose is seeing some bounces go its way.

That doesn't mean this good fortune will continue, of course. You don't go down 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final and then suddenly become a favorite after winning game five. The Sharks don't find themselves in an enviable position, persay, but with game six at home San Jose can force a winner-take-all contest that would take place in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

After everything this franchise has gone through over the years, maybe now’s the time the Sharks pick up some puck luck — or maybe it's not. Either way, San Jose will need to find a way to survive its next game if it wants a chance to survive game seven.