Stanley Cup Final: Sharks pondering lineup changes for Game 2

Tuesday May 31st, 2016

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The San Jose Sharks might have a different look when they take the ice for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Coach Peter DeBoer opened the door to inserting Matt Nieto into the lineup during his press briefing on Tuesday.

"Anytime you have a guy like Nieto available, which he just recently got available to us, he's always a consideration," DeBoer said. "We'll sleep on that and come up with some decisions [Wednesday] morning."

Nick Bonino’s late goal lifts Penguins over Sharks in Game 1

He shouldn't have to sleep too long. The Penguins dominated the pace with their blazing speed in the opener. The fleet-footed Nieto would give the Sharks a weapon to counter. It's that simple.

If Nieto would draws in, DeBoer would likely shuffle his bottom three lines to find a better balance. Joel Ward could move to the second line alongside Logan Couture and Joonas Donskoi, with Patrick Marleau, who scored one of San Jose's goals in the 3–2 Game 1 loss, dropping to the third line alongside Nieto and Chris Tierney. That would send Melker Karlsson to the fourth line alongside Dainius Zubrus and either Nick Spaling or Tommy Wingels. Spaling is more deserving of the trip to the press box, but he's a favorite of DeBoer. It's more likely that Wingels sits, despite establishing a solid physical presence on Monday night.

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That balance, and subsequent increase in foot speed, might help address another of DeBoer's concerns: the 41-26 shot disparity owned by the Penguins.

Logan Couture quietly becomes most dangerous Shark

"We weren't happy with the number of shots," he said. "We weren't happy with the quality of shots. We weren't happy with the guys who didn't get enough shots. We didn't do enough to win the game. We've got to fix that."

There's no secret to getting those chances, he said. "It's on us to execute better. It's on us to impose our game on them for longer stretches. We did it for the second period and for spurts of the third, but they did it for longer than we did and they won. It's as simple as that. It's not a complicated game."

Game 2 is set for Wednesday night at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center (8:00 ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS).


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