Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of NHL.com,
Less than four months ago, goaltender Matt Murray was playing in front of small crowds for Wilkes Barre/Scranton in the American Hockey League: 4,916 at Hartford on Feb. 12, 5,193 at home on Feb. 14, 6,855 at Toronto on Feb. 19, 3,471 at Portland on Feb. 26. He had played four NHL games at that point. He was a prospect.
Monday, in front of 17,562 at SAP Center and a national television audience in two countries, Murray was First Star as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, making 11 of his 23 saves in the third period. Though he has won nine regular-season NHL games, he has won 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games, one short of the rookie record.
"I think it goes to show you," Murray, 22, sitting on a podium in an interview room next to superstar Evgeni Malkin, said, "you can never predict what's going to happen."
No one predicted this. The Penguins are one victory from the fourth championship in franchise history, and they have a chance to win the Stanley Cup at home for the first time in Game 5 at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). They have not trailed in this series. Their only loss came in overtime.
Watch the game highlights below...
The Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 tonight and now lead the Stanley Cup Final series 3-1.
The Sharks had trouble generating much offense except for 3rd period bursts and once again the Penguins were the better team.
Goals are below and Game 5 is Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
Puck drops just after 8:00pm ET on NBC, CBC and TVAS. On a side note, NBC will televise the rest of the series too.
The Penguins with a win will have a chance to win the Cup on Thursday night while the Sharks want to avoid that with a win and at least force a game 6 back in San Jose on Sunday night.
Which will it be? Feel free to comment on the game tonight.
via Showtime Sports,
Relive San Jose forward Joonas Donskoi's Game 3 overtime GWG that restored the Sharks’ Stanley Cup Final hopes. Catch ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup – new episodes Fridays at 9PM ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.
Scott Morrison of Sportsnet with the feature...
Metallica will perform the national anthem prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC TVA Sports). The Sharks trail the best-of-7 series 2-1.
The heavy metal band comprised of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo will rock the Shark Tank for a good cause. The guitars used by Hetfield and Hammett during the performance will be signed by the members of the band, displayed on the concourse during the game and then donated to the Sharks Foundation to be auctioned off.
Early in May of this year, they plaed the National Anthem at a San Francisco Giants game, watch below...
People within the NHL’s hockey operations department have been wishful-thinking forever about getting the season wrapped up by the end of May, but the owners don’t want to start in September, still fearful that their product isn’t good enough to compete for even more autumn weeks with high school, college and pro football, baseball pennant races and whatever else might erode the puck ratings.
So they play into June, and now that every month on the planet Earth is the hottest on record, you can pretty much take it to the bank that the NHL’s ice doctor, Dan Craig, is not going to be able to produce a mid-season-quality surface during the annual heat wave, no matter how much cold air he pumps in, how many de-humidifiers he hooks up.
-Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun where you can read more on the ice conditions in the Stanley Cup Final.
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer doesn’t need any miracles in his quest to win the Stanley Cup.
He’s already had one of those in his life.
His son Matt.
On this particular Sunday afternoon, while DeBoer is at the podium addressing the media at the team’s Sharks Ice practice facility, Matt is just a slap shot away on one of the adjoining rinks.
The same Matt that his dad refers to as “a miracle.”
While DeBoer’s entire focus right now is on finding a way to tie up this best-of-seven Stanley Cup final against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 Monday night, he’ll also be the first to tell you that he is blessed to have such a strong support system on hand to enjoy the ride, including wife Sue, sons Matt and Jack, and daughter Abby, who is scheduled to arrive Monday.
All have flown in to be with DeBoer in what they hope ends in the hoisting of hockey’s most coveted prize.
And then there is his other family member, the one who works with him, lives with him and, most importantly, is the person who always watches out for him while DeBoer’s blood relatives are back at their home in New Jersey.
That would be Steve Spott, Sharks assistant coach and Pete DeBoer’s best friend.
from Damien Cox of Sportsnet,
Sometimes it really can’t be much fun being an NHL scoring star.
Here’s what happens: You get to the Stanley Cup Final, the ice is either slushy or bouncy, they don’t call any penalties (which frees up the grinders to foul the skilled without consequences), and you’re usually going up against world-class defenders every shift.
Then, if you don’t score, everyone wants to know what’s wrong.
Not a big game player, huh? Can’t handle the big stage, huh? Not willing to go to the tough areas, huh?
The best of the best, of course, shrug all this off as part of the job, and the smartest accept it as part of the huge dollars they command in salary. What helps is that sometimes, like in this Stanley Cup Final, the star scorers of the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins have all vanished — at least from the scoresheet.
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
-For the first time, the Penguins lost the possession battle. They had a ton of shots (42) but in terms of shot attempts 79-76. That's not a huge difference but considering the Penguins won that battle in Game 1 (67=58) and Game 2 (59-49), it's room for concern.
-The Penguins really had trouble going through the neutral zone. In Games 1 and 2, they seemed to overwhelm the Sharks with their speed. Tonight, the Sharks seemed much more prepared for what the Penguins threw at them.
-Another area the Penguins seemed to have trouble with was their chip plays. Since they have so much speed, they usually just chip the puck up ice behind the defensemen and let guys like left winger Carl Hagelin, right winger Phil Kessel and others just outrace the defense to the puck. Tonight, it seemed like the Sharks did an effective job of just reading those plays and got to those pucks first.
-The ice was really bad tonight. We know the standard response is "Both teams play on it" but one of these teams is clearly faster than the other. That said, the Sharks seemed to do a much better job of adjusting to the conditions.
-From what we were told, today was an exceptionally humid day for San Jose. It's usually hot but dry here. Today, there was a good deal of humidity. And given that SAP Center is one of the older buildings in the NHL, we can't imagine this was ideal conditions for hockey.
-The Penguins blocked nearly as many shots (38) as they took (42). Blocked shots are a sign of bravery and commitment to your team. It's also a sign of not having the puck a bunch.
much more on both teams...
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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