Kukla's Korner Hockey
By Joe Sudberg,
At this point, Hooper may be best fit to drive the boat for the San Jose Sharks.
Monday night’s Game 4 was a harsh reality check for the Bay Area team, who saw their Stanley Cup hopes thin with a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins now own a commanding 3-1 series lead as the series shifts back to Consol Energy Center for Game 5 Thursday.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
"Most of the postseason we've been able to jump out (to leads)," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said after Monday night's 3-1 Game 4 loss, which gave the Penguins a 3-1 series lead. "We haven't quite got that yet. Moving forward, I think that's going to play a big role in giving ourselves a chance.
"If we can get going that way, it's going to help.''
The Sharks aren't used to this. They've been front-runners all spring, jumping down the throat of the opposing team early and dictating the game from there. It was the theme of San Jose's first-round series win against the rival Los Angeles Kings.
The tables have turned, and the Sharks are playing each and every Cup finals game like they're skating up a hill, chasing all night, getting out of their system at times to force the issue and falling out of rhythm, as San Jose coach Peter DeBoer is forced to shorten the bench to find offense.
It's a tough way to win games. And it grinds away at you mentally.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
"Right now, we're in the hole we're at," Pavelski said after Monday's game. "A goal or two probably changes the outcome. The way it's been going for most of the postseason, I feel like I should probably have a little bit more."
So should the Sharks.
Pavelski's lack of scoring is not the only reason the Sharks find themselves trailing in the series. It's not the only reason why, with another raucous crowd at SAP Center ready to lift them, they wasted an opportunity to even the series.
However, the Pavelski problem is a symbol of the Sharks' bigger problem. They can't score goals. After averaging more than 3.5 goals per game in their three previous playoff series, they have scored just seven goals in the four games against the Penguins.
Even worse, the Sharks can't take a lead to make the Penguins sweat.
The only time that the Sharks have had a lead in the four games was on the winning goal by Joonas Donskoi in overtime last Saturday night, which officially ended Game 3. But does anyone remember the last time that the Sharks had a lead during the run of play?
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.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org