Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters,
There was a big party planned here tonight. The Penguins were going to win the Stanley Cup and unleash a celebration unlike anything this city has ever seen.
The summer was about to start for the NHL.
But the Sharks' stars had other ideas.
San Jose's top players, most of them at least, kept their season going. Their highest-priced players gave them their first in-game lead of the series and their franchise goaltender helped them keep it most of the game.
The Penguins played a pretty strong game for the most part. But this contest came down to a few crucial mistakes and a brickwall of a goaltender named Martin Jones refusing to let his team go down without one more home game.
With rookie goaltender Matt Murray not playing his sharpest of games, the Penguins fell behind early despite ample opportunity to do so, they never truly recovered.
As a result, the Penguins, the Sharks and the NHL will delay summer by a few more days.
Watch the game highlights below...
Hockey Night in Canada kicks off with City and Colour as the Penguins look for a Stanley Cup victory.
Is tonight the end of the NHL season?
If the Penguins wins, the party starts in Pittsburgh, if not, Game 6 will be in San Jose Sunday night.
Tonight's game is on NBC, CBC and TVAS with the puck drop around 8:15pm ET.
Enjoy the game and feel free to comment on it too.
NHL analyst Doug MacLean credits the Penguins D and goaltending, but really thinks the lack of production by the Sharks big guns has made it a fairly easy Final for Pittsburgh to this point.
The Stanley Cup was cradled by Sidney Crosby before 350,000 parade onlookers, dunked in Mario Lemieux's swimming pool, carried on a slippery ride across a baseball outfield by Bryan Trottier.
The one adventure that has never happened to the shiny silver cup in Pittsburgh is being lifted at center ice after a championship-clinching victory.
In fact, of the 11 major sports championships won by Pittsburgh teams since the Pirates claimed the 1960 World Series at Forbes Field -- six Super Bowls, three Stanley Cups, two other World Series -- not one was won on home turf or home ice.
But the Penguins, improbably, can win their fourth Stanley Cup in a quarter-century on Thursday night if they can close out the San Jose Sharks, who trail 3-1 in a finals in which Pittsburgh has never fallen behind in regulation.
from Curtis Pashelka of the Mercury News,
For several members of the Sharks, losing a three-games-to-one lead in a playoff series is not a foreign feeling. But the one positive those players can draw from those painful experiences is the knowledge that momentum in a series can change. Quickly.
Trailing 3-1 in games, the Sharks say they will take that attitude into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
"I think the one thing about our group is there's a lot of belief in our game and in each other," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said Wednesday. "The other thing about our group is they've been on the other side, up 3-0, and saw how quickly that vanished against L.A. (in 2014). We have some guys that vividly remember that. They know how quickly a win can turn the momentum."
Shawn McKenzie and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet looking ahead to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
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.
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