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December 7, 2021

Pittsburgh One Win Away From Stanley Cup

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Bounce-back performances from two key players moved the Pittsburgh Penguins to the brink of winning the Stanley Cup.

Evgeni Malkin scored his first goal of the series and Matt Murray made 23 saves after a shaky Game 3 to lead the Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Monday night for a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Malkin woke up after being held pointless in the first three games of the series by setting up Ian Cole’s goal to open the scoring. He added one of his own on the power play to give Murray all the support needed.

Eric Fehr sealed it with a late goal after San Jose made a strong push in the third.

Murray was steady throughout to put the Penguins one win from skating off with their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. They can do it at home in Game 5 on Thursday night.

The Sharks were unable to build on their first win in the final, allowing the first goal for the fourth straight game and going more than nine minutes without a shot on goal during one stretch of the second period. San Jose will need to win in Pittsburgh to give its loyal fans who waited 25 years to watch the Stanley Cup Final in the Bay Area another home game.

Murray wasn’t tested often early and went nearly the first half of the second period without facing a single shot.  He then stopped Patrick Marleau on a breakaway and saved a one-timer by Joe Pavelski early in the third before allowing his first goal.

Murray didn’t flinch and came up big again against Pavelski to preserve the lead, keeping the NHL’s leading goal scorer this postseason without a point in the final.

The Penguins have not played from behind for a span of 435:56 since a Game 4 loss to Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference final. Pittsburgh’s only two losses since came in overtime games they didn’t trail until the final goal.

 

 

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