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Morgan Hill
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August 15, 2022

Stanley Cup Final: Sharks fall into 3-1 hole

SAN JOSE – San Jose finds itself trailing 3-1 in games after dropping a 3-1 decision to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins Monday at sold-out SAP Center.
Pittsburgh will be one night away from hoisting the Stanley Cup unless the Sharks can, at least for Thursday’s showdown, keep the Cup in a locked box and force Pittsburgh to come back to San Jose for a Sunday night game. A seventh game, if needed, would be played in Pittsburgh on June 15.
San Jose’s typical combination of a balanced defense with workmanlike assaults through the opposition’s defense, evident throughout the club’s 14-9 post-season performance, were absent for much of the first two periods. In the third period, the hosts produced a 12-7 edge in shots on net and briefly cut the Pittsburgh advantage to one goal.
“I thought the guys played hard,” said San Jose coach Peter DeBoer. “I thought, especially in the third, but even parts of the second, even early in the first, we had some good looks. Probably some of the most quality scoring chances were created.”
After the Penguins scored goals in each of the first two periods, San Jose regrouped to throw several quality scoring chances at Pittsburgh goaltender Matthew Murray.
Shark Patrick Marleau slipped past the Penguin defense with 15:10 left in the third period before the winger’s wrist shot from between the two circles lined into Murray’s glove for the save.
Less than 90 seconds later, Joe Pavelski took a feed from the endboards and was able to drill a shot that Murray absorbed at the edge of the crease.
Melker Karlsson gave the Sharks some life with 8:07 left in regulation with his fourth goal of the post-season. Brenden Dillon earned his first career post-season point with his assist. Dillon’s low shot from the left post was deflected aside. Chris Tierney was able to push the puck away from the players near the crease. Karlsson collected the puck and, while dropping to one knee, fired the puck across the crease past Murray to make it 2-1.
San Jose continued to challenge for a second goal in the next six minutes before Pittsburgh took advantage of a 2-on-1 rush to come up with a 3-1 lead. Carl Hagelin carried the puck into the Sharks zone before setting up Eric Fehr’s low shot from the slot that settled inside the left post with 2:02 left in the game.
The Sharks finished with a 24-20 edge in shots on net. San Jose posted a 46-31 edge in hits. Both teams recorded 20 blocked shots.
“There’s no quit in this group,” DeBoer emphasized about the Sharks’ determination to put together the series-continuing showing on Thursday.
“We’ve been the best road team in the league. We’re going to show up and try to get this back here for Game 6.
“We have to find a way to get on the board earlier in the game instead of chasing it all night.” 
Pittsburgh finished with six shots on net in the first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead 7:36 into play. Phil Kessel’s hard shot from the right flank carried toward the left circle where Ian Cole lined a shot past goaltender Martin Jones. Cole’s first career playoff goal came in his 29th game.
“We had a breakdown on the first goal,” said Logan Couture. “One on four and they score of goal.”
“We’ve been good on the road all year, so we’re confident,” he added.
Both teams had one power play in the first period, but neither could score. The second period also produced one power play apiece. Pittsburgh was able to turn the extra-skater time into a 2-0 lead after only nine seconds. Karlsson was whistled for interference at 2:28, and at 2:37 Evgeni Malkin was at the right post to tap in Kessel’s shot from the top of the left circle.
“We haven’t played our best game yet,” said defenseman Paul Martin. “I think that’s encouraging that we haven’t played some of our best hockey. Give them credit, they’ve played well but I think we haven’t played at our best. Everyone has another level we can rely on.”

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