Sullivan: Kessel’s made a ‘complete commitment’ to Penguins

Phil Kessel's record suggests that regardless of the situation, he's a productive NHL scorer. For what he's done and what he's continued to provide the Pittsburgh Penguins this spring, however, that sort of thinking is suddenly doing the sniper a disservice.

Kessel recorded a pair of primary assists in Monday's Game 4 win over the San Jose Sharks, a triumph that pushed the Penguins to within a victory of capturing the Stanley Cup. Individually, he strengthened his improbable crusade toward the Conn Smythe Trophy.

For his Game 4 performance, and really his complete portfolio this spring, head coach Mike Sullivan heaped praise unto the formerly maligned winger unlike anything we've heard before.

"Phil has made a complete commitment to this team," Sullivan said. "We don't get to where we're at if Phil doesn't play the type of hockey that he's played here throughout the course of this playoffs. He has been one terrific player for us.

"He scores big goals. His offense speaks for itself. He's dangerous on the power play. He's dangerous off the rush. But I think was his teammates admire and respect, what his coaching staff certainly does, is his commitment away from the puck and to play at both ends of the rink.

"He's a complete player right now. When he players that way, he's one of the more elite players in the league, in our opinion."

Pittsburgh's scoring leader has contributed 10 goals and 21 points in its 22 games - more than three times his postseason appearances in six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Penguins’ Murray: ‘It’s been an absolute blast’

We don't know much about Matt Murray, the 22-year-old netminder who, after only recently entering the public consciousness, has the Pittsburgh Penguins within one win of the Stanley Cup.

But we do know he's enjoying the moment.

"My mindset has been this whole time to stay in the moment, take things as they come, focus on being in the present, and taking things one shot at a time," Murray said after making 23 saves in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4.

"I'm just trying to have fun through all this. It's been an absolute blast so far."

To say his strategy is working, of course, is a colossal understatement. Murray has lost once in his last six starts, and authored a .931 save percentage since reclaiming the starter's role from Marc-Andre Fleury in time to stave off elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The veteran of 13 regular-season starts now has 14 wins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, placing him third all time among Penguins goalies.

He has a chance to match an NHL rookie record with a win that would also clinch the franchise its fourth Stanley Cup.

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Sharks’ DeBoer: ‘There’s no quit in this group’

It's not over yet.

That's the message espoused by San Jose Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer following a Game 4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that left his team sitting in a 3-1 series hole.

"There's no quit in our group," he told reporters. "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. Until you win four, this isn't over."

The key, he added, will be bucking the series-long trend of allowing the Penguins to open the scoring.

"We've been chasing the game the whole series by not scoring first. That takes you out of your four-line rhythm. It affects all parts of your game," he said.

"That's the biggest thing we have to fix. We have to find a way to get on the board earlier in the game instead of chasing it all night."

Apart from Joonas Donskoi's overtime winner in Game 3, the Sharks haven't led a game at any point in the series.

At any rate, it's going to be tough to come back.

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Sharks deny Hertl’s out for remainder of Stanley Cup Final

Don't count Tomas Hertl out of the Stanley Cup Final just yet.

Following a Game 4 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks head coach Pete DeBoer said the forward remains day to day with a lower body injury.

The question was raised in light of a report out of the Czech Republic earlier Monday suggesting Hertl's season is over as a result of the injury.

Hertl, who's missed the past two games, recorded six goals, five assists, and 50 shots on net in 20 playoff contests.

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Watch: Mario Lemieux celebrates as Penguins seal Game 4 win

Even with his playing days well behind him, Mario Lemieux still has a passion for the game.

Case in point: The Pittsburgh Penguins owner jumped to his feet in celebration after Eric Fehr scored a late third-period goal to ensure the Game 4 win.

Lemieux's club is one win away from a Stanley Cup, meaning he's probably feeling pretty good about not selling the team when it was reportedly up for grabs earlier this season.

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Penguins hold on in Game 4, within win of capturing Stanley Cup

Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin collected two points each, and Matt Murray made 23 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Now up 3-1 in the series, the Penguins, whose three previous titles were clinched on visiting ice, now have an opportunity to claim its first Stanley Cup in seven seasons Thursday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

Ian Cole set the table for the road split, smacking a rebound past Martin Jones off a Kessel shot early in the first. He became the 17th different goal scorer for the Penguins this postseason, and the club's eighth U.S.-born scorer to match an NHL record.

Kessel then directly set up Pittsburgh's second goal, spotting Malkin at the side of the net with a precise feed for a tap-in goal.

Melker Karlsson brought the Sharks to within one eight minutes into the third period, but Eric Fehr iced the game with 122 seconds left in regulation, scoring on a partial break, off a feed from Carl Hagelin.

Jones made just 17 saves in the contest, as the Sharks outshot the Penguins for the first time in the series.

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Joe Montana attends Sharks-Penguins game

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana became the latest Bay Area sporting legend to throw his support behind the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final.

Montana joins former 49ers teammate Ronnie Lott and recently retired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch as the latest NFL player to root for the Sharks, in their endeavor to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

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Watch: Hornqvist uses temple to block shot

Insert platitude here.

Patric Hornqvist showed us what the playoffs are all about, and also what he's willing to do to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup, blocking a shot with the side of his head in the waning moments of the second period of Game 4.

Seriously, though, let's hope he's not just able to return, but genuinely able to shake off the blow.

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Watch: Malkin ends playoff scoring drought

Evgeni Malkin is back on the board.

Held without a goal over his past six playoff games, the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar center finally converted, scoring on the power play in the second period of Game 4.

The goal was set up by Phil Kessel - his second assist of the night - who deftly passed the puck to Malkin while Martin Jones and the San Jose Sharks were anticipating a shot.

Malkin scored his fifth of the playoffs on the play, but only his second in 16 games.

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