Evgeni Malkin scores as Pittsburgh close in on Stanley Cup
By Ben Reynolds
Last Updated: 07/06/16 11:14am
Evgeni Malkin scored his first goal of the series as the Pittsburgh Penguins moved to within one victory of the Stanley Cup title with a 3-1 win at San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Goaltender Matt Murray made 23 saves at SAP Center in California as the Penguins moved 3-1 up in the best-of-seven series - they can seal their fourth title when they host Game Five on Thursday.
Malkin, who had been held pointless through the first three games, set up Ian Cole's goal to open the scoring before adding a goal of his own on the power play to put the visitors 2-0 ahead.
Melker Karlsson pulled a goal back for the Sharks but as they pushed for an equaliser, they were caught on the counter later in the third period as Eric Fehr sealed the victory for Pittsburgh.
The Sharks have been chasing the whole series, having conceded first for the fourth straight game and they went more than nine minutes without a shot on goal in the second period as the Penguins continued to shut them down.
No team has come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the final since Toronto in 1942 against Detroit.
The opening game off a bad change from the Sharks as Malkin sent Phil Kessel in on a rush. Sharks goalie Martin Jones stopped Kessel's shot, but Cole knocked in the rebound for his first career playoff goal.
Malkin then got his goal when he tapped in a perfect pass from Kessel for Pittsburgh's first power-play goal of the series.
The Sharks pushed back late in the second and Murray was forced into a smart save to deny Logan Couture after he was left all alone in the slot following a turnover by Kris Letang.
Murray then stopped Patrick Marleau on a breakaway and saved a one-timer by Joe Pavelski early in the third before allowing his first goal as Karlsson beat him on a rebound of Brenden Dillon's point shot with 11:53 to play.
But he didn't flinch and again denied Pavelski, keeping the NHL's leading goal scorer this post-season without a point in the final.
Fehr then provided the insurance when he beat Jones on an odd-man rush with 2:02 to play.