San Jose finds themselves on the brink of elimination following their 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 4 Monday night.
The San Jose Sharks hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, looking to even this series up at two games apiece before shifting back to the Steel City for Game 5 on Thursday night.
From the national anthem by James Hetfield of Metallica, the energy in the building was at an all-time high as the Shark Tank was fully behind team teal in hoping for another thrilling victory.
Unfortunately, it was not to be as the Penguins once again struck first before Evgeni Malkin doubled their lead with their first power play goal of this series.
The end result was a 3-1 victory for Pittsburgh who can close out San Jose on their home ice. Let’s take a look back at three takeaways from a disappointing Game 4 from a teal perspective:
1. Sharks Still Can’t Find The Lead
For the fourth-straight game, San Jose surrendered the first goal of the game, this time off the stick of Ian Cole at the 7:36 mark of the opening frame.
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The Sharks actually started this game well, but a simple break down of defensive zone coverage gave the Penguins the early advantage. Phil Kessel took a simple looking wrist shot with four defenders in teal back that Martin Jones deflected aside but right to Cole who was left all alone before one-timing home his first of these playoffs.
It was a deflating goal for San Jose and their fans as the Sharks were playing from behind all night yet again as the Penguins wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
2. Matt Murray Stands Strong
After some shaky moments in Game 3, Murray bounced back with perhaps his best performance of these Finals for Pittsburgh last night. Murray came up with some big saves to preserve the lead for the Penguins, including five stops alone on Joe Pavelski who had a multitude of in close shots that couldn’t beat the Pittsburgh youngster.
Murray has benefitted from having the lead throughout this entire series, but he was very good tonight as the San Jose outshot Pittsburgh for the first time in this Cup Final. Murray finished with 23 stops on the night as he improved his record to 5-0 in these playoffs following a loss.
3. Too Little, Too Late For Team Teal
The Sharks came with a big push in third period, which was to be expected as they found themselves trailing by two goals. San Jose generated some high-quality opportunities including a mini break for Patrick Marleau nearly five minutes in that Murray was able to stop.
While Melker Karlsson was able to cut the deficit in half at the 8:07 mark, team teal couldn’t find a way to find the equalizer despite continued pressure.
The problem for the Sharks was they waited until the final frame, trailing by two to show their desperation. Following Malkin’s goal in the second, San Jose appeared stunned as the life was sucked out of SAP Center. The home team would only muster four shots on goal as Pittsburgh seized control of the action.
While they fought to the bitter end, the Sharks desperation and intensity must be there for the entire 60 minutes against this Penguins team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and that’s why San Jose now finds themselves in a 3-1 series hole.