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 on Monday night for a 3-1 series lead.
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.
Two nights after allowing a soft game-tying goal to Joel Ward, 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.
Melker Karlsson scored the lone goal and Martin Jones made 17 saves for San Jose.
The story for the Penguins after their 3-2 overtime loss in Game 3 was how to get Malkin going after a slow start to the series. And how would the rookie Murray respond after giving up the soft goal to Ward and the winner to Joonas Donskoi.
Both passed with flying colors.
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