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Stanley Cup Final

Sharks forward Karlsson frustrated by Game 4 loss

Scores only San Jose goal, but Penguins take 2-0 lead in second period while he's in penalty box

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The frustration showed on forward Melker Karlsson's face and in his words minutes after the San Jose Sharks lost 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday.

Karlsson scored at 8:07 of the third period, cutting Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1. The desperate Sharks were outshooting the Penguins 8-3 in the third after the goal.

The sellout crowd of 17,562 at SAP Center came to life when Karlsson beat goalie Matt Murray from the slot, and he expected the Sharks to ride that wave of energy to at least one more goal.

Instead, the Sharks went cold again, and Penguins forward Eric Fehr scored with 2:02 remaining to seal the win.

"Of course it's tough," Karlsson said. "Still, we got one more game. We have a game again. We need to win one more game at Pittsburgh, then we go home again."

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 3-1 and is one victory from the fourth Cup title in its history. Game 5 is at Consol Energy Center on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

For the second straight game, Karlsson opened on the top line in place of the injured Tomas Hertl (lower body), skating with center Joe Thornton and right wing Joe Pavelski. But Sharks coach Peter DeBoer juggled his lines midway through the second period with San Jose trailing 2-0, and Karlsson dropped to the third line.

"We were hunting and didn't spend as much time maybe in their zone as we wanted, and he changed me out," Karlsson said.

Karlsson was on a line with Chris Tierney and Nick Spaling when he scored his fourth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He chased down the puck behind Pittsburgh's net and got it to Brenden Dillon at the point. Dillon sent a shot through traffic that Tierney tipped, and the puck deflected to Karlsson in the slot for a shot that beat Murray to the glove side.

"I think he got tripped up a little bit," Tierney said. "He got right back up and made sure that puck got back to the point. He was working hard and he deserved that goal.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm4: Karlsson beats Murray to cut deficit

"That's kind of how I think we need to score some more goals, especially our bottom lines. We need to get more pucks to the net like that, create traffic and get rebounds and create a lot of havoc down there."

Karlsson said the Sharks need to play the way they did in the third period from the moment the puck drops Thursday.

"More [desperation], going to their net and crash the net, get pucks there," Karlsson said.

Karlsson was frustrated by the loss and by a penalty called against him at 2:28 of the second period for interference on Fehr. Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal nine seconds later, increasing Pittsburgh's lead to 2-0.

Karlsson didn't agree with the penalty.

"Maybe I held him up, but everyone does it," Karlsson said. "Then he fell. I don't know how he fell."

Karlsson had three shots and three hits. He was one of two Sharks, along with Spaling, with a positive rating at plus-1. But he found little solace in that, especially after Pittsburgh scored first for the fourth straight game and forced San Jose to play catch-up again.

"It's been like that the whole series," Karlsson said. "It's a little frustrating."

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