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Stanley Cup Final

Penguins keeping game plan the same

Pittsburgh one win from Stanley Cup, visit San Jose in Game 6 on Sunday

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins saw a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup slip away Thursday.

Pittsburgh played how it wanted to against the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center. It had a 46-22 shot advantage, pinned San Jose deep in its own end for lengthy stretches and had shots hit the post several times.

Despite the effort, the Penguins lost 4-2 and lead the best-of-7 series 3-2. If a similar performance is put forth in Game 6 at SAP Center on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), Pittsburgh is confident it will hoist the Stanley Cup in San Jose.

"I just think moving forward, we have to continue to stay in the right frame of mind," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said before flying back to San Jose on Friday. "This team has had success all year long, and most specifically through this postseason, because of their focus and their attention to detail and trying to play to our identity. And I think when our team plays our game, I think that gives our team the best chance to win."

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm5: Sharks, Pens erupt for four early goals

After a rough start to Game 5, Pittsburgh settled into that identity rather quickly.

Rookie goalie Matt Murray allowed two goals in the first 2:53 before Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin countered with two goals 22 seconds apart, tying the game 2-2 at 5:06 into the first period. Pittsburgh controlled the remainder of the first and had a few high-quality chances to take a lead, most notably when forwards Chris Kunitz and Phil Kessel each hit posts during a power play midway through the period.

Instead, Murray allowed a third goal on his fifth shot faced, by Sharks forward Melker Karlsson, with 5:13 remaining in the first.

Pittsburgh outshot San Jose 31-15 through the final two periods, but couldn't solve goalie Martin Jones, who made 44 saves in his most impressive effort in an already solid series.

"I think we did a really good job on handling the emotions and, like I continue to say, we played a heck of a game tonight," Murray said Thursday. "If we play like that, we're going to be in good shape."

Sullivan echoed that confidence Friday.

Video: Sid and Sullivan try to close it out in Game 5

"I think it wasn't like they stormed us by any stretch," Sullivan said. "For long stretches of the game, I really liked our team. I really liked our performance. I thought at the beginning of the game, they were opportunistic on us on the opportunities that they got a few minutes into the game. But I thought our team responded the right way and we scored two quick goals to get right back into the hockey game, so we settled into it fairly quickly.

"So, I don't think it was the case where we got caught off guard. We knew exactly what to expect going into it. Obviously, from our goal-scoring standpoint, it wasn't what we hoped for at the start of the game, but certainly, I loved the way our guys responded to get right back into the hockey game."

Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said if the Penguins play the way they did Thursday, they would win more often than not.

"You want to close it out, but like any playoff game, you have to turn the page," Crosby said Thursday. "We did a lot of good things. That's the bottom line. We didn't sit back. The first five minutes, we didn't push the pace like we would have liked, but after that, we generated a lot of chances.

"I think you generate that many good quality scoring chances, our power play was working the puck around pretty good, I think if we do all those things, come with the same mindset, understand the situation and go after it right from the start [we'll be successful]. You get your mind and body ready for another physical and important game."

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