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Stanley Cup Final

Thornton, Murray featured in 'ALL ACCESS' Episode 3

Showtime series gives viewers inside look at teams competing in Stanley Cup Final

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Thornton, Marleau reach Cup Final

Thornton, Marleau lead Sharks to first Cup Final

Longest tenured Sharks Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau lead San Jose to the franchises first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance

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Showtime Sports on Friday aired the third episode of "ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup," which chronicles the Eastern and Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final. It's the first show to nationally televise the championship of one of the four major North American sports as it unfolds, and is narrated by 2016 Tony Award nominee Bill Camp.

It's taken San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton 18 seasons to get to the Cup Final, and losing now isn't an option.

"We won the West, but great. There's a big trophy we still need to get," Thornton says when asked about it numerous times at Stanley Cup Media Day in one of the more memorable scenes in the episode.

There are more than 700 media members from 12 different countries on hand, and it's a big event. Thornton has many interviews to get through, but that statement and scene show how focused he is on the task at hand.

The episode begins in the Pittsburgh Penguins' locker room after they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 win in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final.

"We played our [butts] off," coach Mike Sullivan tells his team. "You're a [heck] of a hockey team and it takes everybody and that's what I love about this group. But I am going to tell you right now, we're not finished. We're not finished. That is just one step. We've got to gear up for something more important."

The Penguins have a handful of players who have been to the Cup Final before with Pittsburgh -- in 2008 when they lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games, and in 2009 when they defeated the Red Wings in seven games. The Sharks have one player, 37-year-old forward Dainius Zubrus, who has played in a Cup Final. This is San Jose's first trip to the Cup Final in the franchise's 25-year history.

Video: Crosby, Sullivan reflect on Cup Final appearance

The life of Matt Murray

Matt Murray, the Penguins' 22-year-old rookie goalie, played in 13 games and had nine wins during the regular season. Leading up to the Cup Final, he's played in 15 games and won 11 of them. Murray has been living in an apartment for the past few months. He had previously been in a hotel when he was first called up by the Penguins. When he's not on the ice, he's enjoying life in Pittsburgh, getting noticed and appreciated by many.

"You go for dinner and somebody will recognize you," Murray says. "Yesterday the chef sent me a free appetizer when he saw me walking into the restaurant, so stuff like that is kind of nice and is a nice perk."

However, he's not getting all the perks of a veteran yet.

"I don't have enough rank to park inside the parking structure yet, so I have to park outside here," he says when arriving to practice.

Sullivan excited for opportunity

Sullivan did not participate in the Cup Final last season, but did win a ring as a development coach for the champion Chicago Blackhawks. He was hired by the Penguins last summer to coach their American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguin, and was promoted in December after Mike Johnston was fired. He knows this opportunity may never come again.

"I've been associated with this League for 26 years," he says. "This is the first time I've been in the Stanley Cup Finals. It just goes to show you how hard it is to get there. ... I certainly don't take one day for granted, I tell you that."

Stanley Cup Final Game 1

The Penguins have been in the Cup Final four times in their history, winning three. They come out and dominate the first period, taking a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes, highlighted by Sidney Crosby winning a race for a loose puck, spinning back and feeding a cross-ice pass to rookie Conor Sheary for a nifty goal.

The Sharks have the better of play in the second period, scoring on a power play to get in the board. Patrick Marleau, selected with the No. 1 pick by the Sharks in the 1997 NHL Draft, has waited 18 seasons to get here. He scores late in the period to make it 2-2.

Nick Bonino scores with 2:33 left in the third and the Penguins hold of a furious Sharks surge in the final minute for the win.

"I think that everyone felt it out there tonight that it was another level," Crosby says. "For us, being able to start here at home and getting that start we did it was good to get that energy and get rid of some of those nerves."

On the other side, Sharks coach Peter DeBoer takes positives from the loss.

"There's nothing that I saw tonight that I'm going out of here thinking that we can't come out and play much better on our end," he says. "This isn't going to be easy. You don't get to this point and have any easy nights."

Family time for Cullen, Sullivan

Cullen, 39, an 18-year veteran who won the Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, goes to practice but doesn't have to say goodbye to his children. His three boys take classes at the Penguins facility.

"They're at the age where they'll remember it and I think they appreciate it a little bit," Cullen says.

George Sullivan, Mike's father, watches his son conduct practice at the team's training facility.

"It's a real thrill for me to see what he's done," the elder Sullivan says. "He's worked hard at it since he was this high. It's finally paying off for him. ... The position he is in now is just amazing. It seems like it is just meant to be."

Coach Sullivan has seen his team come a long way from where it was when he took in December.

"I told these guys when I first took the team over that we have some great players and our challenge is to find a way to become a great team," he says. "I've watched this team over the last five months evolve into a great team."

Video: Exclusive access to Conor Sheary's game-winning goal

Game 2 decided in overtime

There are different moods in each locker room, and not because of the series. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin is a new father; his fiancée gave birth to a baby prior to Game 2. San Jose's room is more somber; defenseman Justin Braun's father-in-law Tom Lysiak, a former NHL player, passed away on Monday.

Playing with a heavy heart, Braun scores late in the third to tie the game 1-1 and send it to overtime.

"We'll play all night if we have to," Penguins defenseman Ian Cole says after the third period of Game 2 ends tied 1-1. "We'll play 'til two in the morning. I've got nothing to do tonight."

Sheary scores for the Penguins early into the overtime, leaving them two wins shy of the Cup.

The episode ends with the Sharks going to their bus, to head home and hopefully have better results in Games 3 and 4 at SAP Center in San Jose. The Sharks know the history. They know that only five of the 49 teams to trail 2-0 in the Cup Final have gone on to win the series; they will try to become No. 6.

The episode will also be available across multiple television and streaming providers' devices, websites, applications, Facebook pages, and free On Demand channels.

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