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Stanley Cup Final

Penguins vs. Sharks: Game 4 Live Blog

Follow the Stanley Cup Final with a blow-by-blow account of the sights and sounds from SAP Center

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final did not have the nail-biting drama of the series' previous three games, but it did set up for plenty of drama for Game 5 on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Follow as Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke chronicled the action on and off the ice from SAP Center.

End of third period: Pittsburgh wins 3-1 in Game 4 and leads the best-of-7 series, 3-1.

The Penguins can win their second Stanley Cup in the past seven years and fourth all-time by winning one of the final three games of the series. Game 5 is Thursday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The Sharks finally found the gear that was missing in the first two periods, but it wasn't enough to come all the way back.

Karlsson Melker scored a goal 8:07 into the period to give the SAP Center crowd hope, but the Sharks could not find the equalizer and then Eric Fehr made it a two-goal lead again with 2:02 remaining.

17:58 into third period: Pittsburgh regains its two-goal lead thanks to a goal from Fehr after San Jose turned the puck over at the attacking blue line. Pittsburgh leads 3-1.

The Sharks were pressing desperately for the tying goal but turned the puck over as they trained to gain the attacking blue line. The puck was turned the other way and Fehr was sprung for one of the Penguins few offensive forays of the period.

13:20 into third period: The Penguins are holding on a bit here and are in a bit more of a defensive shell.

They have generated very little offense this period and have had issues dealing with the desperate cycle being applied by the Sharks.

About 90 seconds ago, Joe Pavelski had an open one-timer, but hit Matt Murray in the chest.

8:07 of third period: The Sharks finally unlocked Matt Murray. Melker Karlsson does it with a falling-down shot as he claimed a loose puck in the slot after doing some work behind the net to get the puck out to the point.

After starting the game on the first line, Karlsson is now playing on the third line with Chris Tierney and Matt Nieto. Karlsson wriggled away from the check of Sidney Crosby to get free for the shot.

The SAP Center crowd is alive now.

6:40 of third period: After a slow start to the period, the Sharks are getting the push they need. But, Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray has been up to the challenge. Huge saves against Patrick Marleau, on a breakaway, and Joe Pavelski, on a one-timer, are among the highlights.

Joonas Donskoi remains on the top line and it has been dangerous throughout the period. For the past several minutes, San Jose's cycle and aggressive pinching from its defensemen have caused fits for the Penguins.

Start of third period: A good omen for the Sharks? Legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana is in the house and he knows a little something about comebacks. Perhaps it can rub of on the home team.

Coach Peter DeBoer continues to look for offense. He started this period with Donskoi, the hero from Game 3, playing with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on the top line.

End of second period: Pittsburgh is in command after 40 minutes.

Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal to make it 2-0 and the smother defense of Pittsburgh limited the Sharks to four shots, despite having two power plays. The Sharks' first shot of the period came 9:18 into the period.

With that said, San Jose forward Nick Spaling did hit a post and Logan Couture was robbed by a shoulder save from Matt Murray after a Pittsburgh turnover.

The Sharks, though, need much more if they want to get back into this game and this series.

10:19 of second period: The second period has gone perfectly for the Penguins.

Not only have they added to their lead with a power-play goal by Malkin, but they have completely stifled the San Jose offense, taking the home crowd out of the game for long stretches.

Joel Ward has the only shot for the Sharks in the second period and it came 9:18 in.

The biggest cheer so far of the second period, in fact, came when Sergio Romo, a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, was interviewed in the stands during a stoppage.

2:47 of second period: Malkin has found his way onto the scoresheet here at the Final, scoring on the power play when he redirected a shot from Phil Kessel into the net. It is Malkin's first goal of the Final but his fifth of the playoffs.

Pittsburgh scored for the first time in eight power-play tries.

Melker Karlsson took the penalty nine seconds before Pittsburgh scored, interfering with Eric Fehr after a faceoff in the Penguins defensive zone.

Start of second period: The Sharks are chasing the lead again, which has been one of the over-arching themes of this series.

The only time the Sharks have led is when Joonas Donskoi scored the overtime winner in Game 3. The good news for San Jose is that its top line has been at its best in the first period. Joe Pavelski (3) and Joe Thornton (1) have half of San Jose's eight shots. 

Nobody on the penguins has more than one shot. Defenseman Kris Letang played 9:29 in the first period.

End of first period: Pittsburgh takes the lead into the dressing room after, thanks to the opportunism of Ian Cole.

San Jose showed some life late in the period and kept the Penguins hemmed in their own end for the majority of the final five minutes of the period. But, the Sharks only managed eight shots and severely tested goalie Matt Murray on only half of those.

The Sharks are already mixing things up a bit as coach Pete DeBoer changed the look of his top-for defensemen in the final five minutes, placing Marc-Eduoard Vlasic with Brent Burns and sliding Paul Martin down to play with Justin Braun.

13:56 of first period: The Penguins have taken over a bit with their goal, which came against the run of play and thanks to the brilliance ofMalkin, who performed a nifty bit of sorcery with the puck to get it toKessel for the initial shot on the goal.

After the goal. Pittsburgh received a power play when Marc-Edouard VlasIc checked Sidney Crosby through the open door of the Sharks' bench when Crosby was nowhere near the puck. The Sharks killed the power play and the penalty-killing unit is now 7-for-7 in the series.

San Jose has four shots so far.

7:36 of first period: Cole pounces on and buries a juicy rebound to give the Penguins the lead for the fourth time in as many games during the Cup final.

Kessel took the initial shot from the right of Martin Jones, but the goalie directed the puck into the left circle with his knee pad. Cole, unmarked, picked up the puck and deposited it for his first of the postseason.

8:20 p.m. PT: Another spectacular pre-game ceremony at SAP Center, featuring a heavy dose of Metallica music and the illumination bracelets that blink in synchronicity and change colors in unison. Amazingly, the crowd for Game 4 is even louder than the Game 3 crowd; so too is the bass driving the whole audio experience.

What is different is that the Metallica influence did not end after Seek and Destroy summoned the Sharks through the shark head and onto the ice. Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich of the band served as the dressing room door openers and Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, with his Flying-V guitar, then launched into an instrumental version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" together to the delight of the crowd.

It was another magical moment at the SAP Center during this first-ever run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Video: SCF, Gm4: Metallica perform National Anthem

4:46 p.m. PT: We have warmups. The Sharks were greeted warmly; the Penguins not so much. No surprise there.

Forward Tomas Hertl is out again; he will miss his second game with a lower-body injury suffered in Game 2. Center Dainius Zubrus is again the replacement. It will be interesting to see what Peter DeBoer does with his lines after finding success with a shortened bench late in Game 3. But, on Monday morning, he said he felt like he survived going to so few forwards and it is not a practice he wants to continue regularly.

No surprises are expected as far as the Pittsburgh lineup for Game 4.

4:05 p.m. PT: We're a little more than an hour away from puck drop on Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports) and the anticipation is off the charts here at SAP Center for what could be the defining game of the series.

If San Jose wins, the best-of-7 series would be even at 2-2 heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 5. If the Sharks lose, the Penguins would have three opportunities to win one game and put paid to the Sharks dream of winning the Stanley Cup in its first trip to the Final in the 25-year history of the organization.

Those stakes are huge, but everyone is likely to be even more fired up after James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett will perform the "Star-Spangled banner" before the game. The Sharks, particularly Hetfield, have been Sharks fans for a long time. It should be quite the spectacle.

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