Penguins Take One at the Tank, Could Meet Lord Stanley in the 'Burgh

Published on 7-Jun-2016 by Chips 10

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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Penguins Take One at the Tank, Could Meet Lord Stanley in the 'Burgh

They say that  a seven-game series doesn't start until a home game is lost.

If that's true, then the Stanley Cup Finals are now underway.

And it could be a limited run.

Pittsburgh rode Matt Murray's steady goaltending, Sidney Crosby's heady playmaking, and Geno Malkin's re-awakening to post a 3-1 triumph in Game 4 at San José:

Pittsburgh had been dominating in shots until this game, but the Sharks' 24-20 advantage just wasn't enough. Those, of course, were just the launches that got through; the Penguins blocked 20 more, making Murray's job less taxing.

To be fair, San José blocked just as many, but the Pens' attack was based more on finding space than smashing through it.

And it's not as if Murray wasn't aware that San José would keep hammering away at his glove side, mostly to no avail:

Homeboys Metallica got San José fans going loud and proud, and that energy carried on to the Sharks leading in another stat that was vital to them: 46-31 in hits.

But the Penguins continued to keep a lid on Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. Full marks to their defense. To say it was oft-maligned all season is an understatement, but they're the unsung heroes here.

Speaking of unsung, Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford is one game away from having the last laugh. However, as he discovered at Carolina in 2006, that last win is as tough as it gets.

And if it comes at home in Game 5 or Game 7, Rutherford and handpicked coach Mike Sullivan will have engineered a first in the Steel City: winning the Cup at home.