Penguins on verge of winning the Stanley Cup, plus updates on Datsyuk & Doan in this morning’s NHL headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 4 of the best-of-seven series. The victory gives the Penguins a 3-1 series lead and the opportunity to win the Cup at home as the series returns to Pittsburgh for Game 5.
THE MERCURY NEWS: A big reason the Sharks find themselves in this situation is the inability of leading scorers Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Joe Thornton to find the back of the net. All have yet to score a goal in this series. The Sharks also learned left wing Tomas Hertl has a knee injury and will miss the remainder of this series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not as though the Sharks big guns aren’t working hard or getting chances, but they’ve been stifled by the speed and depth of the Penguins defense and by the steady goaltending of Matt Murray. They’ve stifled the Sharks offense, taking away rebound opportunities and holding their vaunted power play to just one goal in this series. The Sharks haven’t held a lead in regulation in this series.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Center Pavel Datsyuk is expected to meet early next week with Red Wings GM Ken Holland regarding his future plans. It’s expected Datsyuk will return to Russia for family reasons to finish his playing career. Holland also said he’s made a contract offer to pending UFA forward Darren Helm and has had talks with Drew Miller.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Coyotes and captain Shane Doan are working toward a one-year contract. Doan will turn 40 on Oct. 10.
NBC SPORTS: Well-traveled forward Jiri Sekac (playing last season for the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks) signed with KHL club AK Bars Kazan. Toronto Maple Leafs minor league defenseman T.J. Brennan (this season’s AHL defenseman of the year) received a lucrative offer from a KHL club.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning assistant coach Steve Thomas won’t be returning with the club next season.
SPORTSNET: Don Cherry will return for another year on Coach’s Corner.