The Pittsburgh Penguins will win their fourth Stanley Cup – two with Mario Lemieux, two with Sidney Crosby – if they beat the San Jose Sharks this Thursday (8 PM ET, CBC and NBC). Pittsburgh took a 3-1 lead in the Cup Final with a 3-1 victory in San Jose on Monday, cashing in as a +105 underdog.
San Jose’s job got a little more difficult with the announcement that centre Tomas Hertl (six goals in 20 playoff games) would miss the rest of the Final with a knee injury. Hertl was knocked out of Game 2 and didn’t suit up for Game 3, leaving the Sharks without one of their top two-way players.
When the playoffs began, Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray wasn’t available on the Conn Smythe futures market, but he enhanced his MVP resume Monday night by stopping 23 of San Jose’s 24 shots. The 22-year-old rookie raised his playoff save percentage to .930 in the process. Murray’s play has drawn comparisons to Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens great, who won the Conn Smythe in 1971 and the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie in 1972.