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Sharks vs. Penguins: Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Key Moment

Pittsburgh Penguins star center Evgeni Malkin busted his goal scoring slump with a crucial second period power play goal that helped the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Malkin took a pass from teammate Phil Kessel on the far goalpost and deflected the puck past San Jose goaltender Martin Jones to put Pittsburgh up 2-0 at the 2:37 mark of the second period. The goal stood as the game-winner. It came after an interference penalty by San Jose forward Melker Karlsson and broke a 0-for-7 power play slump by the Penguins in this series.

Pittsburgh leads the series 3-1 and has a chance to win the Cup on Thursday at home. 

It was a highly skilled play by Malkin. First he put his legs together quickly and got his stick in position to make the deflection.

Malkin had come under some criticism recently for his inability to score goals and pick up points this series. He hadn’t notched a point in the Cup Final and hadn’t scored a goal since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"I don’t score much, but I want to help my team in different ways, like playing well in the D-zone. It’s not easy. I try to score,” Malkin said before Game 4.

Added Malkin, “I feel great. We’re playing against good defensemen. They play so close, so tight. Tough to shoot sometimes.”

Malkin played 14:23 and fired two shots on goal and added an assist.

That helper came on Ian Cole’s goal that opened the scoring. A pass from Malkin to Kessel helped Kessel gain the offensive zone with his speed. Kessel then unleashed a shot on Jones and Cole put in the rebound.

The Penguins have already received contributions from unsung players like Ben Lovejoy, Ian Cole, Eric Fehr, Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust this series. If Malkin can continue this hot play, the Penguins could hoist the Stanley Cup on Thursday at Consol Energy Center. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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