The Latest: Penguins enter Game 5 a win from 4th title
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Latest from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins lead the series 3-1. (All times local):
Pittsburgh is ready for the biggest party in 56 years.
Thousands of fans descended on the streets surrounding Consol Energy Center on Thursday ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins can become the first Pittsburgh team to win a championship at home since Bill Mazeroski's epic ninth-inning home run against the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.
Scalpers were asking $1,500 just to get in the door, though business was slow two hours before game time. With temperatures around 70 degrees and little humidity, many decided against forking over a mortgage payment in exchange for a folding chair, a frosty beverage or two and starting ''Let's Go Pens!'' chants.
The city and team have worked together to put a massive big screen television outside an arena gate, and added a second viewing spot at a downtown shopping square about a mile away.
Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan is hoping Evgeni Malkin's performance in Game 4 can carry over into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against San Jose.
Malkin posted his first points of the series with a goal and assist in a 3-1 victory at San Jose on Monday night. The goal, which put Pittsburgh up 2-0, stood up as the winner.
Sullivan says he's seen Malkin's performance improving both offensively and defensively as the series progresses.
Sidney Crosby has just two assists against San Jose, and is in the midst of a five-game scoring drought.
Defenseman Kris Letang has three assists, all of them setting up eventual winning goals.
San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer has a simple objective when it comes to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Scoring first would be a welcome change, DeBoer told reporters earlier in the day.
That's something the Sharks haven't done yet in a series they trail 3-1.
DeBoer, however, didn't want to paint his team into a corner. Should the Sharks not score first, he said, ''we can't just back the bus up and head home.''
DeBoer at least cleared up one issue regarding his lineup by announcing center Tomas Hertl will miss his third straight game with a lower-body injury.
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins have an opportunity to accomplish something not done since the final months of the Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency: Win a championship at home.
With a 3-1 Stanley Cup Final series lead over San Jose, the Penguins will get that opportunity at the Consol Energy Center on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh hasn't had a chance to celebrate a title on home soil since Oct. 13, 1960. That's when Bill Mazeroski led off the ninth inning with a home run to clinch a 10-9 Game 7 victory over the New York Yankees at Forbes Field.
The Penguins celebrated their previous three championship victories on the road: at Minnesota in 1991, at Chicago in `92 and at Detroit in 2009.
The Pirates clinched their previous two World Series titles at Baltimore, in 1979 and `71, both in Game 7, while the Steelers' six Super Bowl titles have all come at neutral sites.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are one victory away from clinching their fourth Stanley Cup championship.
Pittsburgh returns home for Game 5 on Thursday night holding a 3-1 series lead over the San Jose Sharks.
Forward Phil Kessel leads the Penguins in the playoffs with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists). Rookie goalie Matt Murray has allowed just seven goals in four games against the Sharks.
The Penguins are seeking to win their second title since 2009. The Sharks are attempting to avoid elimination in making the franchise's first Cup Final appearance.
The Sharks have yet to hold a lead this series. They rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Pittsburgh 3-2 in overtime in Game 3.
A Sharks victory would force Game 6 at San Jose on Sunday.