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Stanley Cup Final: Here’s what you need to know

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel, left, tries to skate away from San Jose Sharks players in the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Pittsburgh. The Sharks won 3-1.
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel, left, tries to skate away from San Jose Sharks players in the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Pittsburgh. The Sharks won 3-1. The Associated Press

The title character from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” had one piece of advice for the viewers: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

The same could be said about the players in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.

The San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins are built around speed and have used that pace to get themselves within four victories of the NHL title trophy.

The Sharks are playing in the first Stanley Cup Final in their 24-season existence. They beat the St. Louis Blues in six games to advance.

The Penguins, who have been in the NHL twice as long as San Jose, are seeking their fourth championship (1990-91, 1991-92, 2008-09). Pittsburgh needed seven games to dispatch the Tampa Bay Lightning.

THREE STARS

Here’s a look at three key players for each team:

Sharks

Joe Pavelski, center – Pavelski leads the Sharks with 13 goals in the playoffs and his 22 points rank second among NHL players. He was second on the team in points (78) during the regular season and scored a team-high 38 goals.

Brent Burns, defenseman – The 11-year veteran was second among NHL defensemen with 75 points this season (27 goals, 48 assists). He leads all defensemen in the postseason with 20 points, scoring six goals.

Logan Couture, center – Couture leads the NHL in points this postseason with 24 and assists with 16. He’s scored a point in all but four of San Jose’s playoff games.

Penguins

Phil Kessel, forward – Kessel plays on Pittsburgh’s second line, but his point scoring has been second to none for the Penguins. He leads the team this postseason with 18 points (team-leading nine goals, nine assists).

Matt Murray, goaltender – The rookie, who made just 13 starts in the regular season, has been the team’s No. 1 goalie in all but three of the Penguins’ playoff games. Murray has posted a 2.22 goals against average and is 11-4 this postseason.

Sidney Crosby, center – Pittsburgh’s captain scored a team-high 85 points in the regular season (36 goals, 49 assists). His 15 points in the playoffs ties him for second on the Penguins with teammates Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino.

SCHEDULE

All games at 5 p.m. Pacific

Monday, May 30: at Pittsburgh, NBC

Wednesday, June 1: at Pittsburgh, NBCSN

Saturday, June 4: at San Jose, NBC or NBCSN

Monday, June 6: at San Jose, NBC or NBCSN

x-Thursday, June 9: at Pittsburgh, NBC

x-Sunday, June 12: at San Jose, NBC

x-Wednesday, June 15: at Pittsburgh, NBC

x-If necessary

SEASON MEETINGS

Nov. 21

Sharks 3, Penguins 1 in Pittsburgh – Brent Burns scored twice and Patrick Marleau got his 1,000th career point to lift San Jose over Pittsburgh for its fifth consecutive win.

Marleau, 36, became the 83rd NHL player to reach 1,000 points with an assist on Burns’ first goal 7:54 into the game. Marleau, in his 18th NHL season, is the 16th to accomplish the feat with one team.

The Sharks won the first five of a season-high six-game trip. San Jose won its sixth in a row on the road for the first time since a nine-game run during the 2009-10 season.

Dec. 1

Penguins 5, Sharks 1 in San Jose – Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists, and Phil Kessel scored twice to help Pittsburgh get its first win in San Jose in more than 18 years.

The Penguins had lost 10 in a row at SAP Center. Pittsburgh had gone winless in 12 games at the Shark Tank since beating San Jose 5-2 on Oct. 22, 1997, garnering only one tie during the skid.

Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks.

SOCIAL MEDIA WEIGHS IN

The Associated Press and the Bee Sports staff contributed to this report. Compiled by Noel Harris.

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