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Eric Fehr of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates after scoring against the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nine different players have scored for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup final, and Sidney Crosby doesn't even crack the list.

The fact that the Penguins have raced out to a 3-1 series lead over the San Jose Sharks without a single goal from their superstar captain is a testament to their depth. Contributions from every part of the lineup have Pittsburgh on the verge of winning their fourth Stanley Cup and first since 2009.

"It's been key," said winger Bryan Rust, "because there's been nights where it was pretty much pick a name out of a hat and that guy's gonna step up and he's going to have a big game."

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Fourteen players have scored at least two goals for the club during the playoffs. Ten players have scored at least four, including rookies Rust (six goals) and Conor Sheary, who's scored twice in the final.

Though Crosby has been a force at times in the playoffs, it's been Phil Kessel leading the charge offensively. The 28-year-old set up a pair of goals in Game 4 and leads the Penguins with 10 goals and 21 points this spring.

"Obviously you don't get many chances like this so you need to try to be at your best," he said after practice Wednesday.

His speedy line, which includes Carl Hagelin (15 playoff points) and Nick Bonino (17 points), has turned Pittsburgh into a dangerous three-pronged attack. Contain Crosby's unit somehow and there's Evgeni Malkin's line to contend with. Contain that group and Kessel is looming as a threat.

The dynamic has created matchup issues for opponents all spring. The Penguins fourth line has also contributed, including Eric Fehr's third goal in Monday's 3-1 win.

"We've shown that all four of our lines can score and be dangerous," defenceman Brian Dumoulin said. "It's tough to match up with."

The Sharks have employed their top pairing of Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun to neutralize Crosby, effective to some degree with home-ice advantage in San Jose. But that leaves either Kessel or Malkin to roam free against the Sharks third pairing of Roman Polak and Brenden Dillon.

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The Sharks opted to use that duo against Malkin, who had a goal and assist in Game 4.

Pittsburgh defencemen have also chipped in with goals from Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole, the latter scoring his first of the postseason Monday night. But it's Pittsburgh's defensive play without top-four defender Trevor Daley that's been most indicative of their depth on the blueline.

Pittsburgh's unheralded and mostly inexperienced defence has managed to keep the Sharks in check, holding them to 24.5 shots on average through the first four games while insulating rookie goaltender Matt Murray.

Sharks centre Logan Couture lauded the unit's speed and effective stickwork earlier in the series.

Much of the advantage has come from Pittsburgh's speedy attack, both in terms of their foot speed and how quickly they move the puck. Much of the series has been spent in the Sharks' zone, and the Penguins have the puck possession advantage so far.

"I could talk all day about what we've done," Murray said, noting the shot-blocking efforts of teammates. The Penguins blocked 38 shots in Game 3.

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Top Sharks weapons Joe Pavelski (zero points this series) and Joe Thornton have been mostly neutralized, while Brent Burns, he of 27 goals and 75 points during the regular season, has only a pair of Game 1 assists.

The Penguins have been able to lean on those such as Lovejoy, Cole and even Edmonton Oilers castoff Justin Schultz, while Dumoulin has been reliable alongside Kris Letang in slowing Pavelski and Thornton on Pittsburgh's top pair.

"Obviously when we lost Trevor Daley that's a big loss and it's kind of been everybody's been stepping up," Rust said.

Dealt to Pittsburgh in the Jordan Staal blockbuster, Dumoulin has emerged as a valuable part for the Penguins. He played more than 21 minutes in Game 4, including about 12 minutes against the Sharks top unit, and still finished with close to a 60-per-cent puck possession mark.

Scratched earlier in the postseason, Schultz has played sparingly, but been helpful to the Penguins when on the ice.

While requiring more production from their top players, San Jose is also looking for greater contributions from those deeper in the lineup. Their depth has paled in comparison to Pittsburgh.

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"I think our support group has to take a little bit of pressure off them," Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said, referring to Thornton and Pavelski. "We got a goal from Melker Karlsson [Monday] night. We got to find a way to get some [production] from some other people, too."

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