Bruins Push Pittsburgh to the Brink, Emerging Victorious in Double Overtime

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Game 3 Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins (Bruins lead series 3-0)

The Bruins outlasted the Penguins in an epic double overtime thriller, winning 2-1. Just as this back and forth battle looked as if it was destined for a third overtime frame, Mr. Clutch, Patrice Bergeron buried the game winner in dramatic fashion. Bergeron re-directed a Brad Marchand pass toward the front of the net and past Tomas Vokoun, capping off a storybook like evening at TD Garden. In victory, Boston took a three-games-to-none series lead over Pittsburgh.

Despite a low scoring affair, this tilt was action packed from start to finish. David Krejci scored his playoff leading 9th goal of the postseason just 1:42 into the game. The Bruins would carry a 1-0 lead into the second period. Though the Penguins looked like a completely different team in this one. They moved the puck in a much more effective manner, generating several scoring chances, but the key word being chances.

Pittsburgh tallied 53 shots on goal. Tuukka Rask turned aside 52 of them in astonishing fashion. The Penguins forwards let the puck fly from all angles. But Rask was the story of the night. The Boston tender saw the puck extremely well, moved with great in ease in his net, and made sprawling highlight reel stops when he was forced to.

Chris Kunitz potted the lone Penguin goal at 8:52 of the second. Other than that, Rask was lights out in putting forth a Tim Thomas esque performance. He totally stole the show.

The next goal was not scored until 15:19 of the second overtime. There was a lengthy wait of 66:27 in between goals. Never the less, the Bruins walked off winners.

It’s not like both clubs didn’t have opportunities to win, because they had plenty. Pittsburgh failed to convert on six power play attempts, while the Bruins missed out on five tries. The game was rough, chippy, and brutally grueling. Both sides were visibly gassed and penalties were committed.

Though it’s impossible to ignore the work the Bruins penalty killers have done against the Penguins. Pittsburgh came into this series with the NHL’s top ranked unit. The Black-and-Gold has yet to surrender a strike playing with a man in the sin bin. Their effectiveness has rendered the Penguin stars powerless.

Boston was fortunate to force overtime because the Penguins were able to outshoot them 14-4 in the final period. The Bruins skated with heavy legs after losing fourth line pivot man, Gregory Campell to an ankle injury. Campbell dropped to the ice after blocking an Evegeni Malkin shot. In the overtime periods, the Bruins regained their legs and began to push the pace of play once again. To be honest this game could have gone either way.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal combined for 20 shots. Still neither of them was able to find the net. They also rang three posts. At this point it just seems like things aren’t meant to be for the Penguins. Pittsburgh as a whole played great for the majority of the contest. It’s just that the Bruins were equally as effective. They have dug themselves an insurmountable hole.

Once again it was Patrice Bergeron tapping into his magical bag, scoring his second overtime-game winner this playoff season. His chemistry alongside Brad Marchand has proved to be second to none in the most clutch of situations. One cannot overlook the game that Jaromir Jagr had. Jagr skated strong all evening. He controlled the puck, set up his line mates in high quality scoring areas, and worked many pucks free while doing battle. His work prior to Bergeron’s winner set the whole play up.

Claude Julien’s team showed zero quit and kept on grinding until the final foghorn sounded. The Bruins understood what was there for the taking and the snatched it up Wednesday night. Pittsburgh is now on the ropes and the Bruins are one game away from administering a lethal knockout blow. If Boston prevails in game 4 Friday night, they will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three years via a series sweep.

At the end of the day it has been the Bruins urgency, discipline, determination and mental toughness that has led to great success.

The Positives:

The Bruins top line remains on fire, as David Krejci scored again.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand showcased their tremendous chemistry, connecting for the game winner.

Tuukka Rask played as good as he has if not better than ever. Rask had 52 saves and has only allowed two goals in three wins this series.

Zdeno Chara logged a career high 42:05 TOI and in doing so, he assisted immensely in holding Sidney Crosby pointless for the third consecutive game.

The penalty kill was once again flawless and remain unblemished this series.

Quote of the Night:

Zdeno Chara on a marathon of a game: “It was a hard fought game. Not too much scoring, but obviously a lot of specialty teams. A lot of big saves by both goalies. It was physical. Just a very hard fought game.”

Three Stars:

  1. Tuukka Rask
  2. Patrice Bergeron
  3. Zdeno Chara

What’s Up Next?

The Bruins will be looking for the series sweep Friday night when they square off with the Penguins at TD Garden in what could be the fourth and final game of the series.

Game Notes:

Gregory Campbell reportedly suffered a broken leg while blocking an Evgeni Malkin shot. He is more than likely done for the remainder of the post season.

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

 

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