Bruins Outlast Pens In Double OT, One Win Away From Cup Final
The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins played their hearts out last night. The Pens played their best game of the entire series, and dictated the level of play for long parts of game. Sidney Crosby and the gang threw everything at Tuukka Rask last night, but he stood tall. The Bruins now have a commanding 3-0 series lead against the Penguins with a chance to sweep them Friday night.
In this recap I am going to talk more about individual players and their performances last night as opposed to giving you a by the books recap. For starters; I am going to talk about how big Tuukka Rask was last night. Rask stopped an astonishing 53 of 54 shots. He was beyond lights out, turning the Penguins away again and again. It was truly something to see. Rask’s game 3 was arguably his single greatest game as a Boston Bruin, and it was our first true taste of the elite goaltender he has become. There are no more questions surrounding Rask, no more comparisons to be made to Thomas. Tuukka is elite in every definition of the word. He has allowed three goals all series to a team that averaged 4+ goals a game heading into the series, and has a save percentage of .981 against the league’s “best” offensive team.
The David Krejci line was big again last night, and added the Bruins first goal early into the first period. Krejci picked the puck up behind the Penguins’ net and circled around to the front. He took a quick shot that glanced off of Paul Martin to beat Tomas Vokoun. Krejci now leads all NHL postseason skaters in goals with 9 and points. He is also second in assists and +/- with 12 and +13 respectively. Nathan Horton didn’t factor a goal or an assist into last night’s action, but he was a +1 on the night. Horton has been on the ice for 31 of Boston’s 48 goals so far in the playoffs. Just think about that. Milan Lucic had a great game as well, he helped set up the Bruins first goal getting an assist for his efforts. He was also a +1 on the night, and registered 8 hits which was a game high for both teams.
Patrice Bergeron’s line was also excellent last night. Bergeron scored the huge overtime winner, and now has 2 goals, an assist, and a +3 against the Penguins to push his playoff totals to 5 goals, 5 assists, and a +4. Bergy had a bit of a down night in the faceoff dot, and a lost face-off to Sidney Crosby resulted in the only Penguins goal moments later. Brad Marchand has been good in this series too, he scored 2 big goals in game 2, and in game 3 he made the excellent pass to Bergeron for the game winner. Marchand has 2 goals, an assists, and a +4 against the Pens. Though Bergeron scored the goal, and Marchand got the primary assist, it was Jaromir Jagr would made the overtime game winner possible. His puck battle with Evgeni Malkin along the boards was pivotal in Boston winning game 3. Jags has really hit his stride in this series. He now has 3 assists, and a +3 in the series.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention how big Zdeno Chara was last night. I mean, he is big as it is, but last night he played an ungodly 42:05 minutes of ice time, and was also a +2 on the night. Johnny Boychuk played 32:01 minutes, and added 5 blocked shots. Dennis Seidenberg also had a great game with 39:54 minutes of ice time, and a game high 6 blocked shots. Speaking of blocked shots, the Bruins have lost Gregory Campbell for the remainder of the year with a broken leg after he courageously blocked a shot during a Penguins powerplay. Campbell stayed on the ice with the broken leg for the remainder of the play, and did not return. Losing Campbell hurts, but he was definitely an inspiration to his teammates last night, and will continue to be going forward.
It’s time for everyone’s favorite part of my Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins series recaps… Who had a negative rating on the Pens? Malkin has yet to add a point in this series, and is now a -5. James Neal was also a negative skater last night and now has a -7 rating for the series. Matt Cooke was was also on the ice for both goals last night. He now has a -4 rating in the series. Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Jarome Iginla all escaped the negative moniker in game 3, but hey, there is always game 4.
The Boston Bruins have played some outstanding hockey since being 11 minutes away from losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They managed to pull out a win last night despite being outshot heavily 54 to 40. Boston now has a significant stranglehold on the Penguins, and they will look to end it Friday at home. The Bruins are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup Finals. How awesome is that?
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