Bruins get back to Stanley Cup finals with sweep of Penguins
|06.07.13 at 10:35 pm ET|
The Bruins punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals Friday night by concluding an unprecedented sweep of the top-seeded Penguins with a 1-0 victory at TD Garden. The B’s, who won it all in 2011, are in the Cup finals for the second time in three years.
Adam McQuaid broke the scoreless tie 5:01 into the third period with his second goal of the postseason, which doubles his regular-season production. At the end of his shift, Brad Marchand brought the puck into the Penguins zone and waited for McQuaid to enter the zone before sending the puck back to the blue line, where McQuaid stepped up and rifled a slap shot past Tomas Vokoun top shelf glove side.
Tuukka Rask closed the door from there, wrapping up a four-game stretch in which he allowed a total of two goals against the NHL’s top offense. The likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang and James Neal went the entire series without a point.
The Bruins will play the winner of the Western Conference finals, which the Blackhawks currently lead, 3-1, over the Kings. If the Blackhawks win Game 5 on Saturday, the Stanley Cup finals will begin Wednesday in Chicago. Should the Bruins face the Blackhawks, they, the 2011 champions, will be playing the 2010 champions after eliminating the 2009 champions. It would also be their third Original Six opponent of the postseason (Maple Leafs, Rangers).
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins got more of the good stuff from Rask. He made a big save on Crosby on a partial breakaway in the first period and later made a pair of key stops on Neal. He finished the series with a save percentage somewhere north of .985, which is absolutely crazy. Rask had middle-of-the-pack numbers this postseason entering the conference finals, and the feeling here was that he’d need to turn himself into a Conn Smythe candidate if the B’s were to get past the Penguins. He’s done just that.
– You have to wonder what happened to Letang, because it was more underwhelming play on Friday night. The offensively gifted blueliner whiffed on a couple of scoring chances in the second period, one of which was off a rebound with open net and the other of which resulted in a turnover. Letang also took a hooking penalty with the season on the line and less than 10 minutes to play when he took down Patrice Bergeron.
– McQuaid’s goal wasn’t his only contribution. With less than 10 minutes to play, he cleared the rebound from a shot from the point with a Penguins player at the bottom of the circle waiting to pounce.
– After losing 51 of 89 faceoffs in Game 3, the Bruins got back to winning the majority of the draws on Friday. The B’s went 32 and 26 on draws.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins have made it this far without some guys performing, but that’s got to change going forward. It’s now 20 games without a point for Chris Kelly, while Tyler Seguin has just one goal this postseason.