Final, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins withstood a barrage in the final minute with Pittsburgh’s goalie pulled, but Tuukka Rask made a glove save as time expired before batting the puck away in celebration.
The Boston Bruins are Eastern Conference champions, and they’re heading back to the Cup Final.
Third period, 1:57, 1-0 Bruins: Under two minutes, and this place is feeling it.
Third period, 5:16, 1-0 Bruins: Jagr hit a post, Chara leveled Neal, and Paille missed the net on a breakaway, all in the last minute or so of action.
The B’s were able to kill off that shortened Pittsburgh power play, and they’re now 5:16 away from the Cup Final.
Third period, 7:36, 1-0 Bruins: That B’s power play is negated by a Nathan Horton holding call. Horton definitely got his hand on Murray, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty should have been called on Murray for embellishing. Alas, 4-on-4 hockey for 58 seconds, then 1:02 of Penguins power play time.
Third period, 8:39, 1-0 Bruins: Bad time for Kris Letang, Norris finalist, to take a penalty right there. The D-man stuck out his leg to trip Patrice Bergeron, who was chasing a puck, and Letang will spend the next two minutes in the penalty box.
Third period, 14:59, 1-0 Bruins: We finally have a goal, and it’s Adam McQuaid doing the honors.
Brad Marchand, at the end of a very long shift, carried into the offensive end along the left wing and pulled up near the top of the circle. With time and space, he sent a pass back to the blue line to McQuaid. With a pair of white jerseys dropping to the ice in front of him, he let loose a slap shot that beat Vokoun high to the glove side.
The Bruins have a 1-0 lead, and they’re 14:59 away from the Stanley Cup Final.
“We Want The Cup” chants have begun in Boston.
Third period, 20:00, 0-0: Third period under way. Next goal wins?
End of second period, 0-0: We’re seeing a lot of tight hockey here in Boston, as the Bruins and Penguins just completed a scoreless 20 minutes for the fourth time in the last five periods.
Like I mentioned, the pace of that period was tremendous and was a big improvement over the first period for both teams. And after two periods, the game remains as close as can be.
Shots are 20-17 in favor of Pittsburgh, and the Penguins have 22 hits to the Bruins’ 20. The Bruins have won 23 faceoffs, compared to the Penguins’ 17, while the Bruins hold a 13-9 advantage in blocked shots. And both power plays are 0-for-2.
You can tell why this one’s tied. The Penguins have done a good job thus far of staying in this one, but I get the feeling that either way, the next goal will decide the game. If the Bruins score, I think the Penguins might finally let up. If the Penguins score, you’re going to see them re-energized, knowing a home game Sunday night is mere minutes away.
But with the way these goaltenders are playing, no goal will come easy. It will probably take a gritty goal that comes from hard work on a loose puck or something of that sort to beat these goalies tonight.
Second period, 5:54, 0-0: The pace of this game has picked up and is now much more fitting for an elimination game in the playoffs. The Bruins didn’t score on that power play but had a lot of puck movement. Credit to the Penguins PK for simply shutting down all passing and shooting lanes. It was the type of kill that can frustrate a power play unit, so if the Bruins get more chances tonight, they’ll have to try something different. Too many passes were sent across the slot, and all of them were deflected or intercepted by Penguins players.
Shots, hits and faceoffs are just about even for the teams, as is the score, of course.
Second period, 11:33, 0-0: Brad Marchand taketh away, and Brad Marchand giveth. After getting out of the box, Marchand joined a rush and eventually got the puck in the corner. His speed was too much for Brenden Morrow, who got his stick in Marchand’s skates and hauled him down.
Second period, 13:55, 0-0: Brad Marchand is making good friends with the penalty box door operator tonight, because he’s heading back in there now for hitting Orpik away from the play.
It was a pretty skilled effort by Orpik to draw the penalty. He skated backward through the Bruins’ right faceoff circle and saw Marchand. He skated right at Marchand, knowing he’d probably give a hit, and as soon as he felt contact, Orpik dropped to the ice. He made it impossible for the ref not to call, and the Penguins get another power play chance.
Second period, 16:38, 0-0: The physicality is here for the second period, with both teams throwing their bodies around. It boils over a bit after that last whistle, with Brad Marchand and Matt Niskanen going off for matching roughing penalties.
The best scoring opportunity came from Kaspars Daugavins, who very patiently held onto a puck as he stepped to the front of the net before firing off a very hard shot toward Vokoun’s glove side. Vokoun hung in and waited to make a nice save, but that was probably the Bruins’ best chance thus far.
Second period, 20:00, 0-0: Second twenty under way at the Garden.
End of first period, 0-0: The teams head to the locker rooms in a scoreless tie, the first time that’s happened this series.
That earlier power play did indeed help the Bruins tilt the ice a bit, as they finished the period with an 11-9 shot advantage. It’s been a pretty even game overall, but it was the Penguins who definitely came out a bit harder. What’s happened since midway through the period is anyone’s guess, though there’s a chance some legs just aren’t as strong as they normally are after that marathon game the other night.
Tuukka has been sharp, tested with a tricky little shot from the half wall by Letang, which was sent through a defenseman’s legs and on net. Rask also had to get big when Crosby was all alone streaking down the slot and sent a shot high to Rask’s blocker side. Rask went down but kept his upper body straight, making the shoulder save.
Vokoun’s been good too, just like he was in Game 3, and that’s why you’re seeing the scoreless tie.
First period, 6:59, 0-0: The video board at the TD Garden just replayed Gregory Campbell’s gutsy effort from Game 3 before cameras cut to Campbell up here on press level. The sold-out crowd of 17.565 let Campbell hear their appreciation.
First period, 7:37, 0-0: Milan Lucic walks a puck to the front of the net for the Bruins’ only real chance of their power play, but Vokoun is there to stop it. The power play was important for the Bruins though, because Pittsburgh had been dominating puck possession in the offensive end with some really aggressive forechecking, and that two minutes helped break up the Pittsburgh pressure.
First period, 10:38, 0-0: Hey, look, a too-many-men penalty, but not on Boston. This one is called on Pittsburgh, giving the B’s their first power-play chance of the night.
First period, 13:28, 0-0: The Penguins came oh-so-close to their first power play goal of the series, with a loose puck sliding to Rask’s right, but he and Chara were quick to knock the loose puck into the corner just before Chris Kunitz could get his stick on it. That was pretty much it for the Pens’ power play, which came into this series with a 30 percent success rate but has a giant oh-fer through three-plus games now.
So no harm, no foul on the bad call on Lucic, but the refs already owe Boston one.
First period, 17:25, 0-0: Early power play for Pittsburgh, as Lucic gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct. That was a horrific penalty call. I believe some people might go so far as to call it a joke.
First period, 20:00: Kelly won the opening draw, and Game 4 is under way.
8:06 p.m.: Claude Julien is going with the newly formed line of Paille-Kelly-Seguin up front to start, with Ference and Boychuk back on D.
8:05 p.m.: The parents of Krystle Campbell, one of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, were here tonight as the honorary banner captains.
The giant Bruins banner has made its way around the lower bowl, the Bruins and Penguins have taken the ice, and we’re now just minutes away from Game 4 getting under way.
7:59 p.m.: The Penguins are inserting Tyler Kennedy into the lineup and taking Joe Vitale out. Vitale was the one who punched Bergeron in the face after Johnny Boychuk was penalized for interference, thereby negating Pittsburgh’s power play early in Game 3. That likely didn’t go over too well with the coaches.
7:46 p.m.: It might be a late-arriving crowd tonight, despite the late 8 p.m. start, because man is the traffic treacherous out there. A few sprinkles fall from the sky and this whole state turns upside down.
Fortunately, the Bruins and Penguins have avoided the traffic and are here, ready to play hockey tonight.
The Bruins’ lineup was as expected in warmups, and the countdown is on for puck drop.
5 p.m.: Hello and welcome from the TD Garden, where once again we are waiting anxiously for the Bruins and Penguins to get under way. And this time, a season is on the line.
The Penguins played their best game of the series Wednesday night in Game 3, but unfortunately for them, so did Tuukka Rask. The Penguins gave the Bruins their best shot, and it was not enough to win.
Now, the Penguins must somehow dig down and bring that A game yet again, which is no easy task when a team is down 3-0. Occasionally, we see great fight from teams in that position, but more often, we see those teams fall behind by a goal or two and start making summer plans.
Which way the Penguins go will largely depend on which Tomas Vokoun shows up to the rink. If it’s the Vokoun from Game 2, the guy who didn’t really feel like putting in much effort, the Penguins are down. But if the Vokoun from Game 3 shows up, the nearly perfect netminder who denied several high-quality bids, then we could be in for another night of great hockey.
For the Bruins, it looked at morning skate like Kaspars Daugavins is the guy joining the lineup in Gregory Campbell’s absence. Claude Julien is putting Daugavins on the third line, with Rich Peverley at center and Tyler Seguin at right wing. That means Chris Kelly is down on the fourth line, centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton.
Remember, the Bruins won in double overtime the other night essentially with three lines. Thornton finished with under four minutes of ice time, and Paille got most of his ice time killing penalties, with some sporadic fill-in work on the third line as well. Those two, plus Daugavins, should have the freshest legs for this one, so keep an eye on them.
I’ll be here for warmups and will let you know what the lines look like there, but I’d expect that’s what you’re going to see.
Check back with the live blog for updates from pregame and all the way through the game as the Bruins go for a sweep of the Penguins. And no, I can’t believe I seriously just typed that.