June 6, 2013

Postgame Breakdown: Bergy buries winner in 2OT thriller

By Jesse Connolly

Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron celebrate after the former set up the latter for the game-winning goal in double overtime on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)

Final: Boston 2, Pittsburgh 1 (2OT)

Recap: The theme of the Bruins jumping on the Penguins continued early in this one. All five defenders left David Krejci alone behind the net, didn't lay a finger on him when he came out in front and did nothing but watch as No. 46 put a puck on net that went off a defender and past Tomas Vokoun. The goal gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead just 1:42 into the contest.

Boston was largely outplayed in the middle frame and plagued by a parade to the penalty box. That indirectly led to Pittsburgh's second goal of this series, as Chris Kunitz beat Tuukka Rask 8:51 into a second period dominated by the Pens. 

Pittsburgh remained territorially dominant in the third, but neither team could break the tie, thanks almost entirely to Tuukka Rask's 14 saves in the stanza. The Bruins got the better of the chances in the first overtime, including a dinged post off a shot by Nathan Horton early in the extra session.

In double overtime, with it now past midnight on the East Coast, Patrice Bergeron buried his second overtime game-winner of the playoffs at the 15:19 mark to give Boston a thrilling, 2-1 victory.

Series: Boston leads 3-0

Playoff Records: Boston 11-4; Pittsburgh 8-6

Key Play of the Game: Overly-criticized winger Jaromir Jagr came up big for the second straight game. Without him winning a battle for the puck in the neutral zone against Evgeni Malkin and dishing it to Marchand, the game-winner never happens.

Connolly's Commendations: There simply aren't enough superlatives in the world to describe the man who wears No. 37 for the Black and Gold. He is clutch. He is Mr. Everything. He's the reason the Bruins were able to make a miracle happen in Game 7 against the Leafs and now he's the reason they're a win away from returning to the Stanley Cup finals.

Four days ago, I described Game 1 as the best playoff performance of Rask's career. Time to cross that off and pencil in Game 3. Rask made a whopping 53 stops in over 95 minutes of hockey, all while allowing just a single goal to the best offensive team in the game. For the first two rounds of the playoffs, No. 40 played very well but didn't have to stand on his head. On Wednesday night, he was beyond tremendous. He simply stole one, making all the necessary stops and countless others he probably shouldn't have. 

We all must tip our caps, tap our sticks then pause to give a rousing round of applause for the gutsy effort of Gregory Campbell during a penalty kill in the second period. Campbell blocked a blast from Evgeni Malkin that reports later indicated broke his right leg. He remained out on the ice, visibly in agonizing pain, and continued to defend for a good 30-plus seconds until Boston could clear the zone. It was a remarkable showing of bravery and so indicative of what the Bruins will be losing if he's out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Connolly's Critiques: Blah, blah, blah, Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But no, seriously. Couldn't do it.

Notes: The line of Krejci, Horton and Milan Lucic have combined for 51 points in the playoffs. Malkin led all players with 10 shots on goal. The Penguins power play was  0-for-6 on the night, dropping them to 0-for-12 in the series. 

Final Thoughts: It's amazing what a few inches, a bounce or two, can make. The Penguins were leaps and bounds better in Game 3 than they were back home, and in reality, they probably deserved to win this tilt. Instead, they hit at least four posts and saw the momentum they carried for basically the final 40 minutes of regulation slowly shift toward the Bruins in overtime. A game-winning goal seemed probably for the Pens, but the Bruins hung around long enough to get back on the ball and find a way to secure the victory.

Next: The B's will look to sweep the Penguins out of the playoffs when they square off in Game 4 on Friday night at TD Garden.

 Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com