BRUINS TAKE COMMANDING 3-0 SERIES LEAD
Patrice Bergeron (5) scored at 15:19 of the second overtime to deliver a 2-1 double OT Game 3 win for the Boston Bruins who have taken a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Tuukka Rask made 53 saves and David Krejci (9) also scored in the win.
Chris Kunitz (5) scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh and Tomas Vokoun was very strong in net, making 38 saves in the loss.
Leading up to Bergeron’s game winning goal in the second overtime, Jaromir Jagr won a puck battle from Evgeni Malkin in the neutral zone on the wall in what was a hook from Jagr, but in overtime especially in the playoffs, it’s a play not called 9 out of 10 times and Jagr got the puck to Brad Marchand down the left side and Marchand patiently waited for the play to develop and found Patrice Bergeron driving to the net who got good position on Brooks Orpik and redirected a shot past Vokoun for the game winner. Pittsburgh badly needed the win to get back into the series but fell just short.
“That was hard fought game, hard fought all over the ice,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “We threw a lot at them. 50 plus shots, we just couldn’t find the second goal.”
Bergeron’s goal was another one from a clutch Bruins player which is the story of the series for the Bruins whose top guns, including goaltender Tuukka Rask are outproducing the Penguins top players, a roster filled with star players. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Kris Letang, and Jarome Igina have no points in the series.
With how deep the Bruins are without being a top heavy team with stars, and how they play such a great team structure, it’s gotta get GM Ray Shero to possibly rethink the direction of this team doesn’t it?
The likes of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang are coming up empty in this series and while Letang is a train wreck right now, which shouldn’t be happening, the Penguins pay Malkin and Crosby top money to be superstars in big situations.
They are getting outplayed by lesser players as the Bruins top-2 lines have shined in the series:
Nathan Horton, 2 Goals – 3 Assists – 5 Points – +6
David Krejci, 4 Goals – 0 Assists – 4 Points – +4
Brad Marchand, 2 Goals – 1 Assists – 3 Points – +5
Patrice Bergeron, 2 Goals – 1 Assist – 3 Points – +3
Milan Lucic, 0 Goals – 3 Assists – 3 Points – +4
Jaromir Jagr, 0 Goals – 3 Assists – 3 Points – +3
*Pittsburgh in all had a very strong bounce back game, especially goaltender Tomas Vokoun and it was a sensational game that could have easily went either way, but at the end of the day a good effort in a loss means nothing in the playoffs when you are coming in down 2-0 in a series. Against a Stanley Cup caliber team like the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals, you can’t put yourself in an 0-2 hole the way the Penguins did highlighted by an embarrassing 6-1 loss in Game 2.
*While the Penguins have been outscored 11-2 in the series, this is a game the Penguins will be looking back this summer as a huge missed opportunity in not taking advantage of six power play opportunities. Pittsburgh went 0-for-6 on the power play and all Bylsma continued to do was keep sending out the same No. 1 unit. With all of the talent the Penguins have in the series, you have to show different looks and the Penguins didn’t. When the Penguins top unit was going bad for a stretch in the regular season, the coaching staff inserted Paul Martin as the power play quarterback with the top unit and the Penguins power play took off for a stretch. I thought that was something we may see but it didn’t happen.
*With the Penguins on their way to a fourth straight disappointing playoff run, Bylsma deserves to be questioned for the type of system and structure the Penguins have in place and that’s going to be a very big hot topic, barring the Penguins making a miracle comeback in the series, but you can’t criticize Bylsma for sticking with Tomas Vokoun in goal.
It was the right decision and Vokoun gave Pittsburgh every chance to win tonight’s game.
“Thought he played really well, really solid,” Bylsma said of Vokoun. “He made some great saves, played really solid.”