Wednesday night the Boston Bruins faced the Pittsburgh Penguins at their home arena, TD Garden for game three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, in what would be one of the most exciting games of the playoffs. The Bruins went into the game with a 2-0 lead in the series and were ready to sweep game three, but it would not be as easy as they thought, considering the majority of the game was played in a 1-1 tie, that ended in double overtime, by a goal scored by Patrice Bergeron. Tuukka Rask was one of the main reasons that the Penguins did not take down the Bruins in this game. After the first period, the Penguins dominated the game, and without Rask, it would have been an easy win for the Penguins.
The first period wrapped up with a 1-0 lead by the Bruins, scored by David Krejci at the 1:42 mark right at the beginning. This was assisted by Milan Lucic and was a great start to the first period. Tuukka Rask was in goal for the Bruins and seemed to be on point and extremely alert. He was doing a fantastic job blocking all of the many shot the Penguins were taking, and kept composure during the rare instances when the Pens would rapid fire. Almost the whole first was played in the Penguins zone.
The Penguins did not take nearly enough shots in the first period, even when given opportunities during power plays. The Penguins look simply like they are scrambling instead of running plays. Crosby struggled and did not have the start that the Penguins needed in the first period. Crosby’s inability to perform is causing the rest of the team to deviate from their traditional playing styles, taking risks at the worst moments and playing too safe where they should be running plays and taking shots. The Penguins’ Vitale was penalized for roughing with the Bruins’ Marchand about halfway through the first period. Boston received two penalties in the first period: the first on Boychuk for interference and the second on Horton for holding.
In the first period, Boston had 10 shots on goal and Pittsburgh had 9. After the first period, it was safe to say that the Pens were playing Boston’s game. Boston had consistent control of the puck and was making the Pens consistently chase them around the ice, but the Bruins also had plenty of chances to make shots that just were not used. In order to keep playing at this caliber they are going to need to take more opportunities on offense and not just play a great defense.
Second period brought us a 1-1 tie after Chris Kunitz scored with an assist from Dupuis. The Penguins definitely were happy to be out of the hole and the Bruins seemed to get a little nervous during after the goal by the Penguins. The playing field definitely seemed to level in the second period. The Bruins were getting more shots taken on them and Rask definitely had to stay on high alert because the Bruins were giving the Pens more opportunities to take shots. The Pens seemed to gain a little confidence and started to make plays rather than letting the Bruins continuously run the puck and stay in the Penguin’s zone.
The Bruin’s received a power play at the end of the second period for Jarome Iginla getting a penalty for tripping, but it did not seem to help them out too much considering Vakoun still blocked every shot on goal during the power play for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby also stepped up his game incredibly, winning the majority of the face offs in the second period and playing a much better offense in the second period.
Tempers seemed to rise when it came to Brad Marchand by the end of the second period, leaving both Marchand and Kunitz in the penalty box for kneeling and slashing respectively. The Penguins’ offense continued to improve in the third period. After game three, not much was expected from Crosby, but he made huge improvements in the second and third periods, taking more shots and winning even more face offs. The esteemed Penguin offensive trio of Crosby, Kunitz, and Dupuis, kept charging the line in the third period, making the Bruins’ defense have to work much harder to keep the Pens from scoring.
The Bruins were being crowded in the center of the ice and were going to have to make moves to beat the Penguins’ defense back to their own zone and score goals, instead of waiting for a whole cluster of players to be in the way of the goal. If the Bruins want to have any chance of making it to and winning the Stanley Cup Finals, they are going to have to take more and quicker shots.
With a nice brawl between Cooke and Lucic to start overtime, it was clear that tensions are high, and with a sudden death finish on the line, both teams were playing hard taking as many shots as they possibly could. The Bruins were putting in great effort to make game winning shots, but they just could not sink one in the first overtime period. Thankfully for the Bruins, Rask continued to make great saves in overtime. By the end of the first overtime, the Pens were looking like they were out of energy.
As game three drew on, both teams looked pretty worn out, but kept taking shots. Eventually, Jagr assisted Bergeron at the end of double overtime to a game-winning goal for the Bruins.