(1) Pittsburgh Penguins (0-3) at (4) Boston Bruins (3-0), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will try to complete a sweep of the top-
seeded Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, when they host Game 4 of the
Eastern Conference finals from TD Garden.
The Penguins came into this best-of-seven series as favorites, but are down
three games to none to the fourth-seeded Bruins. Boston won Games 1 and 2 in
Pittsburgh by a combined 9-1 margin before taking a classic double-overtime
battle in Wednesday's home contest.
Pittsburgh is now faced with the daunting task of becoming just the fourth
team in NHL history to come back from down 3-0 to win a series. Only the 1942,
Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and 2010 Philadelphia Flyers
have won series after falling into the dreaded 0-3 hole. Of course, the
Flyers' comeback three years ago was against the Bruins in the conference
semifinals, but Boston went on to win a Stanley Cup in 2011.
"What's at stake for our future is a chance to play Game 5," Pens head coach
Dan Bylsma said on Thursday. "Tomorrow is an elimination game for our team. We
have one game. We have 60 minutes. Win one game and move on to the next day."
After getting thoroughly outplayed in the first two games at home, Pittsburgh
turned in a strong performance in Game 3, only to lose the contest in the
closing minutes of the second OT.
Patrice Bergeron's redirection with 4:41 remaining in double overtime sent the
Bruins to a 2-1 victory and pushed Pittsburgh to the brink of elimination.
Jaromir Jagr won a battle along the left-wing boards in the neutral zone
against Evgeni Malkin and fed ahead to Brad Marchand, who waited until
Bergeron had a step on Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik before dishing across for
the game-winning tip.
"We found a way, I guess. That's the only way you've got to look at it," said
Bergeron. "It wasn't necessarily our best effort in the first 60 (minutes),
but I thought we re-grouped well in overtime and we had some really good
chances in the first overtime. We kept battling and said that we have to find
a way somehow. We did in the second overtime."
David Krejci, who leads all NHLers in goals (9) and points (21) this
postseason, scored early in regulation for the Bruins, who can advance to the
Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three seasons with a win tonight.
Tuukka Rask was solid once again, stopping a playoff-high 53 shots in the
win for Boston, which improved to 6-2 as the home team in these playoffs.
Pittsburgh is now 3-3 as the visiting team in the 2013 postseason.
Chris Kunitz tallied in the second period for the Penguins, who are one loss
away from being dumped from the postseason by the Bruins for the first time
since 1980. Boston was also the last team to sweep Pittsburgh out of the
playoffs, taking four straight in the quarterfinal round in 1979.
Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun acquitted himself well in defeat, making 38
saves, two days after being pulled from a 6-1 loss which saw him give up three
goals on 12 shots in less than one period.
"The whole game we felt really comfortable with our play," said Penguins
captain Sidney Crosby. "We felt like it was just a matter of time before we
were going to get it. Unfortunately we didn't, they hung around and got one at
Boston did receive a bit of bad news in Game 3, as forward Gregory Campbell
suffered a broken right fibula while blocking a shot and will miss the
remainder of the playoffs. Campbell was hurt during the second period
Wednesday when he slid to block a slap shot from Malkin during a power play.
He limped through the remainder of his shift before heading to the locker
In 15 games this postseason, Campbell posted three goals and four assists. He
has been a key component on Boston's penalty kill and part of Boston's highly
effective fourth line.
If the Penguins win on Friday, Game 5 of this series will be played Sunday
evening in Pittsburgh.