Tuukka Stymies Pens In Double OT Classic, Bs Grab 3-0 Series Lead

It was officially military time on the TD Garden house clock. The Bruins were playing the longest game in Boston since Glen Wesley airmailed one to Galleria Umberto on Parmenter St. A win puts them a game from a second Cup berth in three seasons, a loss gives them a series that is suddenly, finally starting to look one. Enter the hero.

Who else this playoff year but Patty Bergeron? The humble, beloved Quebecois fought through a Brooks Orpik check to tap a perfect Brad Marchand feed past a sprawling Tomas Vokoun, giving the Bruins an incredible 2-1 2OT victory to give them a vice-grip 3-0 series lead.

The series-swinging goal came thanks to some tremendous board work (and perhaps a subtle hook) by 41-year-old workhorse Jaromir Jagr and should quiet those who have been clamoring for Tyler Seguin to get put back on the line. His battling and effort freed up the puck to spring Marchand.

Just an unbelievable game because of the stakes. The difference between 2-1 and 3-0 is huge. But none of the above heroics would be possible without Tuukka Rask. The Conn Smythe candidate had 53 saves, 15 of which came in the OTs and 13 on the PK. None was perhaps bigger than his stop on Jarome Iginla 7:35 in the second OT. Iginla made a self pass to go around Johnny Boychuk that Rask read so he went for a poke check just as an airborne Iginla got wood on it and the goalie stopped it with his shoulder. It was also the first time anybody noticed Iginla this series.

But when the Bs were getting outplayed, which, by the way, was most of the first three periods, Rask was once again there to save their bacon. He made key save after key save to keep things even. To repeat myself for about the 35th time since January, he was the difference. And right now, he’s playing with a Dryden-esque calm about him during the most important time of the year. Think he’s been waiting for this?

The game also gave us a scene that shows exactly why the NHL puts baseball players and basketball players to shame. While killing a second period penalty, Greg Campbell laid out to block Geno Malkin’s shot. The shot broke his leg. After agonizing on his knees, Campbell got back on his feet. Then he went about, as much as he could on his newly broken leg, back to his penalty-killing chores. He made a stick check. He hobbled from side to side to get whatever positioning he could. Oh, AND HE GOT IN POSITION TO BLOCK ANOTHER SHOT! Within seconds of having his leg broken, Campbell unselfishly and with balls and guts and heart put himself right back into harm’s way all for his team, for the Bruins. It was the type of shit that puts a lump in your throat and reminds you, yet again, the warrior mentality required to win the Stanley Cup.

After about 30 seconds or so, the valuable fourth-liner was able to finally get off the ice on his own power before heading immediately down the tunnel. Within seconds, a chant—a new chant—loudly broke out: “Camp-bell! Camp-bell! Camp-bell” they screamed. A total goosebump moment from the 17,565 last night that was well-deserved and a sequence of events that made you goddamned proud to be a Bruins fan. Feral guts on the ice, utmost appreciation of them off it. Bravo, Greg Campbell. That will never be forgotten.

So, here we are. The Pens finally show up, play well, and they’re still on the brink of elimination. It seemed like only yesterday I was figuring out how I was gonna pay my off my future on the Bs (12/1). But they had a miraculous comeback that STILL doesn’t seem like it happened and know I look like I might be able to hedge the damn thing. One more win. The Bs go for the kill tomorrow night next to the Charles.

A few more buds for your bowl…

*The loss of Campbell is huge. His face-off work, versatility, and PK will be missed. Dan Paille and Rich Peverley will help pick up the PK slack. I wouldn’t be surprised if Claude goes with Jay Pandolfo given similarity in play and the fact that Pandolfo has already seen it all. Twice. But given that he has a 3-0 lead and last change, Claude can afford to throw out Kaspars Daugavins or Carl Soderberg to see what they can do and move Rich Peverley to center. But my gut say he plays it safe with the graybeard.

*David Krejci scored his league-leading ninth goal and 21st point of these playoffs. His numbers, incredibly, are now: 29G-39A–68P in 74 games played. He may have been overshadowed by Tim Thomas during his first coming out party in 2011. But not this year. Remember all those jokers who wanted to trade him before the season? Great call…

*Jagr was immense late in the game and got better as it went on. People complaining that he hasn’t scored are missing the point or aren’t watching. He’s nearly impossible to defend in the offensive zone so he typically draws another guy (or two), which opens up more space and options for other guys. His strength along the wall has been huge in keeping plays alive. It’s kind of ironic that he’s now doing all the dirty little things and playing the grittier game he so often avoided earlier in his career. The prospect of winning another Cup will do that. And this was his face after the GWG. Assassin.


*I think it’s high time we take a new vote on just who the “World’s Best Player” is. Because Sidney Crosby has looked like a run-of-the-mill second liner this series and has yet to tally even a single point. The Bruins have just completely neutered him. Though he was more involved last night, he’s look merely ordinary this series due to the Bs tight checking.


*Brendan Morrow, another overrated move by the Pens, has been invisible this series. James Neal and Malkin have been their best two forwards. They combined for 17 shots last night but neither could beat Rask.

*Zdeno Chara played 42:05 last night and was again his usually beastly self.

*69 years ago today. We’re forever grateful.