|Connelly’s Top Ten: Comebacks, Championships and Doobie Brothers||Patriots 2014-2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks||Cubs Hire Manny, Youkilis to Try to Become ’04 Red Sox…Literally||Red Sox 2015 Preview: Buchholz, Porcello, Miley, Masterson, Kelly|
The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 at home Friday night to complete the sweep of the Penguins and advance to their second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in the last three years. Tuukka Rask posted his second shutout of the series and Adam McQuaid scored on a snipe from the point late in the third period to propel the Bruins past this elite Penguins team.
Boston will face either the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings when the Bruins look to win their second Stanley Cup title in three years.
Rask was solid in net yet again with 26 saves out of 26 Pittsburgh shots. The last save was gloved by Rask in the final second of the third from a Jarome Iginla shot about 40 feet away. Pittsburgh is a team that is far from offensively challenged. The Penguins had only been shut out two times in their previous 147 games before running into a goaltender that seems to be seeing every shot accompanied by a strong defensive series. Pittsburgh was shut out twice in the four games against the Bruins.
There are many headlines that come to mind about this stunning series sweep by the Boston Bruins ranging from the stellar play from goalie Tuuka Rask, to the Penguins superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby not notching any points in the four games against Boston. The Penguins offense was flustered all series having only found the back of the net twice in the entirety of the Eastern Conference Finals.
McQuaid scored his second goal of the playoffs which turned out to be the game winner and series clincher. The defenseman already surpassed his regular season goal total having only scored one through 32 games.
The play started with Brad Marchand controlling the puck along the left boards in the offensive zone. Adam McQuaid skated up ice as he received a nice pass from Marchand at the point, where McQuaid then fired the winning shot past goaltender Thomas Vokoun.
Freshly called up Kaspars Daugavins made an impact in the game where his role was to come in and help a Bruins squad that was down a forward, after Gregory Campbell suffered a broken leg in game 3 and was pronounced done for the remainder of the playoffs. Daugavins hit a post at 2:56 of the second period after pulling off a nice move to get the shot off.
This series sweep has to feel great for a Bruins team that looked defeated half way into the third period of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins rallied in the third to overcome a three goal deficit and went on to net on overtime winner that came off the stick of Patrice Bergeron. After advancing to the conference semifinals against the Rangers, the Bruins have an 8-1 postseason record and look like the team of destiny prepping for the winner of the Kings-Blackhawks series to face in the Stanley Cup Finals.