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The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins won the game 1-0, sweeping the number one seed and defending Stanley Cup Champions out of the playoffs.
Friday night’s game was a defensive battle, as the game remained scoreless heading into the final period. During the third period the game would see its only goal, when defenseman Adam McQuaid scored 5:01 into the third period on goalie Tomas Vokoun. Now with the season on the line, the Penguins needed to generate a goal against Boston’s tough defense and stud goalie Tuukka Rask, who had shut them out to this point and had been playing phenomenally.
After the McQuaid goal, the Bruins continued to play fundamentally sound defense, with constant checking, back pressure and relentless pursuit of the puck. During the final 15 minutes of the game the Bruins played Bruins hockey, never over-committing on any plays, leaving their man open for a easy shot on goal, they did not turn any pucks over, or commit any bone-headed penalties that would cost their team late. Hockey fans could clearly see that this was not Boston’s first time in the rodeo, as the Bruins had been there before and they understand how a champion closes out and wins a game.
The game did get interesting for the Penguins, with 1:30 remaining in the third period, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma pulled goalie Tomas Vokoun and came with a relentless offensive attack against goalie Tuukka Rask. Rask made save after save, but it was the play of Zdeno Chara in the final seconds of the game that Rask can thank for his shutout and win. Penguins scorer Evgeni Malkin made a nice move right in front of net that brought Tuukka down flat on the ice, leaving the net wide open, then Malkin quickly took the shot and sprawled out 6-foot-9 Chara rolled over and blocked the puck with his left glove, conserving the win for the Bruins.
The Bruins will play the Chicago Blackhawks.
Here are some interesting takeaways from the Bruins-Peguins series. Penguins star scorers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were unable to score a single point in the four games this series. It was also the first time that Crosby had gone consecutive games with 0 points and as a team the Penguins only managed to score 2 goals in 4 games.