The Boston Bruins can advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the 20th time since entering the NHL in 1924 when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final at PNC Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS). It would be their third trip to the Final in the past nine seasons. They won the Cup in 2011 and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games in 2013.
Teams that take a 3-0 lead in a best-of-7 series are 189-4 (97.9 percent), including 3-0 this season.
A victory would be the seventh in a row for the Bruins and their longest Stanley Cup Playoff winning streak in 47 years. Three teams in the past 11 postseasons have had a run of at least seven games: the 2012 Los Angeles Kings (eight), 2011 Tampa Bay Lightning (eight) and 2010 Blackhawks (seven).
Bruins forward David Krejci enters Game 4 with points in each of his past five games (six points; two goals four assists) and in 12 of 16 games this postseason (13 points; four goals, nine assists). He has 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 26 potential series-clinching games, the most in Bruins history.
Hurricanes captain Justin Williams has 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists) in 24 games with his team facing elimination (17-7). He played a role in one of the four instances in NHL history of a team rallying from down 3-0 to win a series. He had six points in Games 4-7 of the 2014 Western Conference First Round, helping the Kings defeat the San Jose Sharks en route to winning the Stanley Cup. Williams won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
Video: Fox and Jaffe discuss the Eastern Conference Final
Sharks stun Blues to take lead in West Final
The Sharks survived a four-goal second period by the St. Louis Blues and got a goal by Erik Karlsson 5:23 into overtime for a 5-4 victory in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at Enterprise Center on Wednesday. Logan Couture tied the game 4-4 with 1:01 remaining in the third period
The Sharks own a 2-1 lead in a best-of-7 series for the 16th time since entering the NHL in 1991 and are 11-4 in the 15 previous instances. San Jose also led 2-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Final against St. Louis and won that series in six games to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time.
San Jose also won a postseason game after scoring a tying goal in the final 1:30 of the third period for the third time in its history. The other instances: Game 2 of the 2010 Western Conference Final and Game 2 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinal. San Jose became the first team to win a game in the conference finals after scoring a tying in the final 1:30 of the third period since 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks did so against them in Game 5.
Karlsson scored his first two goals of the playoffs and ended a 31-game goal drought dating to Dec. 29. He's the second defenseman in NHL history to have a multigoal game that included an overtime goal in the conference finals or NHL Semifinals. Georges Mantha did it with the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the 1931 Semifinals against the Bruins.
Thornton makes playoff history at age 39
Sharks forward Joe Thornton, a veteran of 21 NHL seasons, scored twice to become the oldest player in NHL history (39 years, 317 days) to have his first multigoal playoff game, doing it in his 176th postseason game. Thornton also had an assist, becoming the seventh-oldest player in playoff history with at least three points in one game.
Thornton is the 11th NHL player age 39 or older to have a multigoal game in the playoffs and first since Boston's Mark Recchi (43 years, 125 days) in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. Recchi is the oldest player to score multiple goals in a playoff game.
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