BOSTON, Mass. – The Penguins and Bruins played one of the most spirited and entertaining battles of the season in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final that required nearly five periods to decide. But somebody had to lose.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, that team was the Penguins.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron scored off a one-timer in the slot at 15:19 of the second overtime that sneaked past goaltender Tomas Vokoun to give the Bruins a 2-1 win and, more devastatingly, a 3-0 series lead.
“It was a tough game and we were on the wrong end of a good game,” Jarome Iginla said. “The boys played great and the compete level was there. This one stings tonight. It’s small steps. It’s the same focus. You just win one game.”
In a twist of hockey fate, the Penguins played their best game against the Bruins, outshooting them 54-40 and taking the fight to them. As luck would have it, they lost after playing their best hockey of the series.
Vokoun rewarded the coaching staff’s faith in him with an amazing performance, making 38 saves. The Penguins penalty killing was exceptional, thwarting all five Bruins power plays – including three in overtime.
But in the end it wasn’t good enough. However, it is something the team is hoping to build on.
“If we play the same way we’ll get our chances, we have to trust that,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “I thought we generated more scoring chances than them. I thought we deserved better this game.”
The Penguins are now hoping to become the fourth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit and advance. The Boston Bruins were on the wrong end of such an occurrence recently. In the 2010 Eastern Conference Final, Boston had a 3-0 series lead and ended up losing in seven games to the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Penguins will start that quest Friday night at TD Garden in Game 4.
It’s not the best position to be in. And the odds are against them, but the Penguins are not about to quit now. And though it is nearly impossible, there is still hope.
“Now there is no margin for error,” Craig Adams said. “You could say it’s almost insurmountable. But almost is the key word. We have to get some rest, regoup and win a game on Friday.”
“We're down 3-0, we have lost the first three games, and we're going to battle and lay it out there,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “It's a race to four, and they're not there yet, and we're going to come back in here, regroup and go after Game 4.”