BOSTON, Mass – The Penguins’ 2012-13 season came to a premature end after the Boston Bruins finished the Eastern Conference Final series with a 1-0 victory in Game 4 on Friday at TD Garden to complete the sweep.
“We didn’t expect to go four straight,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “We didn’t find a way to regroup after dropping (the first) two at home.
“When you’re this close you want to get to the (Stanley Cup) Final. You don’t get opportunities like this all the time. It’s disappointing.”
The Penguins gave a frantic effort in the game’s final minute of the game, but couldn’t find an answer to Tuukka Rask’s netminding. In an appropriate finish, Rask made a glove save at the buzzer for his 26th save to complete his second shutout in four games.
The Penguins had trouble scoring all series. They put just two pucks behind Rask in four games and 13-plus periods. Pittsburgh’s power play scored zero goals. And the Penguins big stars – Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, James Neal – all came up pointless at the end of the series.
"It felt like something was keeping the puck out of the net," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "It certainly wasn’t lack of opportunity or scoring chances or situations for our team, for our players, for our power play. We did have them. And at the end, it felt like not only Tuukka Rask was keeping the puck out of the net, but there was a force around the net because we had some great opportunities, good situations for our team, our players, and were not able to find any kind of goal in this series and never a lead."
Following the game, Malkin took blame for the series defeat.
“My job is to score goals. I have zero goals,” Malkin said. “My mistake.”
Vokoun put in another brilliant performance between the pipes. He stopped 23 shots. The only puck to elude him was a shot from Adam McQuaid that deflected off Iginla’s stick and over Vokoun’s shoulder five minutes into the third period.
"Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games," Bylsma said. "He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game 3, but he was equally up to the task and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders a lot for these Games 3 and 4."
But despite his performance, Vokoun was still heartbroken by the loss.
“It’s a shock,” Vokoun said. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s a tough moment and unfortunately in sports only one team can win. That’s not going to be us.”