Bruins' Stanley Cup dream just a win away
Victory over Pittsburgh puts Boston in line to face Chicago or Los Angeles for NHL crown
Patrice Bergeron's goal with 4:41 remaining in the second overtime lifted the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh and within one win of reaching the NHL's Stanley Cup finals.
The Bruins took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. The winner of the series will face either the Chicago Blackhawks or reigning champion Los Angeles Kings for the NHL crown.
Boston will try to complete the sweep when they host game four today.
Both teams were fighting fatigue late in the second overtime period when Jaromir Jagr won a battle along the left-wing boards against Evgeni Malkin and fed ahead to Brad Marchand. Marchand waited until Bergeron had a step on Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik then sent the puck toward the slot, where Bergeron deflected it into the net.
"It was … a great play by Jags to take that puck on the wall there, just fighting and getting the loose puck to March," Bergeron said.
"We have that chemistry where we know where we're going on the ice, so I knew that he was going to try to find me.
"I just went to the net and tried to have my stick on the ice and he found me."
It was Bergeron's second overtime goal of these play-offs. The other, also set up by Marchand, clinched game seven in the first round against Toronto.
He said he and his Bruins teammates would take a little time to recover, then focus on putting the Penguins away.
"I'm pretty tired but it's rewarding when you get the result," Bergeron said. "We have tomorrow to rest and we'll think about game four after that."
David Krejci scored early in regulation for Boston, and goalie Tuukka Rask stopped a playoff-high 53 shots for the win.
Chris Kunitz scored in the second period for Pittsburgh and Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 shots.
"That was a hard-fought game," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "It was hard-fought all over the ice. We threw a lot at them. We threw a lot at them in regulation, threw 50-plus shots. We did play how we wanted to play, we just couldn't find the second goal."