Three games into the Eastern Conference Final, not many people would have predicted that the Boston Bruins would hold a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Game 1 took place in Pittsburgh and ended with a 3-0 shutout win for the Big Bad Bruins. The Penguins were attacking and pressing through much of the game, only to be turned away by Tuukka Rask numerous times.
Later in the game, with the Bruins up on the scoreboard, the tempers of both teams flared, and a shoving match broke out at center ice. Out of the tangle of bodies emerged Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron who both ended up with five minutes for fighting.
The Bruins quieted the Penguins in the third by potting a couple goals to put the first game out of reach.
Game 2 was also a wash for the Penguins as the Bruins were able to impose their will and style of play en-route to a comfortable 6-1 win. The B's have been able to play their game unhindered by the Penguins efforts through the entire series.
They are great defensively and have four lines that can play in all situations. They have been able to expose the Pens defense and goaltending while at the same time getting them rattled and unfocused on the overall game.
Game 3 was the closest affair yet between the two clubs as Patrice Bergeron ended up playing the hero in double overtime to set up a pivotal Game 4 in Boston.
The stakes are incredibly high for the Penguins. They were the favourites coming into this series against the Bruins. They were expected to contend with for the Cup and loaded up their roster with proven leaders because of that.
For the Pens to avoid being swept, their top offensive players need to find a way to get past Tuukka Rask. The Bruins' goalie has been a wall thus far, and finding a way to beat him is essential in their continuation of this series.
The Penguins also need to get their speed game working. Fans were treated to that in the third game of the series, as the Pens excellent foot speed gave way to many huge scoring chances.
The bottom line is that the Penguins need to play their game and not the game the Bruins want them to play. Facing elimination, they need a huge win to gain some momentum and try to keep their Cup dream alive.
You won't want to miss tonight's game because it is going to be a doozy.
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