Patrice Bergeron’s goal in double overtime puts the Bruins on the brink of the Cup Final


The longest game in Boston since 1990 ended when Patrice Bergeron tipped home a double-overtime winner nearly 95 minutes after the game began.  The goal came 90+ minutes after David Krejci opened the scoring just 1:42 into the contest.  In between Tuukka Rask made 53 saves, the only shot that beat him was a Chris Kunitz second period goal.

The Penguins played their best hockey of the series by a long shot but still came up short and they now trail the Bruins 3-0 in the series with a chance to be swept in Boston on Friday.

The Bruins got things going early when David Krejci got a soft goal out front, capitalizing on a lack of aggression by the Penguins defense.  Krejci found a turnover on his stick and camped out behind the net for a few seconds while Milan Lucic got to the front of the net.  Lucic took the attention of three Penguins and Krejci was then uncovered.  Krejci eventually shifted in front of the net and wristed a low shot on net, beating Tomas Vokoun five-hole.  Everyone committed to the pass, Vokoun included, and Krejci saw that and finished.

The Penguins still tried their long stretch passes, and had more success than they had in the first two games but still struggled to sustain pressure once they did get entrance into the offensive zone.  The first penalties of the game when Johnny Boychuk completed a late hit on Brenden Morrow at center ice and Joe Vitale was sent off for roughing in the ensuing scrum.

The Penguins would get the first power-play of the game when Nathan Horton was sent off for holding with 4:26 left in the first frame.  The Penguins had a nice chance early in the power-play when a deflection out front got Tuukka Rask out of position but the puck fell harmlessly behind Chris Kunitz and was cleared.  Torey Krug had a nice chance when he fired a wrist shot on net in a trailing role but the shot was snuffed out by Vokoun and cleared.

After a nice few shifts to start the period by the Bruins, David Krejci was sent off for roughing just two minutes in, giving the Penguins their second power-play bid of the contest.  The Bruins once again put together a strong kill, complete with three full-ice clears.  However, another penalty would give the Penguins their second power-play in short order, testing the Bruins stamina.  The Penguins would put together their most impressive power-play of the series, constantly threatening but Rask came up with four or five saves very big saves to keep the Bruins ahead.

After the Penguins turned up the pace, they would eventually get on the board when Chris Kunitz put home a one-timer out front that beat Rask blocker-side high.  After Sidney Crosby won a faceoff, Paul Martin corralled it and started going behind the net, just as he was about to go behind the net he threw a quick pass through the crease to Kunitz.  Rask was not able to get from post to post quick enough and Kunitz did a nice job of catching the handcuffing pass and shelving it.

Quickly after the goal the Penguins would get another power-play of their own when the Bruins were caught with too many men on the ice.  The penalty was the third of the period, all fairly close together, tempting fate by putting the very dangerous Penguins power-play on the ice repeatedly.  After Gregory Campbell was felled by a blocked shot the Penguins essentially had a 5-on-3.5 when Campbell couldn’t get to the bench because of contained pressure.

The Bruins would get their first power-play of the night when Jarome Iginla was sent off in the final two minutes of the second for tripping.  The Bruins would not score and would carry over just under half of the power-play to the third period.   The Penguins would win the opening faceoff, something they did very well all night, and killed off the rest of the penalty easily.

As the period drew on the Boston crowd grew quieter and quieter as the Penguins continually took them out of the crowd by winning faceoffs and the puck possession battle.  The Bruins would get a power-play off a terribly soft call but could not even set up their power-play formation and hardly entered the Penguins zone at all.

The game started getting tight in the middle of the third, with both teams battling for every inch of ice.  Every dump-in seemed contested and every shooting lane was clogged.  The Bruins would eventually earn another power-play when Johnny Boychuk was interfered with by Pascal Dupuis after he impeded Boychuk from following his rebound.  This power-play also proved to be futile, the Penguins did a great job of pressuring the puck handlers, which is exactly how you should defend the Bruins power-play.

Towards the end of the third period the Penguins started to get the majority of chances include when Evgeni Malkin rang the post on a beauty of a wrist shot. The teams would eventually skate themselves into overtime.

After Lucic and Matt Cooke got sent off for roughing minors the Bruins immediately had a nice, scrambly chance that Vokoun was able to survive thanks to a blocked shot out front.  Nathan Horton also had a partial breakaway after a Kris Letang turnover but was stopped by Vokoun, who read the angles very well.  Nathan Horton would later ring the post on a ripped wrist shot from the left side.

However, right after that Chris Kelly would get sent off for  tripping, giving the Penguins their fifth power-play of the night.  The Bruins would kill off the Pens tentative power-play solely off of positioning and just a few clears.  The Bruins would get their own overtime power-play when Brooks Orpik was sent off for high-sticking with 8:34 left in the first overtime.  The Bruins would also fail to pull the trigger, over-thinking their options and eventually the window would close.

As overtime grew older the Bruins started carrying play a bit more, getting more consistent pressure in the Penguins zone and started to go at Vokoun harder.  With a tired Penguins bunch after a few icings the Bruins got a power-play with under two minutes left in the first overtime when Malkin put the puck out of play for a delay of game.  The Penguins would kill off the beginning of the penalty and get to the fourth overtime for a much needed breather.

The Bruins gave the Penguins their sixth power-play of the game when they were called for too many men for the second time.  The Bruins were able to kill off the sixth power-play of the game.  Every breakout was more decisive and important.  Both goalies shined in the middle of the overtime, Rask making a nice diving save on Jarome Iginla, and Vokoun making a nice freeze on a Jaromir Jagr tip attempt out front to end a rush.

The teams continued to trade blows like weary heavyweight boxers, fatigue was certainly an overarching factor but each team had spurts where they fought through it and ratcheted their intensity levels.  One such occurrence ended the game.  Jaromir Jagr stole a puck from Malkin along the bench and turned it back up ice for an odd-man rush.  Jagr fisted it up ice to Brad Marchand who raced up the left side. Patrice Bergeron filled the middle and raced towards the crease, Marchand threw a pass to him and he tipped it home past Vokoun for the double-overtime game-winner.

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Jim Lyons

The blogger formerly known as @BruCrewHockey, posts mostly about hockey but occasionally about music and other random things. @JimmyFausto and @BleedingBruins on twitter.