WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I mean seriously, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Last night the Bruins won their fourth straight game against the Penguins to sweep them and win the Eastern Conference Championship and take home the Prince of Wales Trophy. Nobody and I mean NOBODY thought the Bruins would sweep the Penguins, let alone beat them to win the East. I woke up today and still couldn’t believe it. Wow!
This was absolutely amazing! Tuukka Rask had a fantastic game in the Bruins net, stopping 26 of 26 shots, including two of two during Penguins power plays, and earning his second playoff shutout. With only two Penguins shots during their eight minutes of power plays, you can tell that the Bruins penalty kill was solid as usual. There was a lot of back and forth since the Penguins finally stepped up to prevent being swept, but the Bruins played a strong game all around.
It remained a tight, scoreless game into the third period. Still, the Bruins and their fans never lost faith. The cheering stayed strong, as did the team. Then about five minutes into the third period, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Nathan Horton were working the offense. Defenseman Torey Krug was in there too as Adam McQuaid skated into the zone to help. Just as McQuaid crossed the blue line he was wide open and got a pass from Marchand. He skated onto it and slapped a shot the went perfectly past Tomas Vokoun and into the far top corner of the net for a goal. This would be the only goal of the game and earn us the win. It feels great for so many reasons. For one, there is a revenge factor brought on by the Penguins beating the Bruins in 1991 Eastern Conference Finals after a dirty by them took out our star Cam Neely for the rest of the season. This is added to by the fact that Jaromir Jagr used to play for the Penguins in those days and was eventually traded away. But what’s even better is that Jarome Iginla was on the ice during when the game-winning goal was scored. He also took the very last shot of the game, that could’ve tied it, but Rask stopped it. If you don’t know, Iginla was all set to come to the Bruins at the trade deadline, but then chose to go the Penguins at literally the last minute. He thought they would have a better chance to win the Stanley Cup, which he has yet to earn at age 35. Well he was wrong and so was pretty much everyone who made a prediction. We straight whooped the Penguins!
Thanks to Rask and our defense, we allowed only two Penguins goals in four games. Penguins scoring stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang came into this series with 15, 16, and 16 playoff points respectively, yet none of the scored. Thanks to our offense, which has been reborn in the playoffs, we scored 12 goals against them. We also never trailed the Penguins at any point in the series. In the 16 playoff games that we’ve played so far this year, we have scored a cool 50 goals and allowed just 29 against us. We have a 12-4 record on this run so far, and we only need four more wins to bring home the Stanley Cup.
I’d like to mention that I think it’s totally awesome that since the start of this season, when Tuukka Rask became our #1 goalie, the crowd started the “Tuukka” chant when ever the stadium song plays that leave the gap for the crowd to chant something. They also do the “Tuuuuuuuuuuuuuk” chant when he makes a nice save. I love it because I feel like this is the year of Tuukka Rask, much like it was the year of Tim Thomas when we won the Stanley Cup in 2011.. Except Rask is actually playing even better and has more impressive stats at this point than Thomas did. He stopped 134 of 136 shots against him in this series for an insane .985 save percentage. Since our one loss to the Rangers, he has stopped 162 of 165 shots and has a 5-0 record with two shutouts. It’s just one of many great storylines to this playoff run that I hope so much ends with us winning the ultimate prize. There’s just too many things leading up to this that would make it so right to win it that we can’t lose now. We have to do it! For Tuukka Rask to earn his place among the elite goalies. For Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg and played defense on it for a full minute to help the Bruins win Game 3. For everyone who was hurt by the Boston Marathon Bombings a couple of months ago. And for so many other reasons. We won it in 1939 and 1941, then 1970 and 1972, now everything is aligned for it to be 2011 and 2013. We must win the Stanley Cup, and so we will.
While we don’t know who our opponent will be yet in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Blackhawks are up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals against the Kings and they play their next game at home tonight. So it’s looking like they will win the West. They are a good team, and they had a truly great regular season, but I’ve seen them struggle when they shouldn’t in these playoffs. They even almost lost to the Red Wings in the previous round. It game down to overtime in Game 7. So they are not as good as they look on paper, much like the Penguins, and especially against the Bruins. This Bruins team is just looking great.. even better than our 2011 championship team. There are so many reasons why they should be able to win. Yet I think the way we rolled through the Penguins is proof enough that we can win it all. The Finals will be tough, don’t doubt that, but Bruins fans should feel very confident in their team. Still, no matter what happens, remember, you must always..
Here are some videos from Game 4:
Extended Game 4 highlights (HD):
Short Game 4 highlights (SD):
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz at the game (invited by Shawn Thornton):
Daniel Paille knocks Sidney Crosby to the ice:
Tuukka Rask makes a great stick check against Chris Kunitz:
Brad Marchand starts a scrum / Beau Bennett’s dirty hit to Torey Krug’s mouth causing a big cut:
Adam McQuaid scores the game-winning goal with a laser slapshot:
Milan Lucic tosses Deryk Engelland to the ice with one arm:
Daniel Paille gets a breakaway and a good scoring chance:
Bruins survive insane last two minutes / team handshakes / Bruins receive the Prince of Wales Trophy:
Bruins and Penguins shake hands after the Bruins win the East:
Bruins get awarded the Prince of Wales Trophy for winning the East:
Thanks for reading,