CSNNE Bruins insider Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night that gave Boston a 3-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference finals:
GOLD STAR: Who else but Tuukka Rask? He had the benefit of a couple posts, but the Bruins goaltender made 53 saves and didn’t blink when the Pittsburgh Penguins unrolled their “A” game and Evgeni Malkin generated 21 shot attempts. The Penguins had six power plays, and guys like James Neal, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz were all getting quality chances against the Bruins netminder. He was at his best in the second and third periods when the Penguins were outshooting the Bruins by a 29-15 margin, and he kept Pittsburgh to just a single goal on a defensive breakdown following a lost face-off for Patrice Bergeron. Bottom line: Rask stole Game 3 and is one of the reasons Boston is steamrolling the Penguins.
BLACK EYE: Jarome Iginla with one shot on net in 19:41 of ice time for the Penguins, and a complete non-factor in the series against the Bruins team that he spurned at the NHL trade deadline. The biggest contribution he made to the game was riling up David Krejci with an extended bit of trash-talking after a scrum in front of the net, but the words pack less punch when they’re not backed up with any action. One has to expect that Iginla is watching 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr with a lot of jealousy right now knowing he screwed this whole thing up. In the three games, Iginla is a minus-3 with four shots on net, and spent Wednesday night’s game on the third line after getting dropped there in place of Matt Cooke.
TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was surviving the third period when Boston’s legs looked tired and they were outshot 14-4 by a Penguins team that seemed to finding a reserve of energy. But that all changed in the extra sessions when the Bruins found their legs and recovered from a tough second period where they were killing penalties, and then lost their fourth-line center/penalty killer when Gregory Campbell went down with what looked like an ankle injury. Once they got over the third period hump, both teams looked about the same in both overtimes and it was anybody’s game to win.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jaromir Jagr skated 26:35 of ice time and blew a defensive assignment that led to the Chris Kunitz goal in the second period, but the 41-year-old made up for it with a handful of chances in overtime. The future Hall of Famer put it over the top, though, when he beat young Evgeni Malkin on a 50/50 puck battle in the neutral zone along the boards, and found a way to get the puck to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron as they rushed into the offensive zone. Marchand fed it to Bergeron and the rest was history, but it was Jagr that created the whole play by using his size and strength to teach the Penguins whippersnapper a lesson. It’s ridiculous to think some people were lining him for a healthy scratch in Game 2.
BY THE NUMBERS: 42:05 – the game-high ice time for Zdeno Chara, who logged a career-high and was one of a number of players for the Bruins that really paid the price to get Boston a win that pushes Pittsburgh right to the cliff.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was a hard fought game. Not too much scoring, but obviously a lot of specialty teams. A lot of big saves by both goalies. It was physical. Just a very hard fought game.” --Zdeno Chara, pretty effectively describing what everybody had just watched in a double-overtime time that puts Boston up 3-0 over the Penguins in the best-of-seven series.