BOSTON -- CSNNE Bruins insider Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the Bruins' 1-0 series-clinching victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night:
GOLD STAR: There haven’t been too many times in his career when Adam McQuaid has been handed the glory role, so it’s extremely satisfying to watch an unassuming, hard-working hockey player get to be front and center at such an important time in the Stanley Cup playoffs. McQuaid rifled a shot through defenders and would-be shot blockers after a nice pass from Brad Marchand, and ripped it top left shelf to beat Tomas Vokoun for the game-winning goal in the third period. McQuaid had a couple of blocked shots and a couple of shots on net for the game in a modest 10:01 of ice time, and saved his best for the only goal of the game. It was McQuaid’s second goal of the playoffs, and continues a really nice run in the postseason after the 6-foot-5 defenseman grinding his way through a challenging regular season.
BLACK EYE: Evgeni Malkin managed just one shot in 20:06 of ice time in a game to extend his season, and didn’t look like a player hell-bent on climbing back out of the hole that had been dug for his team. He looked more like a guy that had played as well as he possibly could in Game 3, and still lost. That seemed to bring on resignation and an unwillingness to pay any price to win, or as some would like to call it, quitting. Malkin was Pittsburgh’s best forward in the first three games of the series, but he was one of their worst in the Game 4 where their season ended. It’s amazing that during this playoff run, Phil Kessel showed more in the first round than Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin did at any point in their series against the Bruins.
TURNING POINT: Zdeno Chara made a Michael Ryder-esque glove save on a shot into an empty net from the stick of Evgeni Malkin in the closing seconds of the game, and Tuukka Rask squeezed a Jarome Iginla shot right at the end of regulation to preserve the tie. That was as frantic or sustained as the Pittsburgh attack became as the final minutes ticked down, and the Bruins were up to the challenge while completely crushing the Penguins hopes that they could survive to fight another day.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand was a busy guy in Game 4 while taking a couple of penalties, and playing with fire once the Penguins power play got onto the ice. But he also erased those mistakes with a couple of big plays, including drawing a hooking call on Brenden Morrow as soon as he got out of the penalty box in the second period after determinedly taking a puck straight to the net. Then in the third period faced with a chance to just dump the puck in the corner on a line change, Marchand circled back around and found Adam McQuaid as the trailer at the high point. A perfect pass set up McQuaid’s one-timer, and once again a Bruins forward had found a trailing defenseman for a scoring chance. It was Marchand’s ninth assist and 13th point in 16 games during the current B’s playoff run.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 points and a minus-22 – the combined production of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, James Neal and Kris Letang in a four-game beating of the Pittsburgh Penguins, courtesy of the Boston Bruins.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I've been here for six years…I think I've been fired five times. Those kinds of [criticism] really are not important to me. What's important is results. As long as the people I work for appreciate what we do, that's what matters. At the end of the day winning hockey games for our fans and for the city is what matters to me.” –Claude Julien, when asked if he got any satisfaction from his defensive system working to perfection against the Penguins.