It took a long time. A very long time, but the Boston Bruins are just one game away from heading to the Stanley Cup Finals after Patrice Bergeron's goal in the 2nd OT won it for the B's, 2-1.
Game 3 started off with a very emotional moment that seemed to rally the Boston faithful. Officer Richard Donohue, who was injured in a gunfight with the Boston Marathon suspect, rolled his wheelchair onto the ice and passionately waved the Boston Strong flag.
It was a hard fought game by both squads with some stellar goaltending by Tuukaa Rask and Tomas Vokoun. Rask made 53 saves and Vokoun made 38 saves in a game where you cannot fault the goaltenders one bit.
It took the Pittsburgh Penguins three games to come alive, but this was by far the Pens best game of the series. Pittsburgh played with a lot of anger and ferocity and it kept the Pens in it all the way. After giving up six goals in a Game 2 loss, the Penguin defense tightened up and erased a lot of the Bruins scoring chances.
Game 3 started a lot like Game 2 did with an early goal. Just 1:42 in the game, David Krejci snuck one in past Tomas Vokoun and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Penguins. It was, but it was simply because they seemed to solve the Bruins from there on out. In the second period, Chris Kunitz tied it a 1-1 and that was all the scoring in regulation.
Gregory Campbell left the game in the second period after blocking a rocket from Evgeni Malkin. Campbell would finish his shift, but left after and did not return. No word on the severity of Campbell's injury or if he can go for the potential series clinching Game 4.
The overtime periods was when the game really started to heat up. Both sides had excellent scoring chances hitting the post and having to have the goaltenders make great saves to stay in the game. The players were clearly running out of steam throughout the overtime periods with Evgeni Malkin doubled over and the Bruins making a mental error in the 2nd OT session with a too many men on the ice penalty, the second of the game.
Finally in the 2nd OT period, who else but Patrice Bergeron finally ended the longest playoff game this season when he put one past Tomas Vokoun. The goal was Bergeron's second OT goal this playoffs, the first coming in the miracle comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round. It is Bergeron's third career OT playoff goal tying him with Mel Hill and Terry O'Reilly for most in team history.
Brad Marchand said of Bergeron,
"He's such a clutch player and he's been huge for us these playoffs. And he stepped up again tonight. We're lucky to have him."
This is the second straight playoffs that the Penguins have dug themselves into a 3-0 hole. Last season, they were able to force the Philadelphia Flyers to a sixth game before losing.
The Bruins will try to clinch their second Stanley Cup Finals berth in three years on Friday night at the TD Garden.