Good luck trying to sleep now.
In what will surely be be remembered as another classic game in team history, the Boston Bruins just thrilled an entire city in Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals with a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in double overtime.
In other news, at least 100,000 citizens of Boston are checking into local hospitals with heart attack symptoms.
Here are a few things we learned while coming down from a game that was almost as stunning as the fact that the Bruins are now up 3-0 against Pittsburgh:
Seriously, there can’t be anyone who’s still doubting Tuukka Rask now. In a word — sensational. That was Rask tonight.
These weren’t the sloppy Penguins from Game 2; they weren’t even the bad luck bunch from Game 1. No, this was the Pittsburgh team Boston has been expecting all week. The Penguins looked legitimately revived throughout this game, as if it would take a miracle to stop them.
And that miracle was wearing number 40.
Rask played what may not only be his best game of the year, but what might be the best he’s ever been a part of, recording 53 saves. Read it again: 53 saves against this Pittsburgh team.
As the overtimes went on, you could tell that the frustration from the Penguins not getting anything past the Bruins netminder was mixing with pure exhaustion. After the Penguins owned the second and third periods, the ice overwhelmingly tilted for Boston during the extra time. The biggest reason for this was Rask shutting the door left and right. The only thing missing was a Dikembe Mutombo finger-wave.
There’s no doubt whatsoever; Rask not only won that game for Boston, he may have just broken Pittsburgh completely.
On the offensive side of things for the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron may just be this year’s Nathan Horton.
Everyone remembers how pivotal Horton was to Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup run, scoring some of the most memorable game-winners in the team’s history. Well, this year it looks like Bergeron is trying to take that duty off his hands.
Already a hero for his game-tying and series-ending goals in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this postseason, the Bruins assistant captain added another notch to his belt with a goal 15 minutes into the second overtime.
Breaking up ice after Jaromir Jagr‘s neutral zone interception, Bergeron took a feed from Brad Marchand and deflected it past Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun. And just like that, in a game where the Penguins were clearly the better team, they now find themselves staring at an 0-3 series hole.
David Krejci may be the current Boston favorite to win a Conn Smythe, but both Rask and Bergeron are hot on his tail.
Lastly, for the Bruins, winning Game 4 is a must. Nobody picked Boston to sweep this series — at least no one who wasn’t an overwhelming homer. But, that’s exactly what the Bruins can do Friday night. Its time for Boston to finally show off some killer instinct. They had the New York Rangers prepped for a sweep, but fumbled their way out of it.
And we all know how dire the situation got with the Leafs after going up 3-1.
The thing is, those teams combined aren’t as talented as Pittsburgh. For that reason alone, the Bruins need to finish this series off in Game 4. If there’s any team remaining in the postseason capable of rallying from down 3-0, its the Penguins. There’s just too much talent on their roster. It’s talent that hasn’t shown up in three games, but this is beyond the point.
On the other hand, if there’s any team in the entire league who knows how dangerous the combination of a series lead and outright cockiness can be, its Boston.
I feel like this subject has come up in each of the past three series now, but its never been more important. Theses Bruins — the same Bruins who were practically unwatchable just a month ago, now have the most dangerous team in hockey hanging on by a thread.
One more win, and they shock the hockey world. A chance to play for the Stanley Cup and a chance to become a hockey dynasty all starts with one final victory in this series.
Does anything else really need to be said?