How else can you describe what just unfolded in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals? The Boston Bruins, the same Bruins who were ten minutes from heading home for the summer in the very first round of the postseason, just swept the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A stacked Penguins roster goes home empty handed. The Bruins are on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Here’s what we learned from the most unlikely sweep you’ll ever see.
Tuukka Rask just earned a lot of zeroes on his new contract.
Four games, two goals allowed. That’s Rask’s stat line from the Eastern Conference Finals. He faced arguably the most talented roster any goalie would face in this postseason, and they only scored twice.
With that, I think we can finally stop with the Tim Thomas comparisons.
Yes, Thomas was a god for two months in 2011. But Rask just made the biggest statement of his career. He shut the door on a juggernaut.
David Krejci was the Conn Smythe favorite coming into this series. As much as he’s earned that right, Rask has to be on the verge of jumping him in the ranks if he hasn’t already.
Most importantly, Rask’s upcoming summer as a restricted free agent just got a little more intriguing. I’d like to think the Bruins are going to be smart enough to drop a truck load of money on his front yard in a couple weeks.
Who honestly could have predicted a Stanley Cup Finals berth for the Bruins?
Come on, don’t pretend you saw this coming.
Boston was a mess on ice for the latter half of this season. They collapsed during third periods. They couldn’t string together any momentum. And they couldn’t score to save their lives.
Just weeks ago, they were written off as a bunch of choke artists on the verge of being blown up.
That team is now four wins away from hockey’s greatest prize.
And wouldn’t you know it, they might even be favorites. They’re playing better than anyone left in the playoffs. One loss in nine games, including four straight against everyone’s favorite to win the Cup.
But even though only the most biased fans actually picked this result, you won’t hear anyone complaining in the streets of Boston tonight. Two Cup Finals in two years? Yeah, we’ll take that.
Pittsburgh’s stars astoundingly go quiet.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and James Neal. What’s the similarity between these four players? Well, they’re the men Pittsburgh counts on to be the superstars. What else? Not one of them notched a single point.
Think about that. These guys are some of the most talented hockey players in the world. They can score at will from practically any inch of the ice. And not one of them had any legitimate stat to their name in this series.
Where do the Penguins go from here? You hate to pile on a team, but you also can’t help but think the entire Pittsburgh fan base is embarrassed by the fact that they couldn’t do anything productive for four straight games. They didn’t have the lead for one second in four games.
But you know what? Who cares? Let the Penguins deal with it. The Bruins have a Stanley Cup to play for.