Photo: USA Today

Photo: USA Today

It’s been 13 years since the city of Boston saw a playoff game with such length – in 1990 during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers, Boston found themselves defeated in a triple OT. While double OT was the case in Boston last evening, defeat was not, it was the type of playoff game that fans dream about.

Touted to be a “mortal lock” from the beginning of the season, Pittsburgh has found themselves in the middle of the Atlantic with an iceberg dead ahead come Friday, when they face Game 4 elimination. Yes, the Boston Bruins have found themselves up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals after a double OT goal from Patrice Bergeron that gave Boston the win during Game 3.

“We can’t get excited over 3 wins,” said Bergeron while donning the player of the game camouflage jacket. “Because we need 4.”

It has already been a long road to the Cup for Boston, after facing a first round exit and executing the comeback of the century, the team has been on their game. Now, they’re just one win away from advancing and trying to mirror the success they found during their 2011 run.

Injuries go glove and glove with the playoffs, but Boston is now faced with the task of skating forward without one of their most underrated players, Gregory “Soupy” Campbell. A key component to the “Merlot” line, Campbell sustained a broken right fibula during last night’s contest. Fans watched as Campbell continued to be an active member of the penalty killing until for a full 47 seconds after being injured. At the first available moment, Campbell made his way to the bench – while cheers of “Campbell” rained down to the ice. It wasn’t just the fans who recognized Campbell’s efforts.

“For what he went through, he showed a lot of guts to stay out there and to still try and play,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “Obviously it was a pretty serious injury, so that’s just the kind of player he is, and it doesn’t surprise me, it doesn’t surprise his teammates, but certainly it shows the character of that player, and that’s why we appreciate having him on our team.”

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It was a well fought game, while the Bruins out skated and outplayed Pittsburgh to open the series, the Penguins found their game shortly into the first period after a wrist shot from David Krejci at 1:42 giving Boston a 1-0 lead. Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz tied the game at 8:51 of the second. With the minutes winding down in the third period, neither team scored sending the game into OT. One OT wasn’t enough despite multiple chances on either end, it was, for once, a battle of the goaltenders. Vokun who has had a rocky start in the playoff net this series made a few big saves, but it was the play of Bruins Tuukka Rask that deserved game honors.

“Yeah, he [Rask] was great,” said Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron on his goaltender. “Again, we should say he’s been great all Playoffs, and he’s really given us the saves that we need and the energy, the momentum that we need in order to do the job in front of him.  They had some really good looks that we should have done a better job defensively, and he bailed us out.”

Stopping 53 of the 54 shots faced during the elongated game, Rask has been nothing short of perfection at a time when he’s needed most. Perhaps one of the strongest games of his career thus far from an outsiders perspective, the reality is that every game needs to be the best of a goaltenders career.

“I don’t rank them [games],” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. “It’s playoffs – every game is important, every win is important. That was probably the longest one.”

Long games make for tired legs and mental mistakes, through five periods of hockey, both teams stayed sharp. As the clock passed midnight in Boston, it was Patrice Bergeron who had everyone questioning if they were dreaming. With a tip in goal at 15:19 of the 2nd OT, from Marchand and Jagr – the always clutch forward sealed the Penguins fate.

While needed, rest is a luxury not afford to those chasing the cup. The Bruins will look to advance, while the Penguins will lace up to fight elimination – with so much on the line, physicality will be the name of the game come Friday for Game 4 in Boston. Puck drops at 8 pm.

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Winter was hooked on hockey by age 6, when she first witnessed a bench clearing brawl between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators. Growing from hockey fan to hockey player, Winter followed her passions by founding The Pink Puck. While she also loves fashion and the outdoors, hockey will always be her center ice. Email: winter@thepinkpuck.com Twitter: @Winter_Adams

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