BOSTON – The Bruins’ defense shut down the potent Pittsburgh Penguins throughout the NHL Eastern Conference finals. Then a Boston defenseman scored the goal that sealed the stunning sweep.
Adam McQuaid scored early in the third period, Tuukka Rask posted his second shutout of the best-of-seven series and the Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final with a 1-0 victory in Game 4 on Friday night.
The fourth-seeded Bruins dominated the series and held the high-scoring Penguins to two goals.
“I think first and foremost, we’re obviously trying to be solid defensively,” McQuaid said of the defensemen. “It obviously feels good. It feels good to be able to contribute that way when you don’t normally. You look at so many great efforts we had from guys. The last 10 minutes of the game, guys were all over the ice, doing whatever it took to preserve that goal.”
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Boston will face either the Chicago Blackhawks or defending champion Los Angeles Kings when the Bruins shoot for their second NHL title in three years.
Chicago leads the Western Conference final series 3-1 and can advance with a home victory Saturday night.
If the Blackhawks get there, it will set up the first Final matchup of Original Six NHL franchises since 1979.
The Penguins’ season ended swiftly as the league’s highest-scoring team got no points in the series from offensive standouts Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“I didn’t expect to go out four straight,” Crosby said. “But the last couple games, I thought we deserved better.
“ Unfortunately, we didn’t find a way to regroup after dropping those two at home.”
McQuaid scored at 5:01 of the final period on a 45-foot slap shot over the glove of goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
The Penguins felt they were “put together to win the Stanley Cup.
“That’s our expectation from Day One,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “You’re going to look at this as a missed opportunity.”