Game 4 came down to goaltending and simple, smart hockey. The Bruins did everything in their power to come back from game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and have been on a rampage ever since. Tonight they performed what no one expected or thought could be done as they swept the Bruins with Rask stopping 158 of the last 160 shots he faced. The Boston Bruins are the 2013 Eastern Conference Champions and have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.
While the Bruins found themselves almost instantly on the penalty kill with birthday boy Milan Lucic in the box for a questionable (at best) unsportsmanlike conduct, they were able to contain the Penguins through the first frame. Despite efforts from Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby, Rask once again stood tall and kept the game under the Bruins control. Evgeni Malkin, who tallied 21 shots in Wednesday night’s game, was completely blocked out as he failed to manage a single shot at Rask. Through the first twenty the Bruins led on the shot clock with 11 shots to the Penguins 8, but the tie remained deadlocked at zero.
The second period brought much more emotion and intensity as the two teams came out of the locker rooms roaring. The Penguins initiated the first shot on net of the period, but the Bruins had the best opportunity as they rung the post behind Vokoun. Shortly after Torey Krug would get hit from behind, resulting in a bloody mess of a lip that he would get stitched up and be ready for his next shift. A shift where he caressed the puck past Tyler Kennedy and created a scoring opportunity of his own showing the rookies watching, how it’s done. As the clock winded down, the intensity continued to escalate, with the score coming down to goaltending. The Bruins had numerous two-on-one opportunities, thanks to Kaspars Daugavins and company, but were unable to convert. The Penguins surged with a thirty second push to end the second, but through forty the score remained at zero.
Brad Marchand may have taken a few unnecessary penalties in the second frame, but he redeemed himself just five minutes in to the third frame as he pivoted and set up Adam McQuaid for a top shelf shot past Tomas Vokoun for the first goal of the game. Just past the halfway marker the Bruins found themselves on the power play as Kris Letang went to the box for tripping. As they worked the clock down, Jaromir Jagr had one of the greatest opportunities as he rung the cross bar, hard. Unfortunately, that was the only opportunity on the man advantage they would get as Nathan Horton took his own seat in the box for holding. Despite turning into a penalty kill, Daniel Paille used his agility and speed to work his way through the neutral zone and create a shorthanded opportunity one-on-one with Vokoun that went high and left into the boards behind the netminder. With the clock winding down the crowd began to rise to their feet and chant, “We want the Cup,’ as the Bruins clung to their 1-0 lead.
As the clock ticked down the final five minutes the Penguins began to get even more visibly frustrated than they were in Games 1 and 2. With 1:35 remaining Tomas Vokoun hit the bench for an extra attacker for Pittsburgh. Though they applied the pressure the Bruins held their ground and performed the unthinkable as they swept the Penguins in four games straight and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.