Bruins defeat Penguins in double overtime, take 3-0 series lead
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BOSTON — Brooks Orpik is the conscience of the Penguins.
He has been with them the longest, played the toughest brand of hockey for them, and defended the scoring areas with a blend of physicality and precision — always with passion.
This one will hurt him most.
His man — center Patrice Bergeron — scored a goal at 15:19 of the second overtime to essentially end this best-of-seven series, which the Boston Bruins lead, 3-0, after a 2-1 victory at TD Garden on Wednesday.
“I think everybody can realize how we felt and I felt,” said Orpik, who lives in Boston during the offseason and was rocked by a blow from Bruins winger Milan Lucic two shifts before the winning goal. “You feel like you let 19 guys down. It's not a good feeling.”
The Penguins feel better about their play heading into Game 4 on Friday night.
There is only one reason to feel good about their chances of returning to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009.
Only three teams have rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win, but many Boston players were on the Bruins club that blew a 3-0 lead against Philadelphia in 2010.
Perhaps that is why Penguins winger James Neal wasted no opportunity after Game 3 — he said it at least five times — to insist “there is no quit in this group.”
There was none in Game 3.
Goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 shots.
The Penguins denied each of the five power plays awarded to the Bruins, including two in the overtimes.
Captain Sidney Crosby took 38 faceoffs, winning 21 — including 12 of 18 against Bergeron, the best on the draw in the sport.
Also during the second overtime, Crosby, who was playing with a surgically repaired jaw and only a year removed from a lengthy concussion saga, played an inspired shift — nearly scoring — without his helmet.
Center Evgeni Malkin was credited with 10 shots and he attempted another 11, though seven were blocked.
Malkin also was stripped of the puck by Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr — the second-most accomplished player in Penguins history — to set up the sequence that led to Bergeron's winning goal.
Malkin's facial expression said more than the words he could not muster after Game 3. Breathing deep, his lips pursed and his eyes widened. He looked as though he wanted to move Earth.
The Penguins need an earthquake to beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who has stopped 107 of 109 shots from an opponent that entered this series averaging 4.27 goals per game. Rask made 53 saves in Game 3, including 13 on the Penguins' six power plays.
The Penguins are 0 for 12 on the power play against the Bruins.
They will think about that Thursday. They were still thinking about a 6-1 loss in Game 2 after this defeat.
“Unfortunately we're kind of comparing Game 2, where we didn't have a chance,” Crosby said. “We gave away that one, so to speak. We did a much better job (in Game 3). We just need to trust and believe we can get this back to Pittsburgh.”
A Game 5 would be played Sunday at Consol Energy Center, if necessary. If not, a nucleus deemed destined to dominate its generation — the Penguins lost a competitive Cup Final in 2008, and won a rematch with Detroit in 2009 — will become the group that was swept from a playoff series.
No Penguins squad has had that happen since 1979.
The other option, of course, is making history.
“Of course it can be done,” Penguins forward Craig Adams said. “But it can't be done all at once. We beat this team three times this year. We know we can beat them. They played a good game tonight. So did we.
“The problem with dropping the first two (games) is that there is no margin for error.”
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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