A masterful offensive display has unfolded in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, just not from the expected team.
Up 2-0 after scoring seven goals in the first two games, the Boston Bruins can close the cage on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season a little more Wednesday night in Game Three at TD Garden. A win also puts the Bruins in line to reach their second Stanley Cup Finals in three years.
Led by defenseman Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, and Dennis Seidenberg, Boston has completely shut down and pushed around the league’s top scoring offense. All three have the best plus-minus amongst Bruins defenseman in these playoffs, and are huge reason why Boston has kept up their third ranked defense from the regular season.
Goalie Tuukka Rask has also blocked 55-of-56 Pittsburgh shots for a .963 save percentage, and has given up two total goals in his last three games.
Even with maybe NHL’s best offensive duo in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their side, the Penguins offense has struggled mightily, with 12 giveaways in their 6-1 Game Two loss Monday.
Malkin began the playoffs with an eight-game point streak, but has since totaled two points in his last five games. Crosby is currently tied for third with seven goals in the playoffs.
Boston left wing Brad Marchand netted two goals in the first period of Game Two, and the Bruins built a 4-1 after the first twenty minutes. The 25-year-old doubled his goal output for the postseason in a single period.
Previously coasting through the best playoffs of his 14-year career, Penguins goalkeeper Tomas Vokoun was pulled after 16:31 minutes in Game Two, but is expected to start tonight according to KDKA in Pittsburgh. Vokoun was 6-1 before the two blowouts in this series.
Pittsburgh had outscored Ottawa 22-11 in five games in the previous round, including 13 goals to close out the serious, that firepower hasn’t been seen since.
The puck drops at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network, or watch a free live online stream at NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Boston is favored by 1.5 goals
Over/Under: 5.5 goals
Prediction: Pittsburgh 3-2