BostonBruins.com - After Tuukka Rask had gloved the final shot, the horn had sounded, the Bruins had swarmed, and the handshake line with the Pittsburgh Penguins had been complete, Captain Zdeno Chara skated over to accept the Prince of Wales Trophy, affirming their feat of becoming Eastern Conference Champions.
And just as in 2011, Zee brought his entire team over for the first picture. He would not be the only one standing next to the NHL's Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly for the official photo that will be filed somewhere in the archives. Considering his effort in the dying seconds to somehow get a behind-the-back glove save on Evgeni Malkin's shot on heading towards a wide open net, Chara deserved the moment.
But still, as the Boston faithful chanted "We want the Cup! We want the Cup!" he had his teammates gather 'round.
The back story, of course, is that in 2011, Chara had mentioned to Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi before Game Seven against Tampa Bay, that he wanted to do a team picture with the trophy after they won, as he didn't think it was appropriate for him to be the one posing on his own.
BOSTON, MA - On Sunday morning, the Bruins were back to work at TD Garden for practice with the knowledge that they would be now be facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Hawks took down the defending champ LA Kings in double overtime, with Patrick Kane's capping off his hat trick.
Game One begins this Wednesday, June 12, in Chicago, with Game Two slated for Saturday. The series will then shift back to Boston for Games Three and Four on Monday, June 17, and Wednesday, June 19. All games are set for 8 p.m. ET.
Chicago may have been on the verge of clinching their second berth to the Final in the past four seasons, after reaching the pinnacle in 2010, but Captain Zdeno Chara was getting in his rest to prepare for the Final.
Following Sunday's practice, Big Zee was asked by a reporter if it was nice to see the Chicago-LA game end, and know that he'll be able to get started right away (instead of the week lay-off like both the B's and Pens had before the Conference Final).
BostonBruins.com - Tuukka Rask was near perfect against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins' netminder saved 134 of the 136 shots directed on his goal through a four-game series sweep of Pittsurgh, sending his team to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three years. Though, it was his first time between the pipes for such a feat - and he proved what he and his teammates had known along, and have preached on countless occasions.
Rask is a game-changer. And in this series, he was the difference maker.
In Game One, he recorded his first career playoff shutout in the Bruins' 3-0 win that would set the tone for the series. In Game Four, he stoned Pittsburgh's top guns once again, letting his team finally put out to a 1-0 lead they would never surrender in the final 20 minutes. When the "We want the Cup!" chants fro the Garden faithful had subsided, the "Eastern Conference Champions" flashing around the arena dimmed down, the Bruins outscored their favored opponent 12-2.
BostonBruins.com - The Bruins have punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Now all they have to do is await their opponent, while Chicago and Los Angeles grind out their Western Conference series. The 'Hawks currently have the 3-1 series lead, with Game Five set for tonight.
It wasn't easy. But the the Bruins managed to sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins - the first time such a feat has happened since 1979, allowing them only two goals to their 12 in the process. The B's have now won nine of their past 10 games.
Under General Manager Peter Chiarelli, his club now has won nine playoff series since 2008. The only two teams above them are Pittsburgh and Detroit with 10 apiece.
With the Black & Gold taking a well-deserved off day Saturday following the 1-0 shutout of the Penguins, the B's GM held media availability at TD Garden to discuss his team's performance through the first three series, heading into the Finals.
BostonBruins.com - All it took was one goal for the Boston Bruins to be lifted into their Stanley Cup Finals appearance in the past three years.
In a game of inches, it took a full team effort. From the diving efforts, the blocked shots, the game-changing saves.
But, in Game Four against the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden, with a sweep on the line, all it took was the rising shot of an unlikely candidate.
A 26-year-old from Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, and his blast of a shot from inside the blueline.
The Bruins have another chance at a Stanley Cup and the series-clincher in a tight-as-nails 1-0 game came off the stick of defenseman Adam McQuaid. His second career playoff goal, second this postseason.
BostonBruins.com - At the end of the regular season, Tyler Seguin was third on the Bruins in points with 32. He found the back of the net 16 times and assisted on 16 goals. His plus-23 rating was tied for first on the team and seventh in the league.
In the playoffs, regular season stats don't matter. But in this case, they frame the picture of a Bruins' forward who wants to score, but just hasn't been able to find the back of the net.
Heading into Game Four tonight at TD Garden, with the Bruins having the upper hand and the chance to close out their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Seguin has one goal and three assists in 15 playoff games.
The 21-year-old hadn't produced a point in the playoffs until playing a big role in Patrice Bergeron's overtime winner in "The Comeback."
Since that Game Seven of the first round against Toronto, Seguin has been playing on the third line. Jaromir Jagr had slotted in alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Beginning with that game, the forwards new linemates became Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly.
BostonBruins.com - Kaspars Daugavins is ready.
It hurt to watch from up top as Gregory Campbell staggered with a broken leg into passing lines to finish his shift on the penalty kill - his teammate laying it all on the line.
With Campbell now out for the rest of the playoffs, it leaves a hole.
"Like every other team, you have to find ways to fill it, some of it will be by other bodies, some of it will be by other guys stepping in," Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien said following the team's morning skate prior to Game Four.
All players will have to step up. And it will be Daugavins stepping in.
"I’m ready to jump in, and I’m excited for the opportunity," said the forward, who took morning rushes on the left wing, with Rich Peverley shifted to center and Tyler Seguin on the right wing (Chris Kelly was centering Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton on the Merlot Line).
BOSTON, MA - The Bruins held pregame skate Friday morning in preparation for Game Four tonight at TD Garden. Boston, of course, has the chance to sweep the Penguins on home ice, as they lead the series three games to none following Patrice Bergeron's winner 15:19 into the second overtime early Thursday morning.
Gregory Campbell is out for the remainder of the postseason following his gutsy shift in Game Three in which he suffered a broken leg (right fibula) after blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin and continuing to kill the penalty for the next 45 seconds. The video has made its rounds, showing what has made Campbell such a warrior on this team since the day he arrived.
"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there. He brings a lot. It's when you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left," said Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien, when addressing the media pregame.
"Like every other team, you have to find ways to fill it, some of it will be by other bodies, some of it will be by other guys stepping in."
BostonBruins.com - Gregory Campbell. Need I say more?
By now, you've watched the shift. You've seen him lay down his body in front of an Evgeni Malkin slap shot, helping keep his team's penalty kill perfect in the series with the game knotted at 1-1 past the eight minute mark of the second period.
Before Patrice Bergeron could score 15:19 into double overtime to give the Bruins a 3-0 series lead, there was Campbell, the gritty, all-heart player that he is, hobbling for more than 45 seconds, with what has turned out to be a broken leg. Yes, that's right, a broken leg (right fibula).
He had his stick in hand, and tried to grab for his glove, pain writhing in his face. He got in the passing lane of Malkin, hobbled, grabbed his glove. Swatted at the puck, stayed in position.
BostonBruins.com - It was just past midnight in Boston. The Garden crowd stood on their feet all the way into double overtime. How could you be tired when the battlers in front of you playing 90-plus minutes of all-or-nothing hockey were willing themselves to be the first to find the back of the net? The ooh's and ahh's were a plenty and the adrenaline a pumpin'.
If we're talking about "will," then it's no surprise that at 15:19 into the fifth period of playoff hockey, it was overtime hero Patrice Bergeron finding a way to get the will the puck past Tomas Vokoun, lifting the Black & Gold to the 2-1 win, and 3-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But, there's no irony there. Bergeron always finds a way.
He found a way in Game Seven against Toronto, taking the B's from a disappointing first-round exit, to one of the greatest comeback in history. He tied it with 51 seconds to go; he sent his team into the second round with the winner in extra time. In Game One against New York, he perfectly set up Brad Marchand back door for the overtime-winner, and the momentum hasn't let up.