Boston, MA – Patrice Bergeron's redirection with 4:41 remaining in double overtime sent the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals from TD Garden.
Jaromir Jagr won a battle along the left-wing boards in the neutral zone against Evgeni Malkin and fed ahead to Brad Marchand, who waited until Bergeron had a step on Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik before dishing across for the game-winning tip.
"We found a way, I guess. That's the only way you've got to look at it," said Bergeron. "It wasn't necessarily our best effort in the first 60 (minutes), but I thought we re-grouped well in overtime and we had some really good chances in the first overtime. We kept battling and said that we have to find a way somehow. We did in the second overtime."
David Krejci scored early in regulation for the Bruins, who now hold a commanding 3-0 series edge and can advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in three seasons with a win in Game 4 on home ice Friday.
Tuukka Rask was solid once again, stopping a playoff-high 53 shots for the win, as Boston halted a six-game home skid against the top seed in the conference.
Chris Kunitz tallied in the second period for the Penguins, who are one loss away from being dumped from the postseason by the Bruins for the first time since 1980.
Boston was also the last team to sweep Pittsburgh out of the playoffs, taking four straight in the quaterfinal round in 1979.
Tomas Vokoun acquitted himself well in defeat, making 38 saves, two days after being pulled from a 6-1 loss which saw him give up three goals on 12 shots in less than one period.
"The whole game we felt really comfortable with our play," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. "We felt like it was just a matter of time before we were going to get it. Unfortunately we didn't, they hung around and got one at the end."
The hosts took the lead just 1:42 after the opening faceoff. Milan Lucic picked off a weak clear along the left-wing boards inside the Pittsburgh zone, and fed behind the net for Krejci, who held the puck for five seconds before skating back over the goal line and unleashing a shot that deflected off a Pens defender and by Vokoun.
Pittsburgh finally squared the score with 8:51 played in the second, when Kunitz was left alone on the left side to one-time a backhand pass from Paul Martin over Rask.
Shots were 15-11 for the visitors in the middle 20 minutes, and both goaltenders saved their best work for the late stages.
Malkin was denied by Rask's left pad on a rush inside of four minutes left, and Vokoun did the same in the waning seconds off a Zdeno Chara point blast during a Boston power play.
The visitors racked up a 14-4 shot edge in the third period, slowly beginning to find their legs against a hesitant Bruins club which fumbled away a pair of power-play chances, but neither goaltender faltered.
Vokoun was sharp to deflect away a Nathan Horton breakaway chance with almost 2 1/2 minutes gone in the extra period, and had some luck thrown his way after Horton hit the right post from the left circle as the clock ticked up to eight minutes gone in OT.
Despite a golden chance to end it at the 3:47 mark of the fifth period, the Pens couldn't click on a Bruins bench minor penalty. Jarome Iginla's individual effort went awry when he fell over Rask after cutting in from the right wing with just over seven minutes played in the second OT.
Wednesday's result was the Bruins' first playoff overtime victory against the Penguins since a 5-4 OT decision in Game 2 of the Wales Conference finals on May 3, 1991 ... Rask's previous record for saves in one playoff contest was 45, set in both Games 3 and 4 of the first round at Toronto ... Boston hasn't recorded a four-game sweep since dispatching Philadelphia in the second round two years ago ... Pittsburgh hasn't won a playoff series after dropping two in a row at home to start since the 1996 Eastern quarterfinals against Washington, a six-game triumph ... Bruins forward Gregory Campbell left the game in the second period and did not return with an apparent leg injury suffered when he dove feet-first to stop a Malkin slap shot ... Chara led all players with 42:05 of ice time, while Kris Letang led all Penguins with 40:50 TOI.