Boston completed a series sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 1-0 win on Friday, booking a place in the Stanley Cup finals thanks to Adam McQuaid’s goal early in the third period.
The Bruins won the Eastern Conference finals 4-0 and held the high-scoring Penguins to just two goals in the stunning sweep.
Boston will face either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Los Angeles Kings when the Bruins shoot for their second Stanley Cup title in three years.
Chicago lead the Western Conference series 3-1 and would have advanced to the finals with a home win last night. If the Blackhawks get there, it will set up the first finals matchup of Original Six NHL franchises since 1979.
The Penguins’ season ended swiftly and shockingly as the league’s highest-scoring team got no points in the series from offensive stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“He is the best player in the world,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said of Crosby. “We did a good job with that.”
McQuaid scored at 5:01 of the final period on a 45-foot slap shot from the right over the glove of goalie Tomas Vokoun.
That led to loud chants of “We want the Cup!” from the crowd.
The top-seeded Penguins were trying to overcome both the disciplined defense of the fourth-seeded Bruins and history. Only three teams had lost a series after winning the first three games.
The last was the Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pittsburgh, which never led in any of the four games against the Bruins, were swept for the first time in 47 series.
The last team to do it to the Penguins was Boston in 1979.
Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask was solid again with 26 saves, but did not have to stop many challenging shots. His last save came with his glove at the final buzzer on Matt Niskanen’s shot from 40 feet.
“He has been the reason why we’re here,” Bergeron said of Rask. “We just played our game the whole time. We put a lot of pressure in their zone.”
The Penguins had been shut out just twice in their previous 147 games before being blanked twice in the four games against the Bruins. Pittsburgh lost Game 1 at home 3-0.
Boston’s chances of making the Stanley Cup finals seemed remote when they trailed Toronto by three goals in the third period of Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs.
“It seems like a lifetime ago,” Lucic said. “Without that Game 7, to come back and win it, if it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t be here right now.”