From Gregory Campbell to Jaromir Jagr, the Bruins have bought in
The enduring image (so far) of the 2013 NHL playoffs took place Wednesday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. Bruins center Gregory Campbell’s blocked shot on Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin, which resulted in a broken leg, was the talk of the sporting world, not just in hockey circles. You’d be hard-pressed to find a singular play that better sums up all the elements that make the quest for the Stanley Cup so special. It’s hard to overshadow a double-overtime game-winner by Patrice Bergeron that gave Boston a 3-0 series lead over heavily-favored Pittsburgh, but Campbell’s ability to hop around on one leg for 50 seconds while the Penguins were on the power play was truly THE moment (all the while the crowd chanting, Campbell!, Campbell!’).
Campbell and Jaromir Jagr never would have been linked before the latter was traded to Boston this season. Campbell is a nice role player on the fourth line that could probably play on a higher line for many teams while Jagr is a certain Hall of Famer still hanging around at age 41. The Bruins didn’t really know what they’d get out of Jagr in terms of defense when they obtained him from the Stars but they’ve been pleasantly surprised by his effort in all three zones (not just the offensive end).
“Jagr is having fun with our group,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien after Game 3. “Players want to be a part of it and he’s willing to do what it takes which doesn’t go unnoticed. He’s doing whatever’s asked of him.”
So there was Jagr, muscling 26-year-old Malkin off the puck near the benches in double overtime Wednesday. He relayed it to Brad Marchand, who found Bergeron for the redirect past Tomas Vokoun, a highlight reel goal to end the longest game in this postseason. His goal-scoring touch has deserted him (0 in the postseason) but Jagr is still finding ways to make his presence felt with a pair of assists in Game 3. It was a play that Campbell would have made and it showed how much the Bruins are all competing with a sole purpose.
The B’s will look to close out Pittsburgh Friday night at TD Garden (8 p.m., NBCSN).
Pens offensively deprived: With just two goals in the series (almost 11 full periods), it’s not hard to figure out why top-seeded Pittsburgh is one loss away from the end of its season. Tuukka Rask (career-high 53 saves in Game 3) has been superb and the Bruins’ defense has been airtight: Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jarome Iginla and James Neal have combined for zero points. As it stands, Matt Cooke (1 assist) has more points than those four players combined.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate