Adam McQuaid the hero for the victors as Pittsburgh’s season ended.
Adam McQuaid’s third-period goal lifted the Boston Bruins to a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and into the NHL Stanley Cup finals.
The Bruins completed a four-game sweep of the Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals and, for the second time in three years, will fight for the NHL crown.
Boston will face either reigning NHL champions the Los Angeles Kings or the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Blackhawks hold a commanding 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.
Friday’s contest was scoreless until the third period, when the Bruins seized the lead at 5:01 of the frame.
Brad Marchand skated the puck down the left wing as both sides went for a line change.
Marchand separated himself from his defender and held a moment before sliding the puck to the slot, where McQuaid collected it and fired a big shot into the left corner of Tomas Vokoun’s net.
From there, Boston allowed just six shots on net.
“It feels good to contribute that way when you don’t normally,” said McQuaid, a defenseman who scored just his second goal and third point of the playoffs. “You look at so many great efforts we had from guys tonight. The last 10 minutes of the game, guys were all over the ice doing whatever it took to preserve that (lead).”
The Bruins, who beat Vancouver in seven games to win the title in 2011 — the most recent of the franchise’s six Stanley Cup crowns — displayed stalwart defence throughout the series, allowing just two goals to Pittsburgh’s high-powered offence.
Superstar captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a point in the series.
“Our guys left it all out there. Our guys played extremely hard and we didn’t come up with that goal,” said Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, whose team had lost by one goal — 2-1 in double over-time — in game three. “You have to give the Bruins a ton of credit for that.”
Boston goalie Tukka Rask notched his second shutout of the series on Friday, saving 26 shots.
Vokoun, who had impressed in the playoffs after taking over for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in the Penguins’ opening-round series against the Islanders, made 23 stops in what proved to be Pittsburgh’s final post-season game this year.