BOSTON — The Boston Bruins’ stunning run against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins is complete.
Adam McQuaid scored the lone goal 5:01 into the third period and Tuukka Rask turned in another stellar effort, stopping 26 shots for his second shutout of the series as the Bruins beat the Penguins 1-0 to complete a four-game sweep of the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston will be playing for its second Stanley Cup championship in two years.
The game ended with a flurry of Penguins shots with Rask, who frustrated Pittsburgh throughout, grabbing the last one at the horn with his glove and batted it into the air with his stick after it was over.
Boston dominated the top-seeded Penguins, outscoring them 12-2 in the series and holding down a team that averaged more than four goals per game through the opening two rounds.
On the winning goal, Brad Marchand made a perfect drop pass to McQuaid, who unloaded a shot from the point that tipped off Pittsburgh winger Jarome Iginla and sailed over the glove of goalie Tomas Vokoun.
About a minute after McQuaid’s goal, the crowd broke into brief chants of: ‘We want the Cup!’ The same cheer was heard ringing through TD Garden during Boston’s run to the 2011 title.
The Bruins nearly increased their lead with just under eight minutes to play when Jaromir Jagr clanged a shot off the crossbar on the power play. Less than two minutes later, Daniel Paille had a clean breakaway but missed wide left.
But that was all Boston needed with the red-hot Rask and a team that relied on tough defense.
Iginla, who vetoed a proposed trade-deadline deal to Boston because he wanted a chance to win the Cup with Sidney Crosby and company, will now have to live with a summer of what ifs. What if he came to Boston? What if he left McQuaid’s shot alone?
The opening period didn’t have the usual hard hitting and feistiness that was a large part of the first three games, but it returned early in the second when Penguins winger Beau Bennett sent Bruins defenseman Torey Krug flying into the boards with a clean, hard hit.
Boston nearly broke the scoreless tie early in the second when winger Kaspars Daugavins took a pass from linemate Rich Peverley in the left circle, cut in front and had Vokoun beaten but slipped a wrist shot off the left post.
After the Bruins killed off Marchand’s interference penalty midway into the period, the Bruins had a power play when Brenden Morrow tripped Marchand.
Boston had two decent chances, but its best came about a minute after the power play when Tyler Seguin was robbed by Vokoun’s glove stop at the end of a two-on-one break.
For about six minutes, play was nearly non-stop with each team getting a few decent scoring chances. Pittsburgh’s best was when Rask made a right pad stop on Crosby’s shot from the bottom of the left circle.
The Penguins had one final good chance late in the period when defenseman Paul Martin had an open lane on a shot from the right point, but Rask dropped to make a pad save.
And the teams entered the third like they did the second — tied 0-0.
The Bruins had the first shot on goal of the game in the opening minute and then the Penguins’ newly found defensive style took over for a long stretch of the first period. Pittsburgh clogged the middle of the ice, halting a number of attempted breakouts and had Bruins defensemen scrambling to move the puck around in their own end for lengthy periods of play.
Crosby had the best chance of the first period, nearly eight minutes in, when he collected a short pass in the middle, broke in alone and fired a wrister that Rask stopped with his right shoulder.
The teams left after the first period scoreless for just the fourth period of this series.
NOTES: Bruins winger Gregory Campbell, who suffered a broken leg blocking a shot in Game 3, was on the press-box level and got a loud ovation when they showed highlights of his block, his continued effort on the ice during a short-handed situation while he was injured and then upstairs. ...
The Bruins had the parents of Krystle Campbell, who died after injuries suffered during the Boston Marathon bombings, as the banner captains on the ice before the game. ...
David Krejci entered the game leading the playoffs in points (21 goals, nine assists). ...
Tyler Kennedy, a healthy scratch for the last two games, was back in the lineup and C Joe Vitale was scratched. ...
Daugavins took Campbell’s spot in the lineup and on the fourth line. ...
The Penguins have been swept just twice the previous 47 times they were down 0-3. ...
The Penguins’ notes had an interesting highlight of an item called ‘Past Precedent,’ mentioning the last team to hold a 3-0 lead and not advance — the 2010 Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers. ...
Red Sox DH David Ortiz was in a luxury box waving a yellow towel. Boston’s game against the Angels was rained out earlier in the day.