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Bruins Aim to Sweep Pens in East Finals


After gliding through the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins have hit a brick wall in the form of the Boston Bruins. And now the Pens are up against a wall themselves.

The Bruins shut down the league’s most potent offense for the third consecutive game on Wednesday night, grabbing a stranglehold on the series and the East title with a 3-0 lead. Tonight, they take that lead into TD Garden with the chance to do the previously unthinkable – sweep the top-seeded Pens.

Shockingly – and to the dismay of many NHL bettors – everything has gone Boston’s way in this year’s East final. There’s likely no one that predicted both teams would be in their current situation and though many bettors are climbing on board the Bruins’ bandwagon as fast as they can, the Penguins are warning that they still have plenty of fight left and will not go away quietly.

“I think if you’re betting right now, you’re not betting on the Penguins down 3-0,” said Penguins forward Brandon Sutter, according to ESPN.com. “But we’re not going to quit. The percentages are, obviously, against us, but we’ve got a good team.”

The Pens showed some signs of their normal productive selves in game 3, as they were able to get 54 shots, but still couldn’t find the net, scoring just their second goal of the series in the 2-1 defeat. They know they can score, they just need to go back to the basics.

“We need to be the team who we believe we are and go back to what’s made us successful,” forward Matt Cooke said. “Obviously, the result wasn’t there, but the effort and determination and style of play was more like who we are.”

Meanwhile, the Bruins also understand they have to step their game up to eliminate Pittsburgh. Though they won game 3, they didn’t play particularly well through most of the game and will need to assert more of a killer instinct in game 4 to pull off the sweep.

We’ve got to play a better game,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “We might have won the game, but we’re certainly not pleased with the way we played. We know they played better, but I don’t think we did, and we’ve got to make sure we’re at the top of our game (today).”

Boston has proved to be a difficult match-up for the Penguins, but with the amount of talent on Pittsburgh’s side of the ice, it’s still hard to imagine the Pens getting swept, even though they’ve been outscored 11-2 in the first three games of the series.

Pittsburgh will also being playing with a reckless abandon, which may have helped them earlier in the series. We started to see the tide turn in game 3 and I expect the Pens will play even stronger in game 4. So, I’m liking the Pens to at least cover +1.5 goals tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised if they live to play another game.

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