After the Bruins’ 2-1 double overtime win in Game 3, general manager Peter Chiarelli peeled himself out of his suite on the ninth floor of TD Garden. Chiarelli had loosened the top button on his dress shirt. His tie was slack.
Double OT in the Eastern Conference finals can do that to even those who don’t play a single minute.
The Bruins grabbed a 3-0 series lead over the Penguins at the Garden. In double OT, after Wednesday had become Thursday, the oldest man on the ice made the strongest play.
At center ice, 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr stripped Evgeni Malkin of the puck. Jagr turned the other way and ignited the breakout. Seconds later, Patrice Bergeron tipped the puck past Tomas Vokoun to give the Bruins the win at 15:19 of the second extra session.
“In double OT, you have posts, big saves,” said Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. “It’s the type of game where you clash and bang heads. Win or lose, you come out and say you gave it your hardest.”
Bergeron was the overtime hero in Game 7 against Toronto in the opening round. Had it not been for Bergeron’s winning goal against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins would not have been in position to be one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins can close out the Penguins with a fourth straight win Friday night at the Garden.
Some of the numbers from Wednesday night’s game are mind-boggling. Zdeno Chara logged a game-high 42:05 of ice time. Malkin rattled a game-high 10 shots off Tuukka Rask. Milan Lucic landed eight hits, including a tooth-rattler on Brooks Orpik in double OT.
Jagr and Malkin jousted prior to the winning goal against the wall in front of the benches. Jagr appeared to get his stick into Malkin’s torso to help cause the turnover. He pushed the puck ahead to Brad Marchand, who had a step on Deryk Engelland.
“He’s got that experience to always be at the right place on the ice,” Bergeron said of Jagr. “On that play, that’s a perfect example. He’s buying in. He wants to help any way he can. That play right there, we don’t get a goal if he doesn’t make that play.”
At the same time, Bergeron saw his linemate streaking down the left wing. Bergeron went one-on-one against Orpik. Bergeron drove to the net and deflected Marchand’s pass for his fifth postseason goal. It was Bergeron’s fifth shot.
“Pretty tired,” Bergeron said. “But it’s rewarding.”
Neither team scored in the first overtime, although the Bruins had the better chances. The Bruins poured nine pucks on Vokoun, while Rask only saw seven shots.
The best chance came when the Bruins’ Nathan Horton rattled a shot off the post at 7:38.
The Bruins had two power plays in the first OT. Orpik was called for high-sticking Marchand at 11:26. Then at 18:23, Malkin fired a shot into the crowd and was nailed for delay of game.
The Penguins, fighting to extend their season, erased a one-goal deficit in the second period to take a 1-1 game into OT. They held a 39-25 shot advantage after 60 minutes.
The Penguins, down 1-0 after 20 minutes, tied the game at 8:51 of the second period.
Sidney Crosby beat Bergeron cleanly on an offensive-zone faceoff. Crosby scooped the puck to Pascal Dupuis, who promptly gave it to Paul Martin. The defenseman wheeled around the Boston net and fed Chris Kunitz in front. Before Rask could slide over, Kunitz went high on the goalie to tie the game.
The Penguins controlled the pace of play in the second period. They went on three straight power plays to take momentum away from the Bruins.
The Bruins lost Gregory Campbell during a too many men penalty when Malkin ripped a slap shot off Campbell’s right leg. Campbell, doubled over in pain, couldn’t get off the ice for approximately 50 seconds. He didn’t return.
The Bruins scored the only goal of the first period.
The first line gained a clean entry into the offensive zone. The Penguins gained control of the puck, but Lucic sealed off the wall and intercepted Matt Niskanen’s clearing attempt.
After Lucic gave the puck to David Krejci, the power forward went to the net. Three Penguins converged on Lucic. Because of the coverage on Lucic, Krejci had space at the left circle. At the last moment, Niskanen lunged out to challenge Krejci. The center’s shot tipped off Niskanen’s stick and caromed past Vokoun at 1:42, giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins were going on a power play when defenseman Johnny Boychuk was called for interference on Brenden Morrow. But during the following scrum, Joe Vitale was whistled for roughing to negate the power play.
Jarome Iginla, who had been the No. 2 left wing in the first two games, shifted to right wing, his natural position.
Iginla skated on the third line with Morrow and Brandon Sutter. Matt Cooke moved up to the second line to play with Malkin and James Neal.