No. 1 Star: James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins
As part of their 7-3 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 4, Neal scored twice, including a power play tally, and assisted on an another as the Penguins took a 3-1 series lead. The goal were Neal's first since Game 4 against the New York Islanders.
No. 2 Star: Jarome Iginla, Pittsburgh Penguins
Iginla netted a pair, including one of Pittsburgh's two power play goals. He's now put up points in eight of the Penguins' 10 playoff games.
No. 3 Star: Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
Letang had a couple of bad turnovers, but did finish with four assists. He now leads all defenseman in scoring with 13 points.
Honorable mention: Chris Phillips made the save of the game, robbing Sidney Crosby with his toe:
Milan Michalek's shorthanded goal that opened the scoring was a beauty:
Pascal Dupuis and Crosby both finished with a goal and an assist ... The Penguins power play scored on two of their five opportunities. They lead all teams with 12 power play goals and a 28.6 percent success rate ... Pittsburgh scored goals 40 seconds and 31 seconds apart, the latter as part of a three-goal surge over 1:45 in the third period ... Daniel Alfredsson's goal was his 100th career playoff point ... Paul MacLean gave a great press conference afterward.
Conn Smythe Watch: 1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. David Krejci, Boston Bruins; 3. Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks; 4. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins; 5. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; 6. Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; 7. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators; 8. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks; 9. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings; 10. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings.
Dishonorable mention: Craig Anderson was pulled for the second time in three games after allowing six goals on 32 shots.
It doesn’t happen often in professional sports, so when a team comes back from a 0-3 deficit in a playoff series, it’s cause for much celebration. There will be plenty of celebrating in Wilkes-Barre as the AHL's Penguins achieved the feat over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night.
After a scoreless opening period, the Penguins dominated the second scoring four times and taking the wind out of the Bruins' sails. Providence was unable to solve Brad Thiessen as the Penguins goaltender recorded 34 saves for his second shutout in three games during the 5-0 Game 7 victory.
The Penguins became only the third team in AHL history to advance after being down 0-3 in a Calder Cup playoff series. The 1960 Rochester Americans and 1989 Adirondack Red Wings now have company. As does the Boston Bruins organization, who now have had teams blow 3-0 series leads at the NHL and AHL level, as Tim Rosenthal pointed out. (Wayne Whittaker also brings up the fact that poor Trent Whitfield was on the Bruins team that gave up a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.)
Games 1 and 2 were dominated by the Bruins, with 8-5 and 4-2 victories. They took Game 3 in overtime 2-1, but beginning with Game 4, it was Brad Thiessen time. The Penguins netminder took control and slowed the Bruins’ offense over the next three games making 31, 30 and 46 saves, respectively, forcing a seventh and deciding game, even after getting jumped by Graham Mink in Game 5 during a brawl.
Thiessen's shutout in Game 7 improved his already ridiculous stats. He leads all goaltenders with a 0.89 goals against average and a .970 save-percentage; he's also stopped 196 of 202 shots he's faced in seven starts. So, yeah, Thiessen's in some sort of zone right now.
The Penguins will now face the Syracuse Crunch in the Eastern Conference Final beginning Saturday night.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
Phunwin explains why 2013 is different from 2010, and why the Bruins will wrap this series up in short order.
On blown leads and paranoia.
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