BOSTON — They’ve done it again, completely and unequivocally stolen our sporting hearts, with no plans of letting go until long after they’ve lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads for the second time in the last three summers.
At least that’s what most of New England hopes is the glorious end result.
Defying all logic, the Boston Bruins swept the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals last night with a 1-0 triumph before a decibel-shattering crowd at the TD Garden.
They’ve now done what few people believed was possible when the postseason began five-and-a-half weeks ago: punched their ticket back to the Cup finals, which will begin in either Chicago (likely) or Los Angeles (longshot) next week.
Could anyone in the Boston locker room have believed they’d sweep the top-seeded, heavily favored Penguins away four straight?
“No, no,” admitted center Chris Kelly in a happy but subdued locker room after the game. “I knew we were playing well (coming in), but to win four straight ... that was obviously the goal, but I don’t think anyone would have guessed that.”
“Well obviously, probably not. They’re such a great team, especially offensively with the guys they have,” added center Patrice Bergeron, his face showing the battle scars of a grueling playoff run. “We’re obviously very happy with the way we played. It wasn’t just about one guy; it was the whole team from top to bottom.”
But they did the unthinkable. And now, still riding the crest of momentum from their miracle comeback against Toronto in Game 7 of the first round, the Bruins will be back playing for hockey’s ultimate prize while looking to equal what has been achieved twice previously in franchise history: win two Cups in three years (1939 + ‘41 and 1970 + ‘72).