BOSTON -- Jaromir Jagr's always has thrived after midnight.
When he was younger it was party time. The past several seasons it has been training time. You've heard about those midnight on-ice sessions at the practice facilities in Philadelphia, Dallas and Boston, haven't you?
Sometimes, Jagr skates by himself. Other times, he cajoled a few teammates to join him. So when Game 3 of the East final between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins evolved into double overtime and into the wee hours of the Thursday morning, there wasn't a player on the TD Garden ice who was more accustomed to skating past midnight than the 41-year-old Czech native.
Yep, it was the longest night of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but it was the oldest guy on the ice who made the key play to set up Bruins clutch centre Patrice Bergeron for his third career OT playoff winner for a 2-1 win, and 3-0 series advantage in the East final.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Jagr out-muscled Pittsburgh centre Evgeni Malkin, who is 45 pounds lighter, but 15 years younger, along the boards. Jagr then slid the puck up to linemate Brad Marchand, who in turn passed the puck into the middle for a Bergeron redirect.
"He's got that experience, I guess, to always be at the right place on the ice, and on that play it's just a perfect example that he's buying in and he wants to help in any way he can," Bergeron said. "That play right there, we don't get a goal if he doesn't make that play."
It was Jagr's 195th career playoff game and his 196th playoff point, which ties him with Paul Coffey for fifth on the all-time list. Now only Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson are in front of him.
Bergeron's goal came after 95 minutes and 19 seconds of action in a dandy, dramatic game that was played at a torrid pace, featuring 94 shots and brilliant goaltending from Boston's Tuukka Rask and PIttsburgh's Tomas Vokoun. The Bruins struck early with a David Krejci goal that bounded off the skate of Pittsburgh defenceman Matt Niskanen.
The Penguins overcame some tough luck, some bad bounces with a nice play off a Sidney Crosby face-off win over Bergeron that ended with Chris Kunitz game-tying goal in the second period.
Bruins get lift Gregory Campbell
The Bruins received a lift from a gutsy block from fourth-line penalty killer Gregory Campbell midway in the second period. He was in agony after he took a Malkin shot on the outside of his right knee during a Penguins power play. He hobbled around for another 57 seconds before he could make his way to the bench, but it was evident his night was done.
Reports indicated he suffered a broken leg. He didn't, however, leave the building. And when his triumphant teammates returned to the dressing room, there was smiling Campbell to greet them.
"It's one of those that after the fact people are going to be pretty impressed with what he did," Ference said. "You could see him block that shot and do everything he could to get in the way of the next passes and what not. I don't know how to describe it. You saw the next couple of shifts after that the guys really got a lift.
"It's amazing what guys can do in the playoffs."
Pens played their best game
This was the Penguins best game. They dominated the third period. But somehow the Bruins found their game and were the better team in overtime.
"That overtime was really good," Ference said. "Very good hockey, great chances. I think each team hit a post maybe once or twice and the goalies came up big.
"Guys were still hitting and still making plays. Like I said, sometimes the quality drops off, but I think everybody was playing for the win."
The Penguins tried to keep a stiff upper lip afterwards. Not many teams come back from three down. Although, the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead three years ago to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"We did a lot of good things," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. "Some big kills, our power play didn't score, but it generated some good chances. We just weren't able to get that second one, the one to win it.
"That's the playoffs. That's how it works out sometimes. Unfortunately, tonight I thought we deserved better, but they found a way to get that big one in overtime."
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