BOSTON — Adam McQuaid scored early in the third period, Tuukka Rask posted his second shutout of the series, and the Boston Bruins swept their way into the Stanley Cup finals with a 1-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.
The Bruins won the Eastern Conference finals, 4-0, and held the high-scoring Penguins to just two goals in the stunning sweep.
Boston will face either the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings when the Bruins shoot for their second Stanley Cup title in three years.
Chicago leads the Western Conference series 3-1 and can advance to the finals with a home win tonight. If the Blackhawks get there, it will set up the first finals matchup of Original Six NHL franchises since 1979.
The Penguins’ season ended swiftly and shockingly as the league’s highest-scoring team got no points in the series from offensive stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“He is the best player in the world,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said of Crosby. “We did a good job with that.”
McQuaid scored at 5:01 of the final period on a 45-foot slap shot from the right over the glove of goalie Tomas Vokoun.
That unleashed loud chants of “We want the Cup!” from the capacity crowd.
“We were a little sluggish the first two periods,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said, “and we said, ‘We have to win a period to win a series.’ ”
They did just that.
The top-seeded Penguins were trying to overcome both the disciplined defense of the fourth-seeded Bruins and history. Only three teams had lost a series after winning the first three games. The last was the Bruins in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pittsburgh, which never led in any of the four games against the Bruins, was swept for the first time in 47 series. The last team to do it to the Penguins was Boston in 1979.
The Penguins also lost the first three games of their opening-round series last year against Philadelphia before being eliminated in six games.
Rask was solid again with 26 saves, but didn’t have to stop many challenging shots. His last save came with his glove at the final buzzer on Matt Niskanen’s shot from 40 feet.
“He has been the reason why we’re here,” Bergeron said of Rask. “We just played our game the whole time. We put a lot of pressure in their zone.”
The Penguins had been shut out just twice in their previous 147 games before being blanked twice in the four games against the Bruins. Pittsburgh lost Game One at home, 3-0.
McQuaid scored his second goal of the playoffs after the defenseman managed just one in 32 games during the regular season.
Brad Marchand held the puck along the left boards in the offensive zone and waited for McQuaid to skate up ice. Marchand fed the puck toward the blue line where McQuaid, with no Penguins player close to him, unleashed the winning shot.
There was little sustained offense in the first two periods when Pittsburgh outshot Boston, 20-17.
Boston’s Kaspars Daugavins hit a post at 2:56 of the second period during his first appearance in the series. Daugavins replaced injured center Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg in the second period of Boston’s 2-1, double-overtime win in Game Three.