Vladimir Ruzicka, who had four assists, scored on a rebound at 8:14 of overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 5-4 victory and a 2-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Wales Conference final Friday night.
Dave Christian backhanded a 25-footer from the left of the slot. Pittsburgh goalie Tom Barrasso saved it, but Ruzicka collected the rebound 10 feet to the right and put a forehand by the fallen goalie.The Bruins can reach the Stanley Cup finals for the third time in four years by winning Sunday and Tuesday nights in Pittsburgh. A fifth game in the-best-of-7 series, if necessary, would be in Boston next Thursday night.
Boston outshot the Penguins 8-1 in overtime after being behind 33-22 after three periods.
The Bruins, who led the NHL with a 5-0-12 overtime record, are 1-2 in overtime playoff games. The Penguins lost their first playoff overtime game after winning one in each of the first two series.
Boston nearly scored while shorthanded 1:17 into overtime. Dave Poulin's shot from the left point was tipped by Boston's Jeff Lazaro in the slot but hit the post.
During a Boston power play, Barrasso broke his stick, but Ron Francis filled the crease to save Ruzicka's shot at 3:21 of overtime.
Craig Janney tied the game at 4 with 3:11 left in the third period while Boston enjoyed a two-man advantage following penalties to Peter Taglianetti for tripping and Gord Roberts for high sticking.
Barrasso stopped Ray Bourque's shot from the right point, but Ruzicka got the rebound and passed to Janney, who scored his third playoff goal from five feet to Barrasso's left. It was Ruzicka's fourth assist of the game and seventh of the series.
Mario Lemieux's second goal with seven minutes left in the third period, 1:59 after he assisted on the tying goal, had put Pittsburgh ahead 4-3.
Lemieux stole the puck from Boston defenseman Don Sweeney at the right point. He faked a short forehand shot, forcing goalie Andy Moog to sprawl on the ice, then cut across the slot for a backhander.
Mark Recchi had tied the score for Pittsburgh on a power play with 8:59 remaining, 41 seconds after Janney was penalized for holding Lemieux in the slot.
Lemieux fed the puck from behind the goal line to Recchi, who connected on a five-foot backhander. Recchi and Lemieux both have seven playoff goals.