(Reuters) - The Boston Bruins booked a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on Friday after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 to sweep their Eastern Conference championship series.
The Bruins won the best-of-seven series 4-0 and will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or Los Angeles Kings for the Cup.
It is the first time the Penguins have been swept in a playoff series since losing 4-0 to the Bruins in the 1979 quarter-finals.
Reaching the Stanley Cup Final will be a major boost for the city of Boston, which is still coming terms with the bombing of the Boston Marathon.
Boston’s Adam McQuaid belted home a slapshot from distance during a line change early in the third period to send the Bruins to their second Final in three years.
Boston beat Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup in 2011.
“We were a little sluggish in the first two periods and we said, we got to win a period in order to win a series,” Boston’s Milan Lucic said.
“I remember before the game telling McQuaid he was going to get one today and it ended up being a huge one for us tonight,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who saved 26 shots on Friday and conceded just two goals in the four-game series against the top ranked team in the East.
Team mate Patrice Bergeron said Rask made the difference.
“I can’t say enough (about him),” added Bergeron.
“He is the reason why we are here and he was a huge part of us winning this series.”
Finn Rask, who backed up Tim Thomas when Boston won the Cup in 2011, said he had been trying to keep consistent.
“I felt pretty good throughout the year,” he added.
“Obviously had some bad games and good games but I just try to stay focused and feel good about myself every game and there is no exception right now,” Rask said.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma continued the praise of Rask.
“There is no question the performance he put into this series was elite. The difference in the series, there is no question,” said Bylsma.
“It’s not like we didn’t have good scoring chances or opportunities.
“Our guys played extremely hard and we didn’t come up with that goal in either Game Three or Game Four and you have to give the Bruins a ton of credit for that and the way they played and battled.”
Boston will meet either the 2010 champions Chicago or the reigning Stanley Cup holders Los Angeles. The Blackhawks lead that series 3-1.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford