Playoffs Tonight: Penguins must make history to survive

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The Chicago Blackhawks came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and consequently take a 3-1 series lead. The Conference finals could finish on Saturday, but that depends on the outcome of tonight’s game.

Boston Bruins host Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads 3-0

Boston jumped ahead to 3-1 and 3-0 leads in their previous two series. In the first round, they just barely managed to advance despite the early series edge they built for themselves, but the second round had a far less dramatic conclusion for the Bruins.

Of course, people won’t soon forgot when the Boston Bruins coughed up a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 — but a lot has happened since then. While that incident might provide them with perspective, they’ve shown time and again that they are capable of closing a series.

“The one thing we do know is we’ve got to play a better game than we did (Wednesday),” Julien said, according to the Boston Globe. “We might have won the game, but we’re certainly not pleased with the way we played.

“We know they played better but I don’t think we did, and we’ve got to make sure we’re at the top of our game tomorrow.”

The Penguins did play better in Game 3, even if they didn’t set the bar terribly high with their showing in the first two games of this series. They battled the Bruins for 95 minutes, but weren’t rewarded.

“By no means are we going to break down and give up. The percentages are against us, but we have a good team,” Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter told the Penguins’ official website. “We’re taking this day-by-day right now.”

Taking it one game at a time is the key for the Penguins. That strategy is so heavily preached that it’s long since become a cliche, but it’s all the Penguins got. They’ve put themselves in a position where they have to make history to survive.

It’s a long shot, but given how much talent the Penguins have, it’s hard to dismiss the possibility.