Penguins put up a good fight, but it wasn't enough

Penguins forward Chris Kunitz knocks down Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk during Game 3 of the NHL...

Penguins forward Chris Kunitz knocks down Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk during Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference final at TD Garden in Boston, June 5, 2013. (WINSLOW TOWNSON/Reuters)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:16 AM ET

BOSTON - James Neal sat slumped in his locker stall in the Pittsburgh Penguins dressing room.

He stared straight ahead. He tried to find words.

But as Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference final Wednesday came to a close with Patrice Bergeron scoring the game-winning goal at 4:41 of the second overtime period to give the Boston Bruins a 3-0 series lead, the Penguins left the ice with their backs to the wall and no margin for error.

“It’s a tough road ahead,” said Neal. “There’s no quit in this room. The way we played we didn’t get away from our game. We stuck with it. If we keep doing that, we’ll have a better fate.”

Actually, the Penguins’ fate is pretty much sealed.

They promised they wouldn’t go down without a fight, but this team was built to win a Stanley Cup and they’re on the verge of being swept by the Bruins. There are no moral victories in the playoffs and all Pittsburgh could do was search for positives.

“We did a lot of good things,” said captain Sidney Crosby. “We just weren’t able to get that second (goal). That one to win it. We can’t get three wins with one game. We’ve got to find a way to get back (to Pittsburgh).

“I don’t think there’s too much we would change going into Game 4. If we can put those pucks in the net, then we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

Boston has Pittsburgh on the ropes. All that needs to be delivered is the knockout punch.

Pittsburgh played its best game of the series and still didn’t win.

This may be all over but for the crying.

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