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Dan Bylsma on his Penguins: ‘This team has won a lot of hockey games’

06.04.13 at 8:09 am ET
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Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has yet to find a way to get the most out of Evgeni Malkin. (AP)

The Penguins were the class of the Eastern Conference for most of the season. They won 15 games in a row at one point. They scored more goals than anyone in hockey. They finished with 72 points, only five behind Chicago, which finished with the best record in hockey.

They raced through the first two rounds, scoring 47 goals in 11 games. How could they possibly be stopped?

Well, after getting outscored 9-1 in the first two games against Boston, the Penguins are the ones asking all the questions now.

“We’ve won — this team has won a lot of hockey games,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “It’s a good team. We’ve won 15 in a row. And we won seven in a row and five in a row, and we’ve got to — we certainly didn’t play anywhere near where we’re capable of. And that’s got to be our focus, to get our first win in Game 3 in Boston.”

Bylsma was asked if he was surprised his team is in the hole it’s in.

“Yes, how we played for the last five periods, yes,” Bylsma admitted. “We’ve gotten away from our game. We’ve gotten off our game plan. We’ve deviated. We get down early today again and not too far after the second goal we get off kilter and deviate again from how we can play and what we need to do. And that group of guys, that team in there, they’ll reset and refocus, and we’ll come back with how we need to play in Game 3.”

Here is the remainder of Bylsma’s press conference from Monday night:

Q. Dan, I’m not going to ask who you’re going to start in goal for the next game but I’m curious how you can best evaluate what both goalies gave you tonight with the way the team played in front of them as you make your decision for the next game?

“It’s tough. I don’t think — we got down 3‑0. I don’t think there was a lot of fault in those three goals by the goaltender. So it’s tough to evaluate given the breakdowns and the type of scoring chances that they scored on for both goalies.”

Q. Because it might be tough to evaluate, what thought process goes into what you do with the goalies moving forward?

“We’re going to — everyone we put on the ice for Game 3 is going to be giving us the best chance to win the hockey game.”

Q. You guys got off track in a similar fashion once or twice early in the season. What got you back to playing the way that you did the second half of the season? What has to happen Tuesday to make that happen again?

“We kind of restarted after that game and after that performance, and we made some mistakes that allowed them to get up in the score through the beginning of the game, and then we got off our game plan, got off playing our game by trying to find a goal, trying to find some offense in that game, in the second half of the game, and got away from playing the way we need to play.

“And I think the biggest thing is our attitude. And that was a big adjustment for our team earlier in the season, and that’s what it’s going to have to be, how we reset and how we get refocused and how we go into Boston.”

Q. What do Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang need to reach down and find to return to the form that they’ve shown in the past?

“I’m not going to look at just three players what they need to do and how they need to play. As a group, we need to be a lot better. We need to get to our foundation of how we play and play as a group, and we didn’t do that. That includes every one of them, all of us, not just 87, 71 and 58.

“It’s easy to look at one mistake or one play at the start of the game or to say that, but that’s not an indication of the rest of the guys. We need to play a lot better than that. We need to get back to our game, back to our best, and that’s not just one or two guys.”

Q. What have the Bruins done differently in this postseason than what they may have done the three times that they played you this year?

“I don’t think they’ve given us any surprise with how they play or what to expect from their team. I think when they have gotten leads in these two games, they’ve been very good. And when we’ve looked for offense or tried to create offense on our own, they’ve been very good at being solid defensively in how they play, but that’s not anything we didn’t expect from the team we’re playing.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs
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