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Claude Julien: Bruins playing best hockey, ‘without a doubt’ 06.04.13 at 1:11 pm ET
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BEDFORD — As the Bruins returned Tuesday morning from Pittsburgh, they were peppered with the obvious question: Can it really be this easy over a high-powered team?

“Anytime you can come back from a road trip like that, and having won both games, it’s encouraging,” coach Claude Julien said of his team’s 2-0 series lead over the Penguins in the Eastern finals. “But our team is really playing good hockey right now, without a doubt the best we’ve had this year, and that has to continue to beat these guys. We were in that same position as Pittsburgh a few years ago and we worked our way back into it.

“I think we understand the situation here. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here and understand that these next games are crucial for us just as much as it is for them.”

The Bruins now get the chance to close out the series without having to return to Pittsburgh if they can hold serve on home ice, starting with Wednesday’s Game 3 at TD Garden.

Julien said one of the keys to the Bruins’ success has been the commitment of the entire team to come back and help defensively on the high-powered Penguins‘ forwards, such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla.

“There’s been a great commitment on the part of our team to really play well defensively, and have layers and take away space from those guys and some room to pick up speed,” Julien said. “Guys have really bought into that. It’s helped us a lot and that’s why I’ve said we’ve got to continue doing that.”

Julien was asked if he thought there were any chance his team might take a 2-0 series lead for granted coming home.

“I would think not, not after everything we’ve been though, the ups and downs of playoff hockey,” he said. “We’ve had our share of downs so we have to make sure we stay up.

“I really think after Game 7 against Toronto, it was such a big comeback for us, it always seems to take something to get the team to gel and believe. That was a real big turning point for us. From there on in, I think against the Rangers, we played some really good hockey as well. They were a team that was gritty and was going to give us a lot of hard work to compete against. They did that. There was no quit in that team. And that just helped us get better.”

The biggest message from Julien: The Bruins are fully aware of what the Penguins are capable of and the series is far from over.

“And we know what Pittsburgh represents,” Julien said. “We haven’t lost faith in what we can do but we haven’t lost track of what they can do as well. They’re a potent scoring team. We have to make sure we stay on top of our game. It’s as simple as that.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Dan Bylsma on his Penguins: ‘This team has won a lot of hockey games’ at 8:09 am ET
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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.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Claude Julien on Game 2 blowout: ‘The confidence certainly builds quickly’ 06.03.13 at 11:42 pm ET
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It took the Bruins just 28 seconds to show their head coach they were intent on showing him that they heard his message about picking up their play from Game 1.

“Well, that was what we had talked about before the game,” Claude Julien said. “We knew they were going to be a better team, and we had to be better than we were the last game in here. So, we didn’t have a better start anyways. And we got some good bounces go our way and because of that we were able to establish a lead and then we just kind of took it from there. But sometimes those forecheck bounces go your way, and they did tonight.”

And it certainly did early on when Brad Marchand scored on a Sidney Crosby turnover. Marchand scored twice in the first period, with his second goal coming just 25 seconds after Pittsburgh’s only goal and suffocated any Penguins momentum with just over eight seconds left in the opening period.

“Well, you know, the confidence certainly builds pretty quickly,” Julien said. “When you start off with an early lead in the visiting building, you’re certainly happy with that start.”

Jaromir Jagr had been quiet in the series until assisting on Marchand’s second goal. He finished with two assists.

“So I thought our guys did a good job of, again, playing a solid game, solid two’€‘way game, and some great plays,” Julien said. “I mean, Marchand, two goals; Jags, the passes he made and even so that hit in front of our bench, that turned the puck over and allowed Marchand to score a goal. He’s come in to play for us and he’s played well.”

Tuukka Rask was once again sensational in goal, stopping 26 of 27 shots. He has faced 56 shots in this series, allowing just one goal.

“Like I said, he’s been in zone for a while,” Julien said, repeating his sentiments of Saturday night. “He’s obviously confident right now. Puck seems big to him. And you’ve got to ride that goaltender when he’s like that.”

Julien isn’t worried about overconfidence from his team, which will not practice on Tuesday.

“It’s pretty simple; we were in that situation before, and we were able to come back in the series and win it,” Julien said. “So I don’t think’€‘’€‘ we’ve been through enough positive/negatives, not to get ahead of ourselves and we know this is a good team, and I’m not saying we know it. Penguins are a good team, they’re deep, and we’re going to have to continue to play extremely well if we plan on winning the series.”

Here’s the remainder of Julien’s postgame presser from Monday.

Q. I certainly don’t expect you to second’€‘guess the decision of another coach, but were you surprised to see Vokoun check out of the game right there? “You’re right. I’m not second’€‘guessing. It’s a tough enough job that you don’t second’€‘guess. And I’ve got too much respect for Dan to even go there.”

Q. The forecheck, what were you able to do there in the defense zone, causing them trouble in that regard?: That’s our forecheck. Our forecheck has been there all year. And when guys are doing it well, they’re putting pucks in the right areas and we’ve got speed coming through the neutral zone, we were able to establish that. But I think it’s a big part of our game, and it’s gotta be there night in, night out.

Q. Might seem a silly question the position you’re in, but anything you’re concerned about in terms of being up 2’€‘0, going home, seems like a really good situation for you, any danger of being comfortable with it, I guess?: You’re not concerned with being comfortable. If anything building up 2’€‘0 you’ve got to be happy. But the concerns are going to be in our game and after every game, we critique it with the players. And it’s not so much about what we’re doing well, we’ve gotta compete to do that, but there’s areas you want to improve after every game, and we’re a team that’s responded well to that.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs
Postgame notes: Bruins 6, Penguins 1 at 11:05 pm ET
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The Bruins are just two wins from their second Stanley Cup finals appearance in three years after dismantling the Penguins, 6-1, Monday night at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Bruins dominated from the opening puck drop, scoring just 28 seconds in when Brad Marchand took advantage of a Sidney Crosby turnover at the blue line and raced the length of the ice to beat Tomas Vokoun.

RECORDS WHEN WINNING/LOSING GAMES 2 AND 3

‘€¢ The Bruins now have a 30-17-1 lifetime record in Game 2s of best-of-seven series in which they won the first game.

‘€¢ They are 22-7 lifetime when leading a best-of-seven series 2-0 and they are 19-10 lifetime in Game 3s when leading a best-of-seven series 2-0.

‘€¢ This is the eighth time in club history that the Bruins have won the first two games of a best-of-seven series on the road. They are 5-2 in the previous seven, most recently a four-game sweep of Philadelphia in the 2011 CSF series.

‘€¢ The Penguins now have a 13-12 lifetime record in Game 2s of best-of-seven series in which they lost the first game. They are 5-6 lifetime when trailing a best-of-seven series 0-2 and they are 7-4 lifetime in Game 3s when trailing a best-of-seven series 0-2/tied 1-1 in a best-of-seven series.

‘€¢ This is the third time in club history that the Penguins have lost the first two games of a best-of-seven series on home ice and they are 1-1 in the previous two, most recently a six-game setback to Philadelphia in their 2012 CQF series.

WHO’€™S HOT

‘€¢ Brad Marchand had two goals, giving him 4-5-9 totals in six of his last eight games. It is his third multiple-point game of this postseason and the eighth of his playoff career.

‘€¢ Nathan Horton had a goal and an assist, extending his point streak to four games with 3-5-8 totals and giving him 4-7-11 totals in seven of his last eight games. It is his fifth multiple-point game of this postseason and the 10th of his playoff career.

‘€¢ Patrice Bergeron had a goal and an assist, giving him 3-5-8 totals in four of his last eight games. It is his third multiple-point game of this postseason and the 13th of his playoff career.

‘€¢ Johnny Boychuk had a goal and an assist, giving him 3-1-4 totals in three of his last six games. It was his first career multiple-point playoff game.

‘€¢ Jaromir Jagr had two assists for his first multiple-point game of this postseason. They are his first points since he had four assists in the seven-game CQF series vs. Toronto.

‘€¢ David Krejci had a goal, giving him 3-6-9 totals in six of his last eight games. He has extended his postseason scoring lead with 8-12-20 totals and is tied for the league playoff lead in goals.

‘€¢ Torey Krug had an assist, giving him 4-2-6 totals in five of his seven games played.

‘€¢ Gregory Campbell had an assist, giving him 3-3-6 totals in five of his last six games.

‘€¢ Shawn Thornton had an assist, giving him four assists in three of his last five games.

‘€¢ Pittsburgh’€™s Matt Cooke had an assist, giving him four assists in four of his last five games.
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Second period notes: Bruins 4, Penguins 1 at 9:58 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask turned away all seven Pittsburgh shots in the second period as both teams were scoreless, allowing Boston to maintain its 4-1 lead after 40 minutes. Here, thanks to the Bruins media relations department, are notes after two periods:

WHO’€™S HOT
‘€¢ Brad Marchand has two goals tonight, giving him 4-5=9 totals in six of his last eight games … It is his third multiple-point game of this post-season and the eighth of his playoff career.
‘€¢ Nathan Horton has a goal and an assist tonight, extending his point streak to four games with 3-5=8 totals and giving him 4-7=11 totals in seven of his last eight games … It is his fifth multiple-point game of this post-season and the tenth of his playoff career.
‘€¢ David Krejci has a goal tonight, giving him 3-6=9 totals in six of his last eight games and extending his league-leading 8-12=20 totals in 11 of his 14 post-season games.
‘€¢ Patrice Bergeron has an assist tonight, giving him 2-5=7 totals in four of his last eight games.
‘€¢ Torey Krug has an assist tonight, giving him 4-2=6 totals in five of his seven games played.
‘€¢ Pittsburgh’€™s Matt Cooke has an assist tonight, giving him four assists in four of his last five games.

LEADING / TRAILING / TIED AFTER SECOND
‘€¢ The Bruins lead the Penguins by a 4-1 score following the second period tonight.
‘€¢ The Bruins are 5-1 this post-season when leading after the second period … They finished the regular season with a 15-4-4
record when ahead after the second period.
‘€¢ The Penguins are 0-1 this post-season when trailing after the second period … They finished the regular season with a 4-8-0
mark when behind after the second period.

FUN FACTS
‘€¢ Boston’€™s four-goal first period was their highest single period output in a playoff game since they netted four in the first period of a 5-2 win vs. Vancouver on June 13, 2011 … It was their most in a road period since they scored four in the first of a 6-5 overtime loss in Buffalo on Apr. 24, 1993.
‘€¢ Tuukka Rask had his shutout streak snapped at 128:47 when Brandon Sutter scored at 19:26 of the first period tonight … His previous goal allowed was by NY Rangers’€™ Dan Girardi at 10:39 of the first period on May 25 in game 5 of the CSF.
‘€¢ The Bruins have gotten 32 of their 124 points in this series from defensemen, including 13 of their 45 goals.
‘€¢ 12 Bruins have combined for 27 multiple-point games in this post-season (Krejci-6; Horton-5; Lucic and Marchand-3 each;
Chara and Bergeron-2 each; Redden, Campbell, Seguin, Paille, Thornton, Krug-1 each).
‘€¢ There have now been 11 goals scored in the first two minutes of a period in a Boston game this post-season (Toronto 5, Boston
4, NY Rangers 2).
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First period notes: Bruins 4, Penguins 1 at 9:17 pm ET
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Brad Marchand scored 28 seconds into Game 2 and scored with 8.3 seconds left in the period as the Bruins outclassed the Penguins, 4-1, in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead on goals by Marchand, Nathan Horton and David Krejci, chasing Tomas Vokoun from the Penguins net with 3:29 left in the first. Marc-Andre Fleury entered. After Brandon Sutter scored Pittsburgh’s first goal of the series with 33.8 seconds left in the first, Marchand scored 25 seconds later on the first shot on Fleury.

MILESTONES REACHED:
‘€¢ Patrice Bergeron assisted on Brad Marchand‘€™s second goal of the night for his 50th career NHL playoff point.

WHO’€™S HOT:
‘€¢ Brad Marchand has two goals tonight, giving him 4-5=9 totals in six of his last eight games … It is his third multiple-point game of this post-season and the eighth of his playoff career.
‘€¢ Nathan Horton has a goal and an assist tonight, extending his point streak to four games with 3-5=8 totals and giving him 4-7=11 totals in seven of his last eight games … It is his fifth multiple-point game of this post-season and the tenth of his playoff career.
‘€¢ David Krejci has a goal tonight, giving him 3-6=9 totals in six of his last eight games and extending his league-leading 8-12=20 totals in 11 of his 14 post-season games.
‘€¢ Patrice Bergeron has an assist tonight, giving him 2-5=7 totals in four of his last eight games.
‘€¢ Torey Krug has an assist tonight, giving him 4-2=6 totals in five of his seven games played.
‘€¢ Pittsburgh’€™s Matt Cooke has an assist tonight, giving him four assists in four of his last five games.

FUN FACTS:
‘€¢ Tuukka Rask had his shutout streak snapped at 128 minutes, 47 seconds when Brandon Sutter scored at 19:26 of the first period tonight … His previous goal allowed was by NY Rangers’€™ Dan Girardi at 10:39 of the first period on May 25 in game 5 of the CSF.
‘€¢ There have now been 11 goals scored in the first two minutes of a period in a Boston game this post-season (Toronto 5, Boston 4, NY Rangers 2). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Stanley Cup Playoffs,
David Krejci: ‘We don’t have guys like [Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin], we have a team’ 06.02.13 at 12:25 am ET
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The question was innocent enough. After scoring two more playoff goals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh Saturday, David Krejci was asked if he considers himself in the same class as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

“No. Those guys, I think they’re the best players in the world at this moment,” he answered after Saturday’s 3-0 Bruins’ win in Game 1. “There’s no one like those guys. On the other hand, we don’t have guys like that. We have a team. We all play as a team.”

Krejci, with seven goals and 12 assists, now leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup playoffs with 19 points. In yet another parallel with 2011, when the Bruins won it all, Krejci is leading the way. That year, Krejci had 12 goals and 11 assists in leading the Bruins to the Cup. The next three leading scorers in the playoffs are Penguins in Malkin (16 points), Kris Letang (16) and Crosby (15) and then another Bruin and Krejci line-mate in Nathan Horton, who scored the third and final goal of the night, and also has 15 points in the playoffs.

“I think Nathan played really well today,” Krejci said. “He set me up for my two goals. He scored a big one in the third. [Tuukka Rask] played pretty good, as well. I think it was pretty good effort by all the guys and a big win.”

Krejci was asked after his second goal that made it 2-0 whether it felt like the Bruins were playing with house money.

“I think so,” Krejci said. “You know, I think Tookes made some big saves in the third period. You know, that’s not our hockey, playing up and down. We want to play good defensively and play in their zone. They’re a good team, so it’s tough to do that. But the second goal was pretty big for our team. I think right after that we took over and kind of controlled the game from there.”

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Read More: Boston Bruins, David Krejci, Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
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