|Sidney Crosby: ‘I thought we deserved better’||06.06.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
At least the chances were there for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in Game 3 Wednesday night.
And in the mind of the superstar, that’s a starting point for trying to get back in an Eastern Conference final series they trail 3-0 heading into Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.
“Unfortunately, we're kind of comparing Game 2, and we didn't give ourselves a chance, so we can't get that one back,” Crosby said. “We gave that one to them so-to-speak. We did a lot better job tonight, but that doesn't guarantee anything. We do a lot of these same things, and I think we all trust and believe we can get this back to Pittsburgh.
“I think we responded pretty well. Unfortunately, that Game 2 nobody really liked the way that turned out, and what happened there. I thought we responded well and did everything we could have besides get that last one.”
Crosby had three of Pittsburgh’s 54 shots on the night and was a plus-1 for the night. He best scoring chance might have been a shot when he wasn’t even facing the net.
Late in the first period, and with the Penguins down, 1-0, Crosby was spun around in front of Tuukka Rask and flipped a backhander on goal. The shot rang off the post as Rask was caught slightly out of position.
“I didn't' really know where the net was, but I heard it hit the post,” Crosby said. “Obviously it was kind of a scrambled play but it would have been nice for it to go in.”
Evgeni Malkin had 10 shots on goal but he and Crosby are still scoreless in the series through three games.
“I think if we play the same way we're going to get our chances,” Crosby said. “I thought we generated more scoring chances than them, and I thought we deserved better.
“I think the whole game we felt really comfortable with our play. I think we felt like it was just a matter of time before we were going to get it. Unfortunately they didn't, and hung around, and got the one at the end.”
Gregory Campbell is officially done for the playoffs.
Just 12 hours after Campbell blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin during a Bruins penalty kill, general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that Campbell will miss the remainder of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs due to a broken right fibula.
The injury occurred during the second period of Game 3 as the Bruins were killing off a penalty for too many men on the ice when Campbell went to the ice to get in the way of a Malkin shot. Campbell blocked the shot and stayed on the ice for 30 seconds until he could get off at the next whistle. He immediately went down the tunnel with assistance and did not return.
Campbell skated in all 15 playoff games this year with seven points on three goals and four assists, including one game-winning goal. The 29-year-old has appeared in 569 regular season games and recorded 54 goals and 89 assists with 526 penalty minutes. In 47 playoff games (all with Boston), he has tallied four goals and nine assists.
It was not the result the Penguins desperately needed, but after losing their third straight to the Bruins to fall into an 0-3 hole, coach Dan Bylsma sees hope.
“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Bylsma said. “It was a very good response from our team. We did a lot of things to get opportunities to win the hockey game. We have to bounce back from a goal very early on in the game, and I thought we did that very well and stuck with it, got the goal to tie the game and really was a hard-fought game all over the ice. Again, we did everything but get the game-winning goal there.”
Asked if he and the team sensed frustration that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have yet to register a single point in the series, Bylsma went a step further than predicting they would come out of it. Bylsma made a prediction about Game 4 Friday night at TD Garden.
“I don’t give goal-scoring tips to too many guys, but again, that’s the way we need to play. That’s the way we can play, and we pushed it and we pushed it hard, and we had opportunities. Those guys had great opportunities, five on five, Evgeni had a mini breakaway there, we had good chances on the power play, they all had good looks and we just have to keep playing that way, and that’s what we’re going to do. We know the situation being down 0-3 but we’re going to come back for Game 5 and we’re going to play exactly that same way and get a win in Game 4.”
Bylsma was reminded that his team led the East with 72 points in the regular season and is one game away from getting swept out by a No. 4 seeded team.
“We’re competing in the conference final for a chance to win and go to the Stanley Cup, and that’s where we’re going to be,” he said. “We’re down 3-0, we have lost the first three games, and we’re going to battle and lay it out there, and we threw it at them tonight and didn’t get the win, but we are going to — it’s a race to four, and they’re not there yet, and we’re going to come back in here, regroup and go after Game 4.”
|Tuukka Rask: ‘It was definitely a grind’||at 2:53 am ET|
Of all the great performances Tuukka Rask has had in these 2013 playoffs, Wednesday night was certainly the most grueling.
He stopped 53 shots in 95 minutes and 19 seconds, allowing only a Chris Kunitz goal in the second period as the Bruins prevailed, 2-1, in double-overtime in Game 3 of the Eastern finals at TD Garden.
“Yeah, it was definitely a grind,” Rask said. “Both teams played pretty good. That second period was the worst one for us, but we battled and going into double overtime it's anybody's game.
“It's five periods. So I imagine everybody gets tired. It's more of a mental challenge I think. I wasn't cramping up today or anything. So that was positive.”
Is he wiped out?
“Yeah, a little bit. I mean, it's I don't know 12:30 or something, five periods of hockey. Not the freshest feeling, but I think the win makes it a little easier,” he said with a smile. “I don't think you feel that physical fatigue-ness at that point. It's just trying to keep your head, and not thinking that you're tired. It's just a nice little challenge ' you know if you think you're tired you're tired, and if you don't you don't.”
Tired or not, the numbers don’t lie. Rask is putting up even better stats to this point of the playoffs than Tim Thomas – the Conn Smythe winner – did in 2011 on the way to the Cup.
Thomas was 11-4 through 15 games with a goals against of 2.28. He had two shutouts, facing 521 shots with a save percentage of .931. Rask is also 11-4 through 15 games, with a 1.85 goals against, one shutout, facing 501 shots and a .940 save percentage.
“I feel good. I mean, I don't feel any better than I've felt throughout the playoffs,” Rask said. “I think our team is helping me out a lot. Although obviously you let in two goals in three games you're making some good saves too. But we're blocking shots and taking care of those rebounds pretty well. So they're helping my job a lot.”
Rask made several big saves and was helped out by a pair of posts, including a shot by Sidney Crosby in the first period. But the biggest save may have come from Gregory Campbell, who blocked a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in the second period during a Penguins power play.
“I saw it, yeah. A guy had a lane and he sacrificed his body,” Rask said. “It was a great thing, just bad thing he got hurt. He blocks a lot of shots, he took one for the team there, and we really wanted to win this for him.”
|Gregory Campbell (right leg) knocked out of Game 3||06.05.13 at 10:51 pm ET|
After going to the ice to block a powerful slap shot from Evgeni Malkin on a power play in the second period, Gregory Campbell, the center of the “Merlot” line will not be returning.
Campbell stayed on the ice for over 30 seconds of the penalty kill and hobbled off on his left leg while unable to put any pressure on his right leg. He was pushed slightly by an official, who helped him to the bench as the crowd chanted, “Campbell, Campbell, Campbell.”
The Bruins announced before overtime that Campbell would not be returning.
Tuukka Rask was on a razor’s edge Wednesday morning before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The mild-mannered “normal” goalie who can turn on a dime if he doesn’t play well or someone ticks him off on the ice, reached that boiling point Wednesday.
First came an innocent enough flick of a rebound into the net when Rask wasn’t ready from a teammate near the corner boards. Rask was focusing on 2-on-1 drills and had the puck stopped but the teammate just figured he’d fire it into the empty net.
As the video below shows, Rask angrily turned around reached into the net and faked firing it back but thought better of it.
But that was nothing compared to what happened about 15 minutes later. Shawn Thornton came in and snapped a shot that appeared to catch Rask in the right collarbone area. He fell to the ice in obvious pain and then yelled. He skated past Thornton who appeared to want to see if he was OK.
Rask stormed to the bench area and slammed his stick against the boards in front of the Bruins bench. He rested and recovered for less than a minute before returning to drills.
Coach Claude Julien‘s reaction?
“He's fine,” Julien said. “Just didn't want him falling in front of that door when he went out of his crease. I told him, 'You're making me look bad.' I said, 'I told everybody you were normal.' But I said, 'I did tell them you had a temper.' So I said, 'You're okay.' No issues.”
Whatever has motivated Rask so far in the series has certainly worked. He has stopped 55-of-56 shots and has allowed only a Brandon Sutter perfectly placed wrist shot to beat him in the first period of Game 2. Rask is 10-4 in these playoffs so far with a 1.99 goals against and a .935 save percentage.
Defense wins championships. It’s a cliche nearly as old as the Stanley Cup. But it’s true. Keep your opponent from scoring and your chances of winning in the playoffs increases dramatically. And, according to Claude Julien, it’s been the secret to success for the Bruins in the first two games against the Penguins as the Boston forwards have shown a commitment to coming back and playing defense while the Penguins, not so much.
“It's been good for us,” Julien said Wednesday morning before Game 3. “I think, when you look at our team, it's built that way. We take pride in that part of our game, and that part of our game's also given us the opportunity to be better offensively; turn that puck over quick and then everybody comes back, then we go back up the ice as a unit. That's been a big part of our game and when it's good, it provides us with some good offense.”
Julien was told that some in the Bruins dressing room Wednesday – like Daniel Paille – said that’s it’s not as simple as it looks to play a defensive system like the Bruins employ. Julien begged to differ.
“It's not complicated, so I'm going to have to have a talk with Dan,” Julien said half-jokingly. “It really isn't. What we try and do is eliminate the gray areas, make it black and white. It really is easy. He probably said complicated because he doesn't want to tell you what it is. But it isn't. This game shouldn't be a complicated one.
“Guys have skills, you try to put some structure together, but the one thing you don't take away is their ability to use their imagination and their skill and their hockey sense to make plays. Defensively, is where you're extremely structured, and you want to make sure that you have layers and guys come back to where they should be positionally. When it comes to offense, a couple of rules, but the rest is about letting them do their job and letting them use their creativity.”
Julien again reminded everyone that his team is taking a level-headed approach in the hours before Game 3, knowing the Penguins figure to be hungry after losing Games 1 and 2 on home ice.
“It doesn't matter what situation it is, I think our guys our mature enough to understand that whatever we went through, whatever the situation is right now, we have to be a good team in order to win at this stage of the season,” Julien said. “We can't afford to let our guard down, whether it's the respect for a team you're playing, and the ability of that team to take advantage of you if you're not ready, or whether it's just from within our group to want to be a good team every night. That's what's important right now, thats we stay focused on the present and don't live in the past, don't look in the future. I've said that before, we've been good when we've kept our eye on what's going on right now. That's what we've got to do.”
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