|Dan Bylsma: ‘We’re going to come back [to Pittsburgh] for Game 5′||06.06.13 at 3:20 am ET|
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.
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.”
|David Krejci: ‘We’ve got to stay in the moment’||06.04.13 at 8:06 pm ET|
He has eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. He did it again on Monday night in Game 2 with the third goal of the contest. He knows full well that a 2-0 series lead means nothing. He also led the playoffs in scoring two years ago with 23 points.
Speaking of 2011, he knows that the Bruins were down 0-2 in the first round after losing the first two games at home. He knows the Bruins came back and won a pair of games in Montreal to tie the series.
“The past few years I think we’ve been up 2-0 in a series,” Krejci said. “We’ve been down 2-0, and it went either way, so I think we’ve learned from that and we’ve got to stay in the moment and just take it game by game.
“We’re going to have to play even better than we did because they’re going to be desperate. It’s a really important game. It’s a big difference if it’s 3-0 for us or 2-1 for us, so it’s going to be a big game. The game is going to start from 0-0 so we’ve got to be ready to get off [with] a good start.”
So far, the best forward in this series is Krejci, not Sidney Crosby, and it’s not close. Krejci has three goals with a plus-3 rating. Crosby has no points and is a minus-3.
“We’re just going on the faceoff and trying to win,” Krejci said. “It doesn’t matter who you go against [in faceoffs]. Obviously you know who you’re going against, but your mindset is to win and do whatever it takes to win the faceoff.”
BEDFORD — Truth be told, no one, not even Bruins players and coaches could have imagined a 9-1 margin of victory in the first two games against the Penguins.
“I’m a little surprised at the outcome,” Shawn Thornton admitted on Tuesday morning at Hanscom Air Field as the Bruins returned home from Pittsburgh. “I thought the scores would be a little bit closer the last couple of games, but we’ll take it. It’s behind us now though. Now we start focusing on [Wednesday’s] game.”
Thornton made it clear – just like he does on the ice – that the Bruins aren’t about to assume that Games 3 and 4 will be just as easy because Boston is on home ice.
“Definitely not,” Thornton said. “These next games will be a lot tougher, I’m sure. I think these guys are a very dangerous team. We’ve seen them score a lot of goals, so we’re a long ways from where we need to be.”
The Bruins have outworked, outmuscled and badly outplayed the Penguins in the first two games because of their work ethic.
“Work ethic obviously helps,” Thornton said. “We can’t take any nights off, that’s for sure. Not this time of year. So that will definitely contribute to success. But they’re going to be a lot better, so we’re going to have to look at some things. We’re going have to do better in some areas, too.”
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.”
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