|Bobby Orr on D&C: Bruins ‘a better team than they were in ’11′||06.06.13 at 9:11 am ET|
“This team, you go back to the Toronto series, is this the same team? What did they do? Absolutely amazing,” Orr said. “They didn’t play great against Toronto. The 10 minutes of the last game, an unbelievable comeback. They played a little better against the Rangers. But in this series, they’re playing as well now as they did in ’11. They’ve completely dominated Pittsburgh. ‘¦ They’re playing their big guys against their big guys, and the Bruin guys that are supposed to score are scoring, Tuukka [Rask] has been unbelievable. I don’t know what happened. But Claude [Julien] and the coaching staff got them playing great. Very impressive. Very impressive.”
Added Orr: “This is team is playing unbelievable hockey. And people are going to say, ‘Well, Pittsburgh’s not playing very well.’ Well, the Bruins aren’t letting them play. They’re all over them, they’re not giving them any room. And when they get those chances, Tuukka’s coming up huge for that team. It’s a team effort.”
“I don’t agree with that at all, about him being overrated and this guy not doing da-da-da-da,” Orr said. “Let’s look at what the Bruins are doing. they’re not giving them one inch. You want to play tough? The Bruins are there. Finesse? Every player that’s supposed to — whatever the players’ strength is, that player is playing to his full strength. It’s wonderful to watch. And they’re defense, wow. Defensively they’re very, very strong.”
Gregory Campbell took a slap shot off his leg late in the second period but showed toughness by getting back to his feet and struggling to help the B’s penalty kill for almost a minute until the puck was cleared and he had a chance to get to the bench.
“What that kid did last night — I mean, they’re reporting he may have a broken leg. He obviously he was in pain, and he hung in there,” Orr said. “That’s the team. That’s the team right there. That’s what they are right now. We saw what they’re made of. This team has a ton of character. A ton of character.”
Added Orr: “What he did was incredible. Certainly it gave the team a great lift. Certainly the fans appreciated what Gregory did.”
|Penguins know they need to play better from behind||06.05.13 at 2:23 pm ET|
Two years ago, scoring the goal didn’t necessarily mean anything huge early in the Eastern Conference. The team that scored the first goal between the Bruins and Lightning went 2-3 in the first five games of the season, proving that getting on the board early is important, but it isn’t everything.
That hasn’t been the case this year. In two games, the Bruins have scored the first goal and eventually seen the Penguins go through lifeless stretches as they struggle to play from behind. Pittsburgh had just 13 shots on goal through the first two periods in Game 2, and the chances they got were limited.
So the Penguins enter Game 3 knowing that if they fall behind Wednesday, they can’t pack it in. Remember, this is the same team that came back from a 2-0 deficit against the Bruins with three goals to win in regulation on March 12. They have it within to be a team that plays well from behind, but they just haven’t done it thus far.
“I think the latter half of the games was us deviating from the plan,” Dan Bylsma said of the first two games of the series. “Boston was up at that point in both those hockey games, playing very well and getting to the scoreboard early in contests and then playing well the rest of the way and us, the latter half of both games, looking for offense, pressing the issue and getting away from our game plan.”
Pascal Dupuis said Wednesday that playing from behind against the Bruins is especially difficult because of how much the B’s clog the middle once they’re ahead. That makes the Penguins’ job tougher offensively and forces them to make more chances, which then leads to turnovers. That, partially, can explain just how lopsided the scoring has been (9-1).
Obviously, the Penguins need goals any way they can get them. They’d like the first goal, but if they can’t get it they still need to generate more offense than they have. Sidney Crosby, like Bylsma, feels that the key is to not try anything drastically different once they fall behind.
“We don’t have to chase it,” Crosby said. “I don’t think we need to try to get that one back with one big play, if that’s the case. I think we believe in our game, trust in our game. The regular season would be a good example of that. We’re down 2-0 and it takes a while to finally get that first one, but we just stuck with things. It’s more about the process of the game and playing the right way than maybe the results right away.”
From the Bruins’ perspective, scoring first has meant good things, so they obviously view getting on the board early as a key to potentially taking a 3-0 series lead Wednesday.
“In any game, the first goal is always a good one to get,” Milan Lucic said. “It kinds of builds momentum, builds confidence, but the series is still early. Fortunately we were able to get the first goals in both games, and it’s going to be a big one, whoever gets it tonight.”
|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.”
NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to break down the Bruins’ 6-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Penguins have been the harder-hitting team in the first two games, but the Bruins have dominated on the scoreboard. McGuire said the Pens are making the same mistake they did a year ago, altering their style to try to match a more physical opponent.
“They didn’t learn their lesson from last year against Philadelphia. They tried to do the same thing with Philadelphia last year and they got banged out,” McGuire said. “You saw the frustration with [Sidney] Crosby, you saw the frustration with [Evgeni] Malkin, you saw the frustration with [Kris] Letang. You’re seeing a lot of the same stuff right now.
“[Penguins general manager] Ray Shero tried to address it. That’s why he brought in Brenden Morrow, that’s why he brought in Jarome Iginla, that’s why he brought in Jussi Jokinen, that’s why he brought in Douglas Murray — older players that can maybe stabilize situations if there were negative times in a playoff run. It hasn’t worked so far in this round. We’ll see.
“This is my one caveat to everybody: I did the last series between Detroit and Chicago, and there was so much frustration on the Chicago side of things [when the Blackhawks were down 3-1] it was unbelievable. They were melting down before everybody’s eyes. And then they just role-reversed it and eventually won the series. Anything can happen. But the Bruins have really earned to be in this position. They really merit where they are right now.”
While the Penguins have shown a lack of focus and discipline, the Bruins appear to be playing with more intensity.
Said McGuire: “There’s a heart there, there’s a soul there. There’s a Bruin passion. ‘¦ There’s a lot to be said about the character of the city of Boston, about the players that represent the city of Boston and about the fans that go to the games there and watch the games. There’s a lot to be said. I think emotion matters a lot in our sport, and there’s a lot to be said about ‘Boston Strong.’ ”
NESN Bruins analyst Barry Pederson joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning to offer his opinion of the B’s 6-1 rout of the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I’m a little bit shocked at what I just witnessed last night. ‘¦ How ill-prepared the Pittsburgh Penguins looked right from the opening faceoff of not only Game 2 but Game 1,” Pederson said. “It’s as if when they had their eight days off to prepare, they watched the Vancouver series the year the Bruins won the Cup and they said to themselves, ‘Listen, we’re not going to let them out-hit us, out-physical us. Let’s make sure that we start running around and be physical to show that we’re not going to be pushed around.’ But they completely forgot to play their game and work hard and do the little things.
“And then of course when you have bad goaltending that also breaks the spirit. They are not heading in the right direction, to say the least.”
Added Pederson: “I also think they got off to the wrong start in Game 1 where they looked rattled, they looked like they were very fragile, whining and complaining about calls. Even yesterday you could see that when things were offside they were jumping all over the linesman as if the linesman made mistakes. They look like they’re not focused, and they’re looking at the wrong things instead of themselves.”
Most of the criticism is being heaped upon stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“When you’re talking about these two, to me, you’re talking about the two best players in the National Hockey League — not even the National Hockey League, in the world,” Pederson said. “When you sit there and you look now, you’re talking about two players that have lost their direction. They look like they’re unfocused. They’re I think setting bad examples for their teammates in the sense that they’re not working hard enough. You saw last night a number of fly-by situations where they had chances to stop, do the little things that you need to do to win championships.
“So, they’ve lost their focus and their direction, and they’ve got to get that back. Because they’re the ones that the team is going to be looking to here in Game 3 to kind of help them turn things around.”
|Bruins light up Penguins in Game 2||06.03.13 at 10:36 pm ET|
PITTSBURGH — The Bruins offense has been the only one to show up offensively, and it led them to a 6-1 victory over the Penguins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. The B’s now hold a 2-0 series lead after taking both games in Pittsburgh.
Brad Marchand, who had just two goals in the Bruins’ first 13 playoff games, turned in a big night with two goals, which came in the first and final minutes of the first period.
Sidney Crosby gave the puck away at the blue line on the first shift of the game, with Marchand racing his way to a breakaway and beating Tomas Vokoun with a wrist shot glove side. Goals from Nathan Horton and David Krejci in a two-minute span later in the period prompted Dan Bylsma to replace Vokoun with Marc-Andre Fleury.
Less than three minutes after the change, Brandon Sutter scored the Penguins’ first goal of the series with 34 seconds left in the first, but Patrice Bergeron‘s line negated any optimism the Penguins could have brought into the intermission by turning some good neutral zone work into a rush that resuled in Marchand’s second of the night with nine seconds left in the period.
The teams skated to a scoreless second period before Bergeron took a feed from Jaromir Jagr in the offensive zone with plenty of open net and made it 5-1. Johnny Boychuk poured salt on the wound with a slap shot goal from the point with just over a minute to play.
Interestingly enough, the last team to come back from an 0-2 deficit in the conference finals and win was the 1991 Penguins, who came back against the Bruins en route to winning the Stanley Cup. The series will head to Boston, with Game 3 being played Wednesday and Game 4 Friday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The Penguins’ offensive stars have been duds through two games. Crosby had two bad turnovers, one of which led to a goal in the first minute of the game, and none of the Penguins’ top six forwards have managed a point through 120 minutes this series. Jarome Iginla got behind Zdeno Chara to set himself up for a good opportunity on a rebound from an Evgeni Malkin shot in the first period off a rush, but he fanned on it. Bylsma switched James Neal and Pascal Dupuis late in the second period.
|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|
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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