Claude Julien

Julien on Stanley Cup rematch: “I don’t think it’s as much as people think it is”

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Saturday’s game between the Canucks and Bruins has many people excited.

It just doesn’t seem like Claude Julien is one of those people.

The Bruins head coach wasn’t interested in discussing the first Vancouver-Boston rematch since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals after practice today. In fact, he barely discussed it at all.

“The finals was last year. We did what we had to do and we succeeded in that,” Julien said. “It’s going to be one of those intense games, but certainly I wouldn’t read into it any more than that.”

Julien refused to bite at the many carrots dangled by reporters, though it wasn’t for a lack of carrots. Man, there were there a lot of carrots. Julien was asked repeatedly about the history of trash-talking between Boston and Vancouver, including a question about Mark Recchi calling the Canucks “the most arrogant team I have ever played against.”

Again, Julien refused to bite.

“I don’t think you’re talking to the right person with that kind of stuff,” he said. “I really don’t have time for those kind of comments, so we’ll leave it at that.”

Julien’s restraint heading into Saturday’s affair is admirable because — regardless of the “it’s just another game” cliches — this isn’t just another game. Even if the Bs and Canucks were total strangers the game still would’ve had juice, as it’s a matchup of the second- and third-best teams in the NHL and its two highest-scoring teams (in terms of total goals for, that is.)

That said, some players are a little caught up in the hype.

“It’s a big two points for us,” said Milan Lucic. “It’s a chance for us to be first in the whole league if we win this game, so it’s definitely a big game for us and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

When asked about the rivalry, Lucic acknowledged Vancouver isn’t one of his favorite teams.

“It’s safe to say, yeah,” Lucic said. “Just because of the emotional series we went through with them.

“I’m sure if you ask them the same question, they would say the same. It’s just one of those things.”

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Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.