Bruce Boudrea

Boudreau admits he wasn’t doing “the right thing” in Washington

Bruce Boudreau is back to doing things his own way. In an interview with the Washington Post, the former Capitals coach admitted the approach he took during his final season in Washington went against his instincts.

“You’ve got to be true to yourself,” he told the Post. “I found that I was getting away from that this year. People were saying, ‘Do this’ and ‘Do that.’ I wasn’t doing what I believed was the right thing.”

It’s hardly surprising that Boudreau, now the head coach in Anaheim, began to doubt his methods. When the Caps repeatedly didn’t get the results in the playoffs, it was only natural to wonder if the critics were right.

That’s not to say the critics were necessarily wrong. For example, maybe the Capitals do need a disciplinarian type like Dale Hunter in charge. But in Boudreau’s case, a nice guy can’t just morph into a tough guy overnight. It’s not natural. It comes across as desperate. Players sense that.

There were other areas where Boudreau began to doubt himself, according to the Post:

Boudreau said he would leave the rink second-guessing his day-to-day decisions, from alignments to deciding the best roles for players. He declined to elaborate further on what caused him to question his convictions.

It’s not clear whether he regrets reigning in the Capitals’ free-wheeling ways, but it’s worth noting he’s been preaching defense since arriving in Anaheim. The Ducks have allowed just seven goals in their last five games — four of them victories — so maybe the message is getting through.

At any rate, Boudreau’s affable manner has been a welcome one for Ducks players, who apparently weren’t feeling the love from their old coach, Randy Carlyle.

“From the moment [Boudreau] got here he started asking us questions,” Teemu Selanne said. “ ‘How’s the family? What’s going on at home?’ I don’t think a lot of coaches do that; that’s something new for me, but I think it’s a very important part. He doesn’t ask just to ask. I sense he really wants to know, and that’s a great thing as we try to turn things around. He’s so positive and such a good teacher. It’s kind of wrong we haven’t given him more back yet.”

Added Bobby Ryan: “I’ve had more conversations with him in however many games it’s been than I’ve had [with other coaches] in years, and that’s really rubbed off on me because you gain confidence when you can air things out with the coach.”

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

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Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

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Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.