Boston coach Claude Julien wasn’t about to share his entire game plan with reporters today, but he did say something that’s become frustratingly apparent to the Pittsburgh Penguins after two games of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that we have layers,” said Julien. “Our guys are committed to come back and just making sure that there’s layer after layer that make it hard for them to get to our net.”
The Bruins, with their layers, have surrendered just one Pittsburgh goal so far. And combined with clutch goaltending from Tuukka Rask — another layer in itself — Boston has a commanding 2-0 series lead, with Games 3 and 4 on home ice.
“Our team’s playing probably its best hockey this year right now, but so is Tuukka,” said Julien. “I think he’s been unbelievable so far in this series. He’s been good throughout the whole playoffs, but he seems to have brought his game up a notch here as well.”
The Bruins — who boast one of the NHL’s top defensive forwards in Patrice Bergeron and one of the best shutdown defensemen in Zdeno Chara — have shut down potent offenses in the past.
In the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, they limited the Vancouver Canucks to just eight goals in seven games. Now they’re thwarting a Pittsburgh side that came into the conference finals averaging over four goals per game in the playoffs.
On the flip side, the Canucks once led the 2011 finals by the same score the Bruins now lead the Penguins, a fact that Julien acknowledged today.
“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here,” he said. “We need to understand that these next games are crucial for us, just as much as it is for them.”