PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 03: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins scores a goal on Tomas Vokoun #92 of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first period during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Consol Energy Center on June 3, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Playoffs Tonight: Bruins look to battle Penguins to edge

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The Los Angeles Kings avoided falling behind 3-0 in the Western Conference finals. Now the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to do the same…

Boston Bruins host Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads 2-0

With all the focus on what’s gone wrong for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins are perhaps not getting enough credit for their accomplishments. They’ve taken one of the most loaded teams in recent memory and made them look silly.

If Pittsburgh’s strategy was to overwhelm the Bruins offensively, so far it’s failed spectacularly. Boston’s defense has risen to the task and Tuukka Rask has been nearly flawless so far.

Still, Boston hasn’t won this series yet and Bruins coach Claude Julien understands that this would be a terrible time for his squad to feel content.

“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,” Julien said, according to the Ottawa Sun. “We were in the same position as Pittsburgh a few years ago and we worked our way back.

“I think we understand the situation here. We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves and understand these next games are crucial for us.”

“These next games will be a lot tougher I’m sure,” Boston’s Shawn Thornton added. “These guys are a very dangerous team.”

For Pittsburgh, there are any number of adjustments they might make, but perhaps the most useful ones would be mental. After suffering a 6-1 loss on Monday, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma talked about the Penguins’ need to adjust their attitude. Although he didn’t go into detail, that likely speaks to competitiveness and patience, but also not getting scared or frustrated.

“Maybe after that first game, we played Game 2 scared to lose instead of trying to win it,” Pittsburgh forward Brenden Morrow told the McKeesport Daily News. “We were slow to pucks all night, and that’s why. We were doing too much thinking. We can’t do that again.”

We’ll see if the Penguins can enter this game with renewed focus or if the Bruins can push their backs against the wall.

Nugent-Hopkins trying to ignore trade rumors — ‘If it happens, it happens’

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14:  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins #93 of the Edmonton Oilers skates against the Boston Bruins during the first period at TD Garden on December 14, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.

The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.

“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”

Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.

What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.

The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.

Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.

Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.

Flyers reportedly avoid arbitration with Manning, sign him for two more years

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Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.

Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.

Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.

Report: Blackhawks, Rundblad agree to terminate contract

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 09:  David Rundblad #5 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at American Airlines Center on October 9, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.

Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.

It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.

Sydor named assistant coach of Blues’ AHL affiliate

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 11: Assistant coach Darryl Sydor of the Minnesota Wild looks up at the jumbotron during a video review in a game against the Ottawa Senators, during the NHL home opener to kick off the Senators' 20th anniversary at Scotiabank Place on October 11, 2011 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.

The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.

Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.

“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”