Game 5

Bruins back in a hole, from which they’ve emerged before

42 Comments

The last time the Boston Bruins fell behind 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Final, it was no great shock for head coach Claude Julien, a man that had already seen his team fall behind and prevail before.

“We’ve been through this, I don’t know how many times,” Julien said on June 15, 2011, after a 1-0 loss in Vancouver. “We’re not a team that’s done anything the easy way, so in a way, it’s not a surprise we’re here.”

The Bruins, of course, would go on to win Games 6 and 7 to win their first NHL championship since 1972.

Now, two years later, they’re right back where they were, down 3-2 in the Cup final and going back home for Game 6.

And, once again, Julien is happy to give reporters a history lesson.

“It’s do or die,” he said Saturday following a 3-1 loss at the United Center. “We’ve been there before, and we’ve done well in that situation.”

Granted, there are notable differences from 2011.

First, it’s the Blackhawks, with a core of stars that’s shown it can get the job done — not the Canucks, with a core that hasn’t — that the Bruins are trailing.

On top of that, Boston’s best center, Patrice Bergeron, is hurt and questionable for Game 6, and its best defenseman, Zdeno Chara, has been on the ice for eight goals against in the last two games.

But if there’s a team that knows how to pull together when its backs are against the wall, the chips are down, and other assorted clichés, it’s these Boston Bruins. The Canucks learned that in 2011, as did the Montreal Canadiens. Most recently, the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had the B’s beaten, only to regret not finishing the job.

“There’s no panic,” said Julien. “You’re not going to push us away that easily. We’re a committed group, and we plan on bouncing back.”

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

4 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

7 Comments

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

Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 7.48.18 PM
10 Comments

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

2 Comments

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.