If you blinked at all this past week you would’ve missed the Boston Bruins sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the Eastern Conference finals.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli spoke with reporters today about the team and did a lot of pointing out the obvious about their success. Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com was there to hear what he had to say.
“I don’t have many complaints. From top to bottom, we’ve been rolling,” said Chiarelli. “In all three zones, we’ve been really good. Defending we’ve been good, Tuukka’s [Rask] been terrific, we’re generating a lot of chances, we’re scoring when we have to and we’re shutting down when we have to.
“It’s hard to complain after the last two series. The challenge will be to keep it going in the next series, whoever we play.”
Boston’s won their last two rounds in five and four games respectively. Whether they end up facing Chicago or Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup finals may not matter if they continue to play as dominantly as they have.
After all, if Tuukka Rask is going to put up a .986 save percentage in the next round, either Corey Crawford or Jonathan Quick are going to have to be perfect.
Before the 2013 Eastern Conference finals began, Milan Lucic made an entertaining comparison between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Miami Heat. It makes sense, then, that Jaromir Jagr used the NBA to explain how the Boston Bruins swept the Penguins, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Seth Rorabaugh reports.
“It’s like basketball. If you have a good player, you want to double team them. Look at other guys to beat them,” Jagr said. “If you’re going to play against LeBron James, you’re going to put two guys on him. Let ‘Birdman’ (Chris Andersen) beat you.”
If you even loosely follow the NBA, you probably have Shaq’s “Birdman” chant in your head right now. If not, check Pro Basketball Talk for the latest on the colorful role player (pictured in this post).
In case you’re wondering, Lucic told NHL.com’s Matt Kalman that he’s not sure which NBA team the Bruins might be.
(One guess: maybe the Ben/Rasheed Wallace-era Detroit Pistons? It really is a tough call.)
After two lopsided wins to begin the 2013 Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in a more familiar way in the second half of the sweep: by playing smothering defense.
Sometimes it means getting a little lucky/Tuukka Rask making some incredible saves, though. In even more desperate moments, it occasionally comes down to players making the stops.
While it wasn’t quite as impressive as Michael Ryder’s handball save from 2011, Zdeno Chara getting his glove in the way of Evgeni Malkin’s potential tying shot was impressive and timely:
Sequences like the one above left head coach Dan Bylsma looking for answers and seemingly coming up with borderline spiritual answers.
” … And at the end it felt like not only Tuukka Rask was keeping the puck out of the net, but there was a force around the net because we had some great opportunities, good situations for our team, our players, and were not able to find any kind of goal in this series, and never a lead,” Bylsma said.
The Boston Bruins scored the first and only goal in Game 4 on Friday, sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in a dominating fashion. Let’s discuss the contest.
- So, we might as well give you a moment to make fun of Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow for turning down Boston in favor of Pittsburgh. Go ahead, get it out.
- Tuukka Rask allowed two goals in four games, which is a touch more impressive because Game 3 went so deep. How much money did he make himself in this series? Where does he rank among the top goalies (considering the fact that he’s put up great numbers whenever he’s gotten the chance)? He stopped 158 out of 160 shots.
- What do you think Tim Thomas is thinking right now?
- Which opponent should the Bruins hope makes it to the 2013 Stanley Cup finals: the Los Angeles Kings or the Chicago Blackhawks?
- Zdeno Chara had his teammates pose around the Prince of Wales Trophy once again. Pretty cool.
- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin failed to score a point in this series? Anyone throwing the “choker” description around?
- Inevitable question: who gets fired? Who gets traded? Should the answer actually be “None of the above”?
Going into the third period, the Boston Bruins managed to hold the Pittsburgh Penguins – who own NHL’s most dangerous regular season offense – to two goals.
Some would say that’s impressive for a full game, let alone for about 13 periods. While it’s easy to bark “Tuukka Rask” as the main explanation, great team defense has been a huge part of Boston befuddling Pittsburgh. This video provides a guide to a “layered” defense that has given the Pens fits: