BostonBruins

Discover ‘Road to the Cup’: Boston Bruins

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So, who saw this coming?

After two games of the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Bruins find themselves up on the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins by a series of almost unbelievable numbers:

— Two games to none

— Nine goals to one

— Six power plays conceded, zero PP goals allowed

Add it all up and you’ve got one of the most stunning storylines of this postseason.

Even the Bruins themselves are having a hard time wrapping their heads around it.

“I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Milan Lucic told CSNNE.com when asked what he would’ve said if someone told him the Bruins would be in this position.

“We’re just trying to create opportunities, and bear down when we do get them. It was what was lacking most during the season for us. It has thankfully come at the right time.”

The Bruins have imposed their will on the Penguins though, to be fair, they’ve really been imposing their will on all comers since the third period of that fateful Game 7 against Toronto in the opening round.

Boston has outscored opponents 31-11 since then, winning seven of eight playoff games with its lone loss coming in overtime.

But in this series, that dominance has been on display more than ever before.

Nobody has overpowered Penguins like this at any point during the regular season and/or playoffs — Pittsburgh hadn’t been shut out in 96 games prior to Game 1’s 3-0 loss and their star players have been completely shut down.

According to NHL.com, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz and Jarome Iginla combined for 88 points in the first 11 games of the playoffs.

They have combined for no points and a minus-25 rating in the past two games.

As such, the Bruins have now completely stolen home-ice advantage from the Penguins and head back to Boston with a chance to close out the series at TD Garden.

If they can do that, they’ll be on their way to a second Stanley Cup finals appearance in the last three years.

Who’da thunk it?

Discuss: Bruins crush Pens, take 2-0 series lead

hortonseguingetty
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The Boston Bruins might have embraced the role of the underdog coming into the 2013 Eastern Conference finals, but they’ve made an emphatic statement that the Pittsburgh Penguins had every reason to respect them through two dominant wins to open the series.

After beating them 3-0 in Game 1, the Bruins really poured it on in Game 2, throttling the Penguins 6-1 in a game that seemed like it was over once the second period started. Let’s get the discussion started.

  • We’ll have a poll up later, but we might as well start the debate here: should Dan Bylsma tab Marc-Andre Fleury or Tomas Vokoun in Game 3?
  • One of the few bright sides for Pittsburgh is that they’ve been strong on the road. Can they get back in the series as it shifts to Boston?
  • Goaltending is far from the only problem for Pittsburgh. Who needs to step up the most: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang? Are any of those three getting unfair treatment?
  • Tuukka Rask has quietly allowed just one goal in two games. Is he officially the goalie of the future for the Bruins?
  • Is the Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton line the best combo in the 2013 playoffs. If not, who takes the cake?
  • If this series doesn’t turn at all, should Bylsma worry about his job security? Could there be any other big changes in Pittsburgh?

Video: Sidney Crosby struggles against Bruins

crosbymcdsgetty
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Even the best players have off nights.

It’s a comforting thought for normal folks, although sometimes it means that those same people have to watch their sports teams fall flat.

Sidney Crosby’s had such a rough Game 2 against the Boston Bruins on Monday that some are wondering if it’s the worst they’ve seen of the Pittsburgh Penguins in years. PHT will leave the historic talk to the comments, but this video should illuminate the 25-year-old’s tough evening quite well:

Bylsma doesn’t want to trade chances with Bruins

Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Matt Cooke
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The Pittsburgh Penguins may be the highest score team in the NHL, but head coach Dan Bylsma doesn’t want his players trying to run and gun with the Boston Bruins.

“We don’t like the number of chances we gave up last game for the Bruins and don’t like the opportunities we gave them,” Bylsma said this morning ahead of tonight’s game at the Consol Energy Center.

“There was another two-on-one they had that they didn’t get a shot on that we didn’t like about our game.

“So we’re not looking to play an 8-to-6 game or a 7-to-5 game and hope we can outscore — I think the first team to score a goal is going to win this hockey game tonight.”

The Penguins, of course, didn’t score a single goal Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, a 3-0 victory for the Bruins.

And the idea that the Penguins, blessed with offensive talents Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, should try to open it up against the B’s has a certain amount of merit. So far in the playoffs, Pittsburgh has been involved in seven games where at least seven goals have been scored. The Penguins won five of those seven games; the other two were won by the New York Islanders in the first round.

But even if the Penguins did want to trade chances, they might not have a willing partner in the Bruins, who did a great job of protecting the lead in Game 1.

“I think in probably the latter, I’d say, 35 minutes of the game, we got away a little bit from our execution,” Bylsma said Saturday. “Brought pucks back, tried to make plays through the neutral zone.

“They had all five guys back. We weren’t able to get through that.”

Turtle Wax Weekend Recap: Bruins frustrate Pens, ‘Hawks chase Quick

Saturday and Sunday proved to be very interesting in terms of opening up the Eastern and Western Conference finals.

In the East, the underdog Bruins jumped out to a 1-0 series lead and stole home ice advantage thanks to a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

The Bruins did it in their usual fashion — hard checking, asserting physicality — a strategy that really seemed to work.

The Penguins hadn’t been shutout in 96 games since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it on Feb. 1, 2012, and hadn’t been blanked in a playoff game since a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of their first-round series in 2011.

The Bruins also managed to goad the Penguins in 28 total penalty minutes on the night, including a second period that ended with the unlikeliest of players — Evgeni Malkin — engaging in a fight with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.

Out West, the ‘Hawks took a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Kings with back-to-back wins at the United Center.

In doing so, Chicago may have figured out the key to this entire playoff: How to beat Jonathan Quick. The Kings goalie, who has been virtually unbeatable this postseason, looked flat in allowing six goals on 47 shots before being yanked in favor of Jonathan Bernier in Game 2.

Quick allowed four total goals in Game 2, which was a rarity — the last time he had allowed four goals in a postseason affair was April 25, 2011, when the San Jose Sharks needed overtime in Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals to eliminate the Kings.

“Whoever is shooting the puck, we feel as a team that we have the confidence that it’s going to go in at some point,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “So we’ll keep shooting the puck, creating those chances and trying to take his [Quick’s] confidence away.”