Gameday Eastern Conference Finals #2: v. Boston Bruins

penguinsvsbruins

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. Boston Bruins

Consol Energy Center, 8:00 PM, NBC Sports, CBC, RDS, 105.9 the X

This is the first time all postseason the Penguins have actually been behind in a series. The Bruins came to town Saturday and played the perfect road game. The Bruins played with grit, determination, and they capitalized on chances, whether those chances were earned or not. With that said, there isn’t much to be too disappointed about in the way the Penguins played. They dominated the offensive zone for a majority of the game. They generated impressive chances, more or less controlled the neutral zone, and even maintained a pretty impressive physical edge against the “Big, Bad, Bruins.” But Tuukka Rask refused to allow himself to be beat and a few defensive zone lapses by the Penguins made the final score something of an anomaly compared to what we all watched.

But here are a couple of things to consider:

  • The last time a goaltender decided to not allow himself to get beat, and still got hung out to dry so badly by his defense was Craig Anderson in Game 3 of the Senators series. The Penguins went on to put up 11 goals in the next two games against him.
  • The greatest thing we can hope for is that the Bruins walked into their locker room after Saturday’s game and said, yeah we were awesome, we won 3-0. You could tell that the Bruins were more or less pleased with their effort. But despite that, a few different bounces and better objectivity by the refs and the Pens could have won 5-3 or better. We’ll take that.

Nonetheless, the key to tonight’s game for the Penguins will be focus. I had no problem with Geno’s fight: think about it this way. He took with him Patrice Bergeron, the best 2 way center in the NHL, sure the Pens had a power play to protect after the fight, but on that power play the Penguins replaced Geno with future first-ballot hall of famer Jarome Iginla, the Bruins didn’t have anyone comparable with which to replace Bergeron. I would call that a tradeoff worth taking for the Penguins.

But there was unneeded chippyness. And it seemed like after the halfway point of the game the Penguins just didn’t have the same awareness, the same will to win the game. They started doing things they didn’t need to do. They tried to prove their toughness when they should have been trying to win a 1-0 hockey game. If they can get back to business tonight, I don’t reckon there is anything to fear.

Looking at the morning skate lines I wouldn’t expect any lineup changes today. And if you actually thought there was going to be a goalie controversy for tonight’s game, you’re wrong. Tomas Vokoun played well in Game 1 and there is no reason to think he’ll do anything different tonight. We’ve said it all along, if the team in front of him gives Voki a chance, he’ll hold up his end. On Saturday he held up his end, it was the occasional weak play of his forwards and defensemen in the defensive zone that led to problems.

Right the ship. Go Pens.

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