Much to the surprise of many, the Bruins are heading home after two games in Pittsburgh with a two-games-to-none lead in their Eastern Conference Finals series with the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins. After a 3-0 shutout of the Penguins in Game 1, the Bruins could not have played a much better Game 2.
The Bruins dominated the Penguins from start to finish in Game 2. It all started with Brad Marchand’s first period goal just 28 seconds into the period and ended with Johnny Boychuk’s career playoff high fifth goal late in the third.
The Bruins got a boost from Marchand’s early goal and according to Jaromir Jagr it gave the Bruins the confidence they needed.
“Well we wanted to score the first goal, and luckily it happened on the first shift and so it’s always good for the team to score first and to get the confidence a little bit and now try to play our game. That was our goal and it happened” said Jagr who finished with two assists on the evening.
Much to the pleasure of the Bruins and their fans the Bruins were able to chase Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun after three first period goals. Marc-Andre Fluery didn’t help his team out any better than Vokoun did as he too allowed three Bruins goals.
Obviously Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby was visibly upset after the loss.
“Pretty bad” said Crosby. “There is no easy way to describe it. It was just a bad hockey game”.
Despite being upset and down in the series, Crosby knows his team can very easily bounce back and get themselves back into the series with a win or two in Boston.
“I think we’ve shown in the past that we can bounce back, but I don’t think there is anyone too pleased with how we played tonight, not one guy” added Crosby who was held off the score sheet for the second game in a row. “It’s not a good feeling, but we realize hanging our heads about it isn’t going to fix anything. So we’ve got to go into Boston with a different mentality than tonight.”
The Bruins on the other hand are happy to be heading home up two-games-to-none, but they certainly know this series is far from over
“You know of course we are happy, but we understand it’s just to win the series you need four wins” added Jagr.
“So we all understand that, we’ve all been in this situation and we are all professionals and all know how tough it is to play against Pittsburgh and we know how explosive offense they can be and how many goals they can score. So we just have to make sure we play the same way and see what happens.”
If it helps the Penguins rest any easier tonight, the last team to erase a 0-2 Eastern Conference Finals deficit to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals was the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins who ironically did it against the Bruins.
With Game 3 on Wednesday, back at TD Garden, the Bruins have a golden opportunity to take a 3-0 series lead for the second time this postseason, but the Bruins know that the Penguins will be a hungry team come Wednesday.
“Yeah they have a lot of experience” said Patrice Bergeron. “They’re a team that we know that are going to try and bounce back and we know we have to try and be ready. They’re a good team and we respect them and we know that it’s not over and we have to take it one game at a time and stay in the moment”
One of the key reasons as to why the Bruins are up in this series after two contests has been the play of both the Bruins and Penguins top line.
No line in hockey scored more regular season goals than the trio of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis (31), but in their series against the Bruins the Penguins top line has been a complete no-show with zero points and a combined minus-eight.
The Bruins top line who tallied a combined 10 regular season goals less than the Penguins top trio has been the story of the series with five goals, five assists and a plus-11 through two games.
If the Bruins can continue to shut down the Penguins number one line while theirs stays red-hot, things will only get better for a club playing some good hockey at the right time.