-Greetings on an ugly, rainy, chilly, windy day in Boston. It's in the high 50s and rainy, rainy, rainy. After a few nice days in Boston, today just is ... blech.
-The Penguins are in a terrible position obviously. As we all know, only three teams have come back from 3-0 series deficits and won. The Penguins aren't going to be the fourth. But as we said after last game, they can play for nothing else but their own personal pride. A sweep is about the worst thing that can happen to you in a playoff series. If for one night only, this can be the Penguins goal.
-If they want that to happen, they need to generate offense. They only have two goals in three games this series. That's inexcusable, especially for a team with two former Art Ross Trophy winners.
-A quote that has really stuck with us is from Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. He was asked how his team has been able to block shooting and passing lanes so well against the Penguins. He said, "They’re a very skilled team so we know they’ll always try to make the extra pass or a nice play. If you have that much skill, you know they are able to do that. You’re never beaten when you think you are."
-That tells us that the Penguins have been playing too fancy. They haven't gotten "ugly" with their offensive approach. They want to score the highlight goals generated from the perimeter. They need to get goals scored from near the blue paint to score against this team.
-The Penguins need another lights out effort by Tomas Vokoun. He's been the best part of this team for that continue.
-There seems to be a possibility that Mark Eaton will return to the lineup. He skated with Kris Letang today. Letang has played his best in the postseason when teamed with Eaton. Eaton seemed worn out in Game 1 against the physical Bruins but the Penguins have little to lose at this point.
-Bottom line, Letang needs to play better regardless of who his partner is. He's a franchise player. Much, much more is expected of him.
-We liked the line of Beau Bennett, Brandon Sutter and Jarome Iginla in Game 3. Iginla seemed to be set free on the right wing. Bennett and Sutter just seemed to mesh well with him as well.
-Bennett said of the line, ""I think it kind of works because Sutter is a defensive forward, I try to set stuff up and [Iginla’s] the scorer. We kind of feed off each other. We all have similar speed. That was the first time we played together. We didn’t even play together in the morning skate."
-The Penguins need a power-play goal to win. Period. If you get six power plays, you have to score on one.
-It'll be interesting to see how Gregory Campbell's absence impacts the Bruins' ability to take faceoffs. He's a big part of their game in that aspect as a left-handed draw. Could the Penguins take advantage of it?
-As play lagged on into the overtime periods in Game 3, the ice got really choppy and sloppy. Tonight, the building is really cold. Perhaps that will help the ice and improve things for the skilled puckhandlers.
-We went on a bit of a tour of Boston yesterday. Little Italy in North Boston pretty much looks like every street of that car chase scene in "The Town:
-The North Church:
-This Paul Revere guy seems pretty big here:
-We made our way down to Copley Square near the site of April's bombing attack of the Boston Marathon. A makeshift memorial with shoes and hats has sprung up:
-The finish line where the attack occured:
-The attack occurred near the Boston Public Library. As you can see, the "Boston Strong" motto, or variations of it, are popular:
-We're not huge baseball fans, but we have to admit, Fenway Park is pretty cool:
-A popular shirt in Boston:
-Jagr went for a twirl on the ice prior to the game:
-Another Jagr t-shirt:
-We're not sure if this is a tribute to Campbell's broken leg but this fan is using a crutch as a flag pole:
-Another Terrible Towel-esque giveaway:
-Jets fans? Andrew Ladd and Ondrej Pavelec are represented:
-There are a few Penguins fans here. Kris Letang:
-A complicated relationship:
-A star of Game 3, Jagr:
-Jersey of the Night: Joey Juneau:
-Aftering doing their "flag pass" upside down prior to Game 3, Bruins fans managed to correct the issue by 90 degrees tonight:
-The Penguins' starters are Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Brandon Sutter, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey, Jussi Jokinen, the great Joe Vitale and Jeff Zatkoff.
-The Bruins' starters are Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Tuukka Rask.
-Their scratches are Matt Bartkowski, Chris Bourque, Gregory Campbell, Carter Campber, Jordan Caron, Dougie Hamilton, Aaron Johnson, Jay Pandolfo, Wade Redden, Carl Soderberg and Niklas Svedberg.
-The national anthem:
18:04: Crosby controls the puck for the first time tonight and is greeted with boos.
17:25: The Penguins will get the first power play of the game as Milan Lucic is called for unsporstmanklike conduct after he bumped Douglas Murray into the right wing corner of the Penguins zone. We have no clu why that penalty was called. Murray even looked surprised. Crosby, James Neal. Malkin, Kunitz and Letang take the ice.
16:15: Daniel Paille hits Crosby away from the puck near the left point and tags him pretty good. Crosby hits the ice, recovers with a slight delay. He eventually recovers to his skates but doesn't look comfortable as he remains on the ice. Paille could have been called for interference there.
15:25: The Luci minor is killed with little threat from the Penguins.
14:10: Off a little feed from Craig Adams, Matt Cooke lifts a wrister from the left circle which is blocked.
13:45: Orpik lifts a wrister from the left point which is blocked.
13:28: Off a feed by Kunitz from the left circle, Crosby attacks the net from the left wing. His wrister is fought off by Rask. There's a scramble for the rebound which Rask recovers.
12:36: Chasing down a puck in the left wing corner, Pascal Dupuis rips a wrister on net from a bad angle. Rask holds it out.
12:20: Taking a pass in the slot, Crosby gets a step on Johnny Boychuk and lifts a wrister which Rask fights off.
11:23: Racing after apuck int he right wing corner, Neal pulls up and thumps Nathan Horton to the ice with a backwards check.
10:59: Malkin deals a feed from left wing wall to the slot. Neal has a chance but his wrister is partially blocked by Seidenberg.
10:38: The Bruins get a power play as the Penguins are called for too many men on the ice. Tyler Kennedy will serve the minor. Adams, Sutter, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
10:02: Off a feed by Chara Tyler Seguin chops a one-timer from the left half wall. Vokoun kicks it out.
9:27: Lucic takes a pass down low to the left of the cage and tries to sweep in a forehand wraparound. Vokoun holds it out.
8:38: The Bruins' power play is killed. Boston generated a few chances there.
6:59: Turning a television stoppage, Campbell is shown sitting in the press box on the video board and is greeted with a rousing ovation.
6:02: Rich Peverly rips a little wrister from a bad angle in the right circle on net. Vokoun holds it out.
5:38: Chris Kelly rips a wrister from the left circle. Vokoun eats it up. THe Bruins have generate a few chances here the last few shifts.
5:24: Marchand whips a backhander from the right cirlce on net. Vokoun kicks it out. Marchand recovers the rebound and snaps it back on net. Vokoun rejects that as well.
4:49: Off a feed from Crosby, Letang lifts a wrister from the left half wall. Rask is able to knock it down and cover.
4:00: Malkin tries to chip and chase a puck up the right wing around Chara. For his troubles, Malkin is rewarded with a thump into the right corner boards and loses the puck.
2:50: Morrow appears to get away with a hook behind the Penguins net on Thornton.
2:18: Bergeron puts a low wrister on net from the left half wall. Vokoun smothers it.
2:09: Taking a feed from Malkin, Neal grips and rips a wrister from the left wing. Rask eats it up.
2:03: In the left circle of the Boston zone, the Penguins attempted "The Gino" play where Malkin pushes the puck forward and tries to attack the net. Dennis Seidenberg read it all the way and took the puck away.
0:55: Seidenberg pounds a slappe from th eleft point .Vokoun kicsk it out. Murray is able to clear the rebound out of danger from the slot.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 0, Penguins 0.
-We're going to go out on a limb and say that was the Penguins' best first period of the series. They didn't make any killer mistakes and played things safe for the most part.
-The Penguins did control play for the first half of the period and had the bulk of scoring c hances. The Bruins reclaimed momentum in the second half and put a lot of pucks on net.
-Both goaltenders were strong.
-Crosby hade one of his better periods of the series. He looked a lot more dangerous than at any time in the first three games.
-Both power plays stink.
-Jarome Iginla just isn't offering anything right now.
-The Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr line was Boston's most consistent threat as a line.
-Dennis Seidenberg had a strong period. He just makes smart plays with the puck seemingly everytime. He's a slower, tougher German version of Paul Martin.
-The Bruins have an 11-9 edgeiin shots.
-Neal, Letang and Crosby each lead the game with three shots.
-Seguin, Seidenberg and Marchand each lead the Bruins with two shots.
-Chara leads the game with 9:33 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 9:04.
-The Bruins lead in faceoffs, 16-11 (59 percent).
-Bergeron is 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-Sutter is 6 for 11 (55 percent).
-Seidenberg and Boychuk each lead the game with five blocked shots.
18:33: Sutter rips a wrister from the right wing. Rask fights it off. There's a rebound in the slot but Iginla overskates it.
17:57: Torey Krug controls the puck in his own right wing corner and plays it up ice. Bennett crashes in and plants him on the ice after the fact.
17:14: Peverly controls the puck down low in the left wing corner an dis knockse off the puck by Adams.
16:38: Bergeron backhands a puck from the left cirlce at the cage. Bergeron re-directs it on net. Vokoun covers the puck. Marchand and Niskanen mix it up and throw a few punches. Morrow steps in and wrestles Marchand away. Officials break it up. Marchand and Niskanen get roughing minors. Four on four for two mintues.
14:44: With a ton of open ice ot work with, Krug sheels his way through a few defenders and lifts a wrister from the left circle. Vokoun eats it up.
14:38: Niskanen and Marchand return to the ice.
13:55: As Adams battles for possession of the puck in the right wing corner, Marchand hits Orpik at the right wing corner to the ice. That's two minutes for interference. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Letang and Neal take the ice.
13:50: Off a faceoff win by Crosby, Malkin feeds a pass from the right point to Letang at the left half wall. Letang swats a one-timer which Seidenberg blocks with his stick.
12:37: After Malkin fumbles the puck at the right point, David Krejci swats it down ice for a clear.
12:05: Iginla caresi the puck up ice into the offensvie zone and is greted with boos.
11:55: Marchand's minor is killed.
11:32: Marchand controls the puck down low in the right wing corner and wheels out off the boards. Morrow hooks him up a bit and Marchand takes a tumble. That's two minutes fo hooking. Sutter, Cooke, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
10:49: Lucic has a chance with a writer in the slot but Adams slides down and blocks it with a skate.
9:59: Krug whacks a one-timer from the right point but sends it wide on the near side.
9:33: The Morrow mnor is killed. Not much going on there for the Bruins.
9:03: Pushing the puck up the left wing on a two-on-one, Seguin elects to shoot and lifts a wrister into the chest of Vokoun who fights it off.
6:44: Seidenberg lifts a wrister from the right wing on net. Vokoun fights it off. There's a rebound to the left of the cage but Peverly can't get a handle on it.
5:57: Using Ference as a screen, Crosby snaps off a low wrister which Rask kicks out.
5:33: Marchan steals a puck off the left wing and tries to attack the net. Niskanen appears to hook him up and prevent a shot.
4:48: Pushing the puck up the left wing on a partial three-on-two, Malkin snaps off a feed to Cookeon the right wing but the puck hops and the pass fails to connect.
3:37: Using Murray as a screen, Horton snaps off a tricky wrister from the left circle. Vokoun snags it.
3:34: Off a faceoff win, Ference snaps off a heavy wrister from the right point wide of the cage.
3:11: Dupuis creates a little space on the left wing lifts a wrister on net with Crosby crashing the crease. Rask gloves it.
1:42: Crosby takes a shift with Neal and Malkin.
1:27: A wrister by Chara from the left point is blocked by Crosby.
0:39: Neal chops a half slapper from the left cirlce wide of the mark.
0:20: Dupuis lifts a wrister from deep on the right wing on net. Rask fights it off.
0:14: Martin lifts a half slapper from the right point. Rask punches it out.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 0, Penguins 0.
-That was more of the same that period. Lots of safe, conservative hockey. The Penguins don't want to make a mistake and aren't taking chances. The Bruins are content to do the same.
-Crosby continues to look a lot sharper tonight. He seems to have a little more purpose anytime he releases the puck.
-Again, both goaltenders are spectacular thus far tonight.
-And again, both power play stink.
-Neal has been pretty dreadful with his shot tonight and the whole series really. Crosby, Malkin and Letang get a lot of grief and reasonably so for not producing this series, but Neal is just as guilty.
-After getting points in the first three games, David Krejci has been nearly invisible this game.
-The Penguins have a 20-17 edge in shots.
-Letang leads the game with five shots.
-Seguin leads the Bruins with four.
-Seidenberg leads the game with 19:51 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins wth 18:08.
-The Bruins have a 23-17 advantage in faceoffs (58 percent).
-Bergeron is 12 for 18 (67 percent).
-Sutter is 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Seidenberg leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Dupuis leads the Penguins with two blocked shots.
18:42: A wrister by Krejci from the left wing is blocked partly by Orpik and hops out of play.
17:15: Niskanen snaps off a wrister fromthe right cirlce which hits a body inf ront and hops juuuust wide to the right of the cage.
15:20: Taking a pass at the left point, Chara snaps off a wrister which is off the mark. Neal challenged him and appeared to hurry the shot.
15:11: Off a little feed by Malkin, Neal lifts a tricky wrister from the right circle. Rask is handcuffed a bit by it but fights it off.
14:59: Finally a goal. Marchand pushes the puck up the leftw ing, wheels off a check, spin and deals a pass to McQuaid at the left point. McQuaid chops a rising slapper over the glove hand of Vokoun and under the cross bar on the far side. What a shot. Marchand and Bergeron get assists. The Bruins can really clamp down defensively now. Bruins 1-0.
13:22: The Bruins nearly iced the game. Horton drives the puck up the right wing and leaves a drop pass. Krejci snaps off a wrister which hits cluste r of body in front and deflects just wide to the right of the cage. Yeesh.
11:46: Kaspar Daugavins throws a pedestrian wrister on from the left circle. Vokoun says no.
11:23: Off a set up by Crosby, Mrrow rips a wrister from the left circle. Rask fights it off.
11:03: Wheeling out of the right wing corner, Marchand snaps off a wrister which Vokoun fights off despite traffic.
10:13: Lucic snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Engelland blocks it out of play. Engelland treis to hold up Lucic who throws him to th eice. A smalls crum ensue but nothing comes of it.
9:46: Fighing off two checkers, Sutter deals a pass to Orpik at the right point. Orpik cracks oa one-timer which Rask kicks out with his right leg.
8:50: Letang sprints up the left wing and lifts a wrister on net. Rask fights it off and the Bruins clear the puck.
8:39: This could be the game and the series right here. Letang is called for kneeing Bergeron. This is a must-kill for the Penguins. Dupuis Sutter, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
8:06: Machand rips a wrister from above the left circle over the cage.
7:54: Jagr rips a wrister from the right circle juuust wide of the cage.
7:36: Things get evened up as Horton is called for holding Murray. Murray bought that call by falling easily. Veteran move. Niskanen, Crosby, Neal and Orpik take the ice.
6:39: Just as the Letang minor is killed, Paille somehow gets sprung ona shorthanded breakway. He approaches the net and snaps off a wrister.
5:33: As the Horton minor expires, Malkin snaps off a wrister from the right half wall to Martin in the right circle. Martin taps it wide on the near side.
5:06: After Letang fumbles the puck in the neutral zone, Bergeron lifts a wrister from the right wing. Vokoun gloves it.
4:41: Kunitz air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Rask punches it away.
4:10: Krejci tries to wheels out of the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone and attack the net but Niskanen nocks him to the ice.
3:06: "WE WANT THE CUP" chants rain down.
2:15: Contrlling ap uck in the right wing corner, Kunitz sends a wild pass to Niskanen which clears the zone and allws the Bruins to change.
1:57: Krejci whacks a bouncing puck from the slot on net. Vokoun eats it up.
1:36: Vokoun is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:57: Letang knocks down Horton on the right wing and prevents an empty net goal.
0:40: With Rask swiming in the blue paint, Malkin rips a wrister from the right cicle. Ther's a scamble fo rthe puck
0:35: Malkin fans on a one-timer from the right circle.
0:00: The game ends as it should. With a save. Iginla has a clean look in the slot and lifts a wrister. Rask locates it and gloves it as play ends. End of game. End of series. End of season. Bruins 1, Penguins 0.
-They were a better team. Pure and simple. This wasn't like last season when the Penguins lost to the Flyers. The Penguins could have won that series. They just happened to make the most mistakes in a series full of them. This series, the Penguins simply weren't in the same neighborhood as the Bruins as a team.
-The Penguins had a relatively easy time scoring against the Islanders and Senators in the first two rounds. The Bruins aren't the Islanders or Senators. This was a shock to the system. The Bruins defense just enveloped any Penguins player who dared entered the offensive zone. The Penguins gashed their way through opposing defenses most of the season and the first two rounds of the postseason. This round, they were pounded into submission.
-The lack of creativity by the Penguins on offense was disappointing. They tried to play the same type of game against the Bruins as the Islanders or the Senators. Trying to beat Lubomir Visnosky or Andre Benoit one-on-one is a little different than trying to beat Dennis Seidenberg one-on-one.
-The power play was a complete failure. And a lack of creativity doomed that squad as well. The Penguins rarely changed the top unit of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Kris Letang. Paul Martin or Jarome Iginla were rarely granted the opportunity to offer a different look for that squad.
-The lack of change in the top line was confusing. Aside from a few changes shift to shift, the trio of Crosby, Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis were on the ice most of the series in five-on-five play. Why could they not have been broken up more often?
-With Crosby and Malkin drawing so much attention defensively, the Penguins' secondary scoring failed to capitalized on any increased chances. Neal's shot completely abandoned him. Kunitz never looked completely sharp throughout the playoffs. Jarome Iginla was a non-factor. Dupuis rarely got a look at the cage.
-Two goals. Seriously. A team with two Hart Trophy winners, a 500-goal scorer, a first-time all star and a Norris Trophy finalist could only muster two goals. All due credit to the Bruins and their splendid defense, but there were some serious malfunctions by the Penguins organizationally which led to this.
-We'll address the future of Dan Byslma and the coaching staff on Monday. But it's clearly in question. This team had so many advantage against the Bruins on paper entering this series yet they looked feeble during these four games. It's nearly impossible to defend Bylsma and his assistants at this moment.
-We'll also address the future of individuals on this team moving forward on Monday as well. There are plenty of questions and not a lot of answers.
-The one Penguins player who can walk away from this series with a ton of pride is Tomas Vokoun. He did everything he could in this series. If you gave him a regular shift on the third line, he might generate a few more scoring chances than some of the forwards. Tomas Vokoun played outstanding this series.
-His defense was outstanding and he got a few fortunate breaks, but Tuukka Rask was fantastic. He simply was tuned in. He let in two goals. TWO goals. Just dumbfounding.
-Jarome Iginla, who chose the Penguins over the Bruins, simply didn't matter in this series. Part of that was how he was used by the coaches and part of that is simply the fact that he's not the same player who drug the Flames to the Stanley Cup final in 2004. At 35, he's not a dominant franchise player anymore.
-That said, look at Jaromir Jagr. At 41, he's not even in the same strasophere of being the dominant MVP he used to be. Plus, he joined a team which is committed to nothing but defense, hardly a staple of Jagr's game. Despite that, he made adustment to fit in. He didn't make an overwhelming contribution to the series but he has found a way to contribute to a Stanley Cup finalist.
-James Neal went missing this series. He just couldn't locate the net with his shot. He either hit Rask in the chest a bunch or missed the cage completely. He didn't perform to the level expected of him.
-Kris Letang's troubles in this series were disturbing. He looked like a 21-year-old rookie making mistakes, not a 25-year old with seven years of NHL experience. And this wasn't a new development with Letang. Signs of this have been evident in his game at an increasing rate for years. In this series, it manifested itself in a big way. The Penguins have to make some big decisions on Letang this offseason.
-Watching the Bruins, one thing became evident. The Penguins didn't truly find another top four defenseman they have been lacking since the departure of Sergei Gonchar. They filled in the blanks on occasion this season with Mark Eaton, Matt Niskanen and others, but they never found a player who could fit with Letang in all situations. That lack of depth was evident in this series when you looked at how effective the Bruins' top four defenders - Zdeno Chara, Seidenberg, Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk - were.
-We've said this before but the extra week of downtime really benefitted Boston's blue line. Seidenberg and Ference needed the break to get healthy and they played major roles in shutting down the Penguins' offense in matchups against Crosby and Malkin.
-The Bruins structure was very impressive. They don't play pretty hockey. They don't take chances. They're opportunistic. They wait for the opposition to make mistakes and they are committed.
-The Penguins' penalty kill was just fine. I killed every power play the Bruins had this series.
-We have a hard time understanding how Deryk Engelland gave the Penguins a better chance to win than Simon Despres. We understand Engelland is a tough player who can bang bodies with the likes of the Bruins. But his greatest asset is fighting. There really isn't a need for a player like him in the postseason when fighting all but disappears.
-Despres has all the tools and skill to be a top four defenseman in this league. The only thing he doesn't have is Dan Bylsma's trust. In a series where goals were hard to come by, Despres' skill set could have helped.
-The Penguins led in shots, 26-24.
-Letang led the game with six shots.
-Tyler Seguin led the Bruins with four shots.
-Letang led the game with 27:58 of ice time.
-Chara led the Bruins with 25:58.
-The Bruins had a 31-28 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Bergeron was 17 for 26 (65 percent).
-Sutter was 10 for 19 (53 percent).
-Seidenberg led the game with seven blocked shots.
-Martin, Dupuis and Orpik each led the game wth two blocked shots.
-The last time the Penguins were swept was in 1979 during a quartefinal series against the Bruins.
-Rask joins Detroit Chris Osgood (2008 Stanley Cup final) and Martin Brodeur (2001 Eastern Conference) final as the only goaltender to record two shutouts in the same series against the Penguins.