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Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 8:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

3-OT loss brings back memories of 1990 for Neely

CHICAGO -- If anyone knows what the Boston Bruins are going through in the aftermath of a draining triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center, it would be team president Cam Neely.

When Andrew Shaw banked an already deflected shot off his knee pad and past Tuukka Rask for the winning goal 12:08 into the third overtime to give Chicago a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Neely felt a very familiar pain as he watched from the team's management box.

Twenty-three years earlier, Neely -- then a star power forward with the Bruins -- lived through a similar nightmare in Game 1 of the 1990 Final. The Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers were locked in a 2-2 tie past the 15-minute mark of the third extra period at Boston Garden when Edmonton's Petr Klima, who had played sparingly throughout the game, scored the game-winning goal.

That game ended 55:13 into overtime; it's the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history.

"Mentally, it wasn't tough to recover from that," Neely said Thursday at the Bruins' hotel. "Physically, it was the same for both teams."

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 8:08 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Kennedy in, Vitale out for Penguins in Game 4

BOSTON -- Still looking for the lineup that will provide a jolt to the anemic attack of the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Dan Bylsma made another lineup change for Game 4.

Forward Tyler Kennedy, scratched for the past two games, was reinserted into the lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. He replaces Joe Vitale.

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 1:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins, Bylsma only focused on Game 4

BOSTON -- There is no denying that changes could be afoot if the Pittsburgh Penguins lose Friday night and are swept out of the Eastern Conference Final by the lower-seeded Boston Bruins.

Such a scenario would be construed as a failure for a team that was the odds-on favorite to reach the Stanley Cup Final, especially after general manager Ray Shero loaded up before the NHL Trade Deadline with the acquisitions of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray.

As such, there is a consensus that the 2013-14 Penguins would look significantly different if the team is bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs this weekend. There have been some rumblings coach Dan Byslma would lose his job over such a failure.

Bylsma addressed that issue during his off-day press conference Thursday.

"I don't coach, have never coached for my job," Blysma said. "When I took over as coach of this hockey team in 2009, I came here to win hockey games, and that's where we're at right now. We know exactly what's in front of us with being down 0-3, but I believe in that group, I believe in that team, I believe in how we battled and how we're going to battle. And we're going to go in knowing we have an elimination game and win Game 4."

Posted On Thursday, 06.06.2013 / 11:37 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins' Campbell to miss rest of playoffs

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Gregory Campbell broke his right fibula Wednesday night, blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Campbell is out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That's the bad news -- and it is extremely bad news for a team that is the spitting image of Campbell's tenacity and grit.

"That's the way he is," said Boston center Patrice Bergeron, who scored the winning goal to end Game 3 in double overtime, 2-1 in favor of the home team. "He sacrifices the body always for the team, for the better of the team. Obviously, we tried to rally behind that and do it for him because he's a big part of our team on and off the ice."

The good news is that Boston won the game in which Campbell was injured to put the Penguins on the brink of elimination in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Final. Boston needs to win one of the next four games, beginning Friday with Game 4 at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three seasons.

Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 12:49 AM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference solid in return to Bruins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference wasn't sure he was ready to join the Eastern Conference Final after being idled three weeks with an injury.

But, he was eager to give it a try Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 at Consol Energy Center.

It turned out he was ready. Ference played a little more than 17 minutes and assisted on the game-opening goal by David Krejci in a 3-0 victory.

“It’s kind of like jumping on a moving train obviously to come in at this point in the season," Ference said.

Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 8:20 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference in Bruins lineup for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is in the Game 1 lineup for the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After taking part in the pregame warmups Saturday, Ference was inserted into the lineup by Boston coach Claude Julien, who scratched young defenseman Matt Bartkowski, who is from the Pittsburgh area.

Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins enjoy advantage in faceoff circle

PITTSBURGH -- Though there are many areas in which the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins seem to have an advantage in this Eastern Conference Final, the faceoff circle is not one of them.

The fourth-seeded Boston Bruins have dominated draws throughout the postseason, topping the League with a 57.5 success rate. Pittsburgh is at 50. 1 percent.

This could be a key area because if Boston can start with possession of the puck on a regular basis after play stoppages, Pittsburgh's skill players will have to expend more energy trying to regain possession. That means less time spent generating offense.

Part of the reason Boston is so good in the faceoff circle is that they have so many quality options. Five players have taken 90 or more draws for the Bruins during their 12-game postseason run. Almost all have been phenomenally successful.

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 6:24 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins aren't worried about long layoff

PITTSBURGH -- Despite a sketchy history when it comes to long layoffs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said his team is ready for the Eastern Conference Final despite having a week without a game.

Boston last played this past Saturday when it defeated the New York Rangers to end their second-round series in five games. The Pittsburgh Penguins have had eight days off after eliminating the Ottawa Senators in five games a week ago Friday.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final is Saturday at Consol Energy Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Posted On Friday, 05.31.2013 / 5:45 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins coach Julien waiting to reveal Game 1 lineup

PITTSBURGH -- When it comes to the Boston Bruins' Game 1 lineup, coach Claude Julien isn't going to reveal anything until game time Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

"There are some decisions that we are going to make tomorrow, going to be game-time," Julien said Friday, minutes after the Bruins arrived at their hotel here. "There are some decisions that are going to be made and that is the beauty of it that we have decisions we can make.

"I'm certainly not going to tip my hand here and tell you guys who is in and who is out because that is the advantage we have in the playoffs and we definitely want to take advantage of that."

Posted On Friday, 05.24.2013 / 7:47 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Penguins-Senators series blog

Morrow in Penguins lineup, scores opening goal

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brenden Morrow must have some power of persuasion.

Morrow, who missed Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury, and took line rushes with the extra forwards at the morning skate Friday, found his way back into the lineup for Game 5.

He scored the first goal of the game 6:25 into the first period.

Morrow said Friday morning he felt better and it would be a game-time decision whether he played.

He replaced forward Beau Bennett, who played in Game 4. To start the game, Morrow was on Pittsburgh's fourth line with Jussi Jokinen and Craig Adams.

Here is what the Penguins lineup looked like for Game 5:

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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