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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 8:21 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins juggle forward lines for Game 3

BOSTON – Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma juggled his forward lines for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.

Forward Jussi Jokinen was scratched and rookie Beau Bennett re-entered the lineup after a three-game absence. It was Bennett’s second game since May 5, when the Penguins played Game 3 of their first-round series against the New York Islanders.


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Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins' character to be tested in Game 3

BOSTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have not been in this situation in years.

No, not the situation where they find themselves down 0-2 to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final heading into Game 3 on the road Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). The Penguins were in this very predicament in round one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs just last season, and it didn't turn out very well; they dropped Game 3 in Philadelphia to the Flyers 8-3 before going on to lose the series in six games.

Rather, it is the Eastern Conference Final itself that has been a foreign place for the Penguins since they last won the Stanley Cup in 2009, and their ability to remain in this series will be on the line Wednesday.

Though it is far from ideal, it is a test of character that is somewhat welcomed by the Penguins.

"You don't plan to be in this situation," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said, "but you definitely see what you're made of in these types of scenarios."

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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 3:18 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bruins aware of opportunity in front of them

PITTSBURGH -- It would be easy for the Boston Bruins to say they have already accomplished what they came to Pittsburgh to do, and that is why coach Claude Julien wants to make sure his players see Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final as an opportunity that should not be squandered.

After an impressive 3-0 win in Game 1, the Bruins have a chance to head back home up 2-0 in the series if they manage to win Game 2 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It's hard to win games in the playoffs, it gets harder as you move forward," Julien said. "So every time you get a chance you have to make the most of it and don't waste that opportunity by saying at least we won one out of two. You have to go out there every game and challenge and want to win that game, because nothing guarantees you those home wins. And I think Pittsburgh knows that."

The Bruins are hoping they figured something out in the second intermission of Saturday's game that can carry over to Game 2. The Bruins were outshot 22-17 and gave up a number of high quality scoring chances to the Penguins over the first two periods of Game 1, but they largely carried the play in the third period to not only protect a 1-0 lead, but build on it with two goals.


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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Ference's return brings stability to Bruins' top-four

PITTSBURGH -- Defenseman Andrew Ference's presence in the Boston Bruins lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final was akin to a child reaching for a favorite blanket -- it created comfort.

The Bruins' top-four on defense of Zdeno Chara with Dennis Seidenberg and Ference with Johnny Boychuk has remained intact over the last three years, including Boston's Stanley Cup win in 2011. That familiarity is especially important when facing a team with two dangerous top lines like the Pittsburgh Penguins have, and it should serve the Bruins well again in Game 2 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"It's just that we've played together for a while and it's just being comfortable with each other," Boychuk said Monday. "Not that I'm not comfortable with Matt [Bartkowski], because we played well together as well. But we've played together, me and [Ference], for the last three or four playoffs, so we kind of know what to expect from each other."

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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 5:49 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

B's faceoff dominance leaves Pens seeking answers

PITTSBURGH – Prior to the start of the Eastern Conference Final, it was no secret the Boston Bruins held a decided edge over the Pittsburgh Penguins in winning faceoffs.

It just wasn't clear how dramatic that edge would be.

The Bruins as a team won 32 of 48 faceoffs in Game 1 Saturday night, including 22 of 30 at even strength, giving them an opportunity to start with the puck two thirds of the time.

The Penguins have not been a great faceoff team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sitting at 48.2 percent, but the dominance in other areas of their game allowed them to perhaps sweep that weakness under the rug.

Now, facing a series deficit for the first time this postseason, this one wart in Pittsburgh's game is a bit more exposed and it's something the Penguins want to improve on for Game 2 Monday night (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 11:05 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators learned how to come back with Binghamton

OTTAWA -- When a team faces a 3-1 series deficit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the way the Ottawa Senators do in their Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the first step to overcoming it is a belief it can be done.

As the Senators prepare to embark on that monumental challenge when they play Game 5 at Pittsburgh on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), they do so loaded with players who have that belief firmly lodged in their minds because they’ve done it before.

In the first round of the 2011 American Hockey League playoffs, the Binghamton Senators fell behind 3-1 in a best-of-7 against the Manchester Monarchs. But Binghamton won Game 5 in overtime, Game 6 in double overtime, and Game 7 in overtime to win the series.

The Baby Sens went on to win the Atlantic Division Finals in six games, the Eastern Conference Finals in a sweep, and the Calder Cup final in six games.

There are 12 members of the Senators organization in these Stanley Cup Playoffs who were members of the 2010-11 Binghamton Senators.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.23.2013 / 10:41 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Alfredsson stands behind postgame comments

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson did not back down Thursday from what he said following his team's 7-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Wednesday, but he did feel his sentiments were taken somewhat out of context.

Following the loss that put the Senators in a 3-1 series hole heading into Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), Alfredsson was asked if it was feasible to beat the Penguins three times in a row.

"Probably not," Alfredsson responded. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good.”

Alfredsson later spoke about how the Senators have had a never-quit attitude all season and that maybe they will thrive on the steep odds they were facing in the series, saying "maybe that's the way we like it."

He said Thursday he felt the second part of his comments were overshadowed by the first part, but he stuck to his belief that the Senators have a difficult road ahead.

"There's no denying we're in tough," Alfredsson said. "Was it taken out of context? Probably, but that's fine. I can handle that. We're down 3-1 to a very good team and going back to their building. We're just going to go in there and give them a hell of a game. We've always responded really well when our backs are against the wall and this is no different. The good thing is we're still in the playoffs, it's not over. So we're going to go in there and give them everything we have."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.22.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins likely to go to Jokinen for faceoff, PP ability

OTTAWA -- It would appear Jussi Jokinen will be back in the lineup for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma does not confirm his lineup decisions, but he did at least speak in hypothetical terms Wednesday morning about what Jokinen would bring to his lineup if he dressed.

"Jussi is a guy who's been out of our lineup and you're sitting on a guy who can make plays, score big goals, he's a faceoff guy," Bylsma said. "He's also a guy who would see time on our second power-play unit as well."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins could add Jokinen to aid power play

OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins may be welcoming one of their trade-deadline acquisitions back into the lineup for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Center Jussi Jokinen skated on the fourth line and worked on the second unit of the struggling Penguins power play at practice Tuesday, suggesting he likely will be reinserted into the lineup for the first time since being scratched in Game 5 of the first round against the New York Islanders, a span of four games.

"Especially this time of the year, or anytime you're not playing all the time, it's not easy to watch from the press box," said Jokinen, acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on NHL Trade Deadline day April 3. "I'll try to play to my strengths, try to be good on faceoffs, be a good two-way player and do everything I can to help the team win."

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Posted On Monday, 05.20.2013 / 6:45 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor LNH.com /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins still feel sting from stunning Game 3 loss

OTTAWA - A day had passed, but the pain had not yet completely subsided Monday for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The mental pain of Sunday night's double-overtime loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators was still on the minds of the Penguins after a night of sleep. They were still wondering how they could have possibly allowed the tying goal with just 28.6 seconds remaining on regulation time while they were on a power play.


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