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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 2:56 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Lineup changes coming for Penguins in Game 3

PITTSBURGH -- After the Pittsburgh Penguins were outscored, 9-1, by the Boston Bruins in losing the first two games of Eastern Conference Final at home, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wasn't going to stand pat when it comes to personnel.

"There's going to be some changes to our lineup and some of our [line combinations]," Bylsma said after practice Tuesday at Consol Energy Center.

A virtual must-win Game 3 is Wednesday at TD Garden in Boston (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"We have to, as a group and as lines and as D pairings, get back to playing our game," Bylsma said. "We have to get back to playing good defensive hockey, we have to get back to playing well away from the puck -- and that's got to happen throughout our lineup. And I think you'll see some changes in our lines and a few guys being added to the lineup to do so."

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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 1:04 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins show no signs of panic, lineup changes

PITTSBURGH -- Throughout the Pittsburgh Penguins' dressing room, a common theme was repeated: Stay the course, play the way we did over the first two periods of Game 1, things will be OK.

Be it a subtle message to his players along those lines or a simple evaluation leading to the same result, coach Dan Bylsma appears to agree when it comes to the personnel.

Judging by the line combinations and defense pairings during the morning skate, Pittsburgh will go with the same lineup it used for Saturday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final when it takes the ice for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins 8 p.m. Monday at Consol Energy Center.

"I don't think our mindset changes; I think we want more of the same," veteran forward Craig Adams said. "There's just some things we can do better, and we'll try to do those better."


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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 12:14 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Vokoun remains Penguins starter for Game 2

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was asked if he had given any thought to making a goalie change heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

"I watch the NHL Network, so I've heard it talked about," Bylsma said. "So yes."

When pressed further on if he'd considered going back to erstwhile starter Marc-Andre Fleury after starting Tomas Vokoun for the previous eight games, Bylsma said, "I heard people talk about it on the NHL Network, so it did cross my mind."

Other than listening to commentators on television, though, not nearly enough to make a switch.


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Posted On Sunday, 06.02.2013 / 4:26 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Bylsma not losing faith in Vokoun after Game 1 loss

PITTSBURGH -- When Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma made a switch of goalies early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he did it with no preconceived notions on how long it would last.

It's been 25 days so far.

And just because Tomas Vokoun finally lost his second game -- his first while allowing more than two goals -- it doesn't mean Bylsma is prepared to turn back to erstwhile starter Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost his spot after Game 4 of the first round against the New York Islanders.

"We don't get this win, (but) the win and the loss isn't necessarily an indicator of what we're going to do with the goaltending situation," Bylsma said early Sunday afternoon, about 14 hours after the Penguins lost, 3-0, to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.01.2013 / 12:12 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins stick with same lineup for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- If it isn't broken, coach Dan Bylsma and the Pittsburgh Penguins see no reason to fix it.

Over the past week as the team practiced for the beginning of the Eastern Conference Final, several players said the Penguins peaked at the end of their series victory against the Ottawa Senators. Through five practices and a morning skate in advance of Game 1 against the Boston Bruins on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), Pittsburgh kept its line combinations and defense pairings stable.

Perhaps not surprisingly, they appear identical to what Bylsma utilized in Pittsburgh's 6-2 victory in Game 5 against Ottawa, the most recent game the Penguins have played. Other than veteran forward Brenden Morrow subbing in for rookie Beau Bennett after Game 4 of that series, Pittsburgh largely has kept its lineup and line combinations the same after a period of flux earlier in the postseason.

Against the best faceoff team in the NHL, forward Jussi Jokinen likely will be counted on to win critical draws. Another player who was a healthy scratch when the playoffs began, wing Tyler Kennedy has earned a regular spot back in his customary third-line role. Bennett, Tanner Glass and Joe Vitale appear to be the odd forwards out.

Veteran defenseman Mark Eaton was scratched for four consecutive games earlier in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but has re-established himself as a stalwart in the lineup. Deryk Engelland and rookie Simon Despres are other future options.

Here are the Penguins' projected lines for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final:

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Cooke unconcerned about reception from Boston fans

PITTSBURGH -- It's been almost 39 months since Matt Cooke's brutal hit left Marc Savard with concussion symptoms that have yet to fully dissipate.

Cooke had a short answer when asked if the incident -- and resulting ire he's gotten from the Boston Bruins and their fans -- crossed his mind at all when it became apparent Cooke's Pittsburgh Penguins were going to play Boston in the Eastern Conference Final.

"No."

For Cooke, it's the second consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs series against a team -- and fan base -- that has expressed public indignation toward him. The forward's skate severed the Achilles tendon of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson in February, and the teams faced each other in the conference semifinals.

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Posted On Thursday, 05.30.2013 / 3:04 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Jokinen mindful of Bruins' proficiency on faceoffs

PITTSBURGH -- Jussi Jokinen took a moment early Thursday afternoon to accuse many of the Boston Bruins of cheating.

That's OK. He admires them for it -- and takes pride in himself for being able to cheat too.

Boston leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs in faceoff percentage, having won 57.5 percent of its draws heading into the Eastern Conference Final, which begins 8 p.m. Saturday at Consol Energy Center against the Pittsburgh Penguins (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Jokinen is Pittsburgh's best faceoff man at 63.9 percent in the postseason. He has appeared in six of the Penguins' 11 playoff games; of players who have taken at least 92 faceoffs this postseason, the Bruins have the top three players in the NHL.

Patrice Bergeron is winning 63.5 percent of his faceoffs, Chris Kelly 63.4 percent and Rich Peverley 63.0.

Talking with a smile and in a tone that was nothing but respect, Jokinen offered why those three are so successful.

"Lots of times, whoever's best on the faceoffs is whoever finds a way to cheat," Jokinen said. "Who cheats the most so they don't get thrown out.

"It's such a fine line finding out how much you can cheat -- some linesmen let you cheat a little more than others, and Bergeron is one of those guys who does that stuff pretty good and the linesmen let him do that stuff."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.29.2013 / 5:26 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

With schedule released, Penguins gear up again

PITTSBURGH -- Douglas Murray doesn't input his week's plan into a Blackberry, and he doesn't plot out a training schedule with a pad and pencil.

Still, the hulking Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman said he prefers to look ahead when settling into a routine.

Finally, Murray and the Penguins know what's coming when.

The NHL released the schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals late Tuesday night, ending a four-day period in which the Penguins were in limbo. Pittsburgh, which eliminated the Ottawa Senators with a Game 5 conference semifinal victory Friday, opens the series with the Boston Bruins on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Consol Energy Center (NBC, CBC, RDS).

"You always want to know the schedule, for sure," Murray said. "You base your everyday decisions on it. It's not like I write up a schedule or anything, but when you've done this for as long as you have, you learn to manage your time. You know when it feels best for your body to get that extra massage that you might want or when it's time to rest and time to make sure you don't lay around all day.

"People change their routines once they know the schedule, and I think it's good we know now."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 5:00 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins looking to use time off wisely

PITTSBURGH -- Prior to this season, it had been five years since Brenden Morrow experienced the thrill of playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now that he is forced to wait up to a week between games, you'll have to forgive Morrow if he's feeling a little anxious.

"The engine's kind of idling right now," the Pittsburgh Penguins forward said on the third of what is expected to be five or six days before the team opens the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins. "It's tough to shut it down this time of year. The games are coming fast and furious. So to sit and wait is tough for us. I guess it gives an opportunity for some little bumps and bruises to heal up. But I think everyone in the locker room's excited and ready to get started."

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Posted On Monday, 05.27.2013 / 3:43 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins not buying Lucic's Heat comparison

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?

Milan Lucic thinks so.

To that, Crosby says thank you very much.

Lucic, the Boston Bruins power forward, told reporters this weekend he views the Pittsburgh Penguins as the equivalent of the NBA's Miami Heat.

Led by James, Wade and Bosh, the Heat are two wins away from their third consecutive Eastern Conference title and can play for their second straight NBA championship after that.

"We appreciate the compliment," Crosby said. "I'm sure he won't have too many once we start playing. I think it's a compliment."

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