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Posted On Saturday, 06.08.2013 / 1:44 AM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins' Vokoun good but not good enough

BOSTON -- Under any other circumstances, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tomas Vokoun would be a hero. Friday, he just wasn't heroic enough.

With Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask posting a .985 save percentage and two shutouts in their four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Final, Vokoun's performance wasn't enough to allow the Penguins to reach their goal of the Stanley Cup Final.

"Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after a 1-0 loss in Game 4 ended Pittsburgh's season. "He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game 3, but he was equally up to the task, and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders there for a lot for Games 3 and 4."

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 / 2:10 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Daugavins to replace Campbell for Bruins in Game 4

BOSTON -- On most hockey teams, the role of fourth-line center is rarely a source of great debate.

But the way the Boston Bruins are built and the way they play the game makes them unlike most hockey teams.

They are a team built on balance and depth, where the role of top-line scorer is no more or less important than a fourth-line grinder or enforcer.

Many teams say that is the case, but few actually put it in practice the way the Bruins do.

So when Gregory Campbell fractured his right fibula in the second period of Wednesday night's 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, it created a hole far larger than it might have on a typical hockey team losing its fourth-line center.

That hole in the lineup will be filled by Kaspars Daugavins, coach Claude Julien confirmed Friday morning ahead of Game 4 of the conference final at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). But filling Campbell's role on the team will be done by committee.

"You don't replace a guy like Gregory Campbell by putting another guy in there," Julien said Friday morning. "He brings a lot. When you lose a guy like him, you realize the hole that he's left.”

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 2:06 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Seguin getting used to playing on Bruins' third line

BOSTON -- Tyler Seguin was chosen by the Boston Bruins with the second pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. At the time, the belief around the League was he would be a top-line player with strong production on the offensive end.

Just under three years after he was drafted, Seguin finds himself on the Bruins' third line in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, filling a role he probably never envisioned himself playing at this stage of his career.

Seguin likely will be lining up against the Pittsburgh Penguins alongside Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

The Bruins lead the best-of-7 series against the top-seeded Penguins 3-0 with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Final as soon as Friday. That is exactly why Seguin has no problem with how he's being used by Boston coach Claude Julien.

"It's an adjustment," Seguin said Friday. "But I think in the back of your head all you think about is going all the way and doing it for your team. Someone's got to do it. In the playoffs there's always someone doing something that they're not used to, whether it's injuries or whatnot. I'm doing what I can [while] being moved out of my regular position."

Posted On Friday, 06.07.2013 / 1:42 PM

By Matt Kalman - Correspondent / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Campbell injury hurts Bruins' penatly-kill

BOSTON -- After a slow start to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins' penalty kill has been nearly airtight from the second round on.

Heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Bruins have killed off 26 of 28 power plays since the start of their second-round series against the New York Rangers.

Now the penalty kill will have a challenge almost as great as trying to stop Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of Pittsburgh's star-studded power play.

Center Gregory Campbell is done for the rest of the postseason with a broken fibula. He usually combines with fourth-line partner Daniel Paille to form one of Boston's three main pairs on their penalty kill, which ranked fourth in the NHL during the regular season.

"It's tough. He plays such a hard game," forward Brad Marchand said of losing Campbell. "He's such a big part of our team. You saw the last couple of rounds, he's been very big. He's not really a guy you can really replace, but everybody has to step up a little bit and hopefully, collectively we can fill that void."

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 Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 9:23 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - Penguins-Bruins series blog

Penguins stick with Vokoun as Game 3 starter

BOSTON -- Two days of speculation and debate about who would start in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins (NBCSN, CBC, RDS) turned out to be for nothing.

Tomas Vokoun started for the Penguins, as he has in every game for the past month.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma generally does not discuss his lineups with the media, but he did confirm beforehand Vokoun would be in goal for a 10th straight game.

"We're looking for a solid game from our goaltender," Bylsma said. "We've gotten that from Tomas in virtually every game he's played, a real solid performance. He's done that for us, and that's what we need [Wednesday] night. We don't need perfection. We're looking for a solid game in between the pipes and for our goaltender to allow our team to win a hockey game."

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 8:21 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 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.

Posted On Wednesday, 06.05.2013 / 4:43 PM

By Arpon Basu -  Managing Editor / - 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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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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