BOSTON, MA – With the amount of talent that the Penguins possess, the Bruins are aware that Pittsburgh can break out at any time. But as much as they need to be cognizant of Pittsburgh’s potential for an offensive breakthrough, the Bruins will be focused on their own game tonight and making sure they don’t take a step back when the two teams meet at TD Garden for Game Three of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I think our guys are mature enough to understand that whatever we went through, whatever the situation is right now, we have to be a good team in order to win at
this stage of the season,” said B’s Head Coach Claude Julien, following the team’s pre-game skate this morning.
“We can’t afford to let our guard down, whether it’s the respect for a team you’re playing, and the ability of that team to take advantage of you if you’re not ready, or whether it’s just from within our group to want to be a good team every night.
“That’s what’s important right now, that we stay focused on the present and don’t live in the past, don’t look in the future. I’ve said that before, we’ve been good when we’ve kept our eye on what’s going on right now. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
The Penguins are going to be desperate after dropping the first two games of the series on home ice. Pens Head Coach Dan Bylsma credited the Bruins for their play in Games One and Two, but said his team got away from their game plan and must get back to it tonight if they want to avoid falling behind three games to none.
“I think the latter half of the [first two] games was us deviating from the plan, but Boston was up at that point in both those hockey games and playing very well and getting to the scoreboard early in contests and then playing well the rest of the way,” said Bylsma.
“A lot of that is due to Boston and how they played and them getting leads in the game and playing very well with them.
“We're ready to step out on the ice for Game 3 with that renewed focus about where we need to get better and where we need to be and play at to be successful tonight.”
Heading out on the road could be a good thing for Pittsburgh, according to its captain, Sidney Crosby. Crosby said the Penguins’ focus could be sharper away from home, where they will be looking to create more offense by tiring out Boston, as opposed to looking for the home run, flashy plays that have led to turnovers and, ultimately, goals for the Bruins early in the series.
“I think when you get your team together, especially given the situation, you need to make sure that we simplify things and make sure we limit our mistakes,” said Crosby. “A lot of times, we end up doing that on the road.”
“I think being a little bit more patient [is a key],” added Crosby. “We don't need to create offense, necessarily with one big play. I think we fell behind last game, I think we tried to do that. In the first game, we did a lot better job of kind of wearing them down a bit more and getting to our game and generating chances that way. That's kind of more of the formula we're looking for.”
Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was pulled in favor of Marc-Andre Fleury late in the first period of Game Two, will be back in between the pipes tonight. Like the Bruins, Vokoun said the Penguins can’t worry about what they did, or didn’t do, in the first two games, but rather treat Game Three as a fresh start.
“You can’t dwell on what happened last game,” said the goalie. “You just move on. Today’s a totally different game. It wouldn’t be any different if I got a shutout last game, it wouldn’t make it any easier tonight. They’re going to still try to do the things they need to do.
“It’s a brand new game, brand new day. We start from scratch.”