GAME 2: BRUINS (9-4) VS. PENGUINS (8-4)
10:41 p.m. - Third Period Snapshots: BOS 6, PIT 1
BRUINS SEIZE 2-0 SERIES LEAD: The Bruins flew out of the gate in Game 2 firing on all cylinders, and once Brad Marchand potted the team’s first goal 28 seconds in, they never looked back. Boston rattled off four goals in their best playoff period since the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, when they netted four in the first period of a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. David Krejci and Nathan Horton continue producing at a furious pace, as each scored a goal and now rank first and second respectively in playoff points. Tuukka Rask also maintained his hot hand, surrendering only one goal on 27 shots. He has now turned away 55 of 56 shots in the series. Finally, the Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr line broke through by netting three goals—two from Marchand and one from Bergeron. All three skaters registered multi-point games, and Marchand recorded a plus-four rating, while Bergeron and Jagr both finished with plus-three ratings.
BOYCHUK SCORES: Boston continues lighting the lamp in Pittsburgh even as the game winds to an end. Johnny Boychuk blasted a one-timer feed from Shawn Thornton that was deflected, but slid right to a perfect spot in front of the blue line for the Bruins defenseman to drive it past Marc-Andre Fleury. Boychuk now has five goals this postseason, and Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton pick up assists.
LUCIC & ENGELLAND PENALIZED: Just 31 seconds after Milan Lucic returned from his interference penalty, he was sent right back to the box alongside Pittsburgh's Derik Engelland. Lucic and Penguins defenseman Engelland engaged in a scuffle after a whistle at 10:04, and were subsequently handed matching unsportsmanlike conduct by the referees. Both players dropped their gloves—which resulted in the penalties—but the referees stepped in before any punches could be exchanged.
BRUINS’ PK THWARTS PENGUINS AGAIN: Milan Lucic was sent to the sin bin at 7:33 for interference after he laid into Jarome Iginla during a Penguins offensive rush. The Penguins power play returned to form and showcased the crisp cycles that has made it so proficient this season, but the Bruins’ PK unit clogged up their shooting lanes and Tuukka Rask came through with big saves on shots from James Neal and Sidney Crosby. Boston’s penalty kill remains perfect against Pittsburgh’s second-ranked power play.
BRUINS D-MEN PITCHING IN: Dennis Seidenberg notched an assist on Patrice Bergeron’s goal, continuing an impressive trend of Bruins defensemen contributing on offense. Boston’s D-men have now accounted for 33 of the team’s 125 points this postseason, including 13 of their 45 goals.
BERGERON MAKES IT 5-1: Patrice Bergeron has officially crossed the 50 postseason point plateau after netting the Bruins’ fifth goal of the game 27 seconds into the third period. Bergeron orchestrated a beautiful give and go with Jaromir Jagr, who set his teammate up for a perfect scoring chance. Jagr now has two assists on the night and is one point shy of trying Paul Coffey for 5th place on the all-time playoff points list. Both Bergeron and Jagr have multi-point games tonight.
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9:58 p.m. - Second Period Snapshots: BOS 4, PIT 1
BRUINS TAKE LEAD INTO THE THIRD: After an explosive, five-goal first period, things settled down between the Bruins and Penguins in the second frame. Neither team netted a goal, so the B’s will enter the third period with a 4-1 lead. Boston is outshooting Pittsburgh 18-13, but is being outhit 29-13. The Bruins are also maintaining their success in the faceoff circle, posting a 58 percent success rate through two periods.
MARCHAND PENALIZED FOR TRIPPING: A tripping call on Brad Marchand at 11:54. The Bruins penalty kill went 4-for-4 against the Penguins’ high-powered power play in Game 1, and they improved to 5-for-5 by handedly killing Marchand’s penalty off. Pittsburgh mustered only one shot on net during its man advantage. The Pens’ best and only scoring chance came when Jussi Jokinen put a shot on net from 14 feet out and tried to—along with Jarome Iginla—poke it away from Tuukka Rask in the Bruins’ crease.
RASK DENIES CRAIGH ADAMS: Penguins winger Craig Adams had one of Pittsburgh’s best scoring chances of the night when he whipped a wrist shot from just 22 feet away from the net. Tuukka Rask positioned himself perfectly to stop the shot, and then kicked his left leg pad out just in time to disrupt Brenden Morrow’s rebound shot. The Bruins are outshooting the Penguins 17-to-9 with eight minutes remaining in the second period.
BRUINS FACEOFF SUCCESS CONTINUES: One of the biggest takeaways from the Bruins Game 1 win was their dominance on the faceoff dot. The B’s won 68 percent of their faceoffs on Saturday, and tonight, they’re currently winning draws at a 68 percent rate. Rich Peverley is leading the way with a perfect 5-for-5 record, while David Krejci is 5-for-8 and Patrice Bergeron 3-for-5.
9:05 p.m. - First Period Snapshots: BOS 4, PIT 1
BRUINS LEAD 4-1 AFTER THE FIRST: After 20 minutes of action, the Bruins take a 4-1 lead into the dressing room. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line continues producing at a furious rate as both Krejci and Horton netted goals in the first. Brad Marchand stole the show in the first period, however, potting goals 28 seconds into the game and with nine seconds left in the frame. Marc-Andre Fleury relieved Tomas Vokoun after Krejci scored at the 16:31 mark, making his first appearance since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Fleury surrendered a goal to Marchand on the first shot he faced.
SUTTER PUTS PENS ON BOARD; MARCHY GETS ANOTHER: With just 33 seconds left in the first frame, Penguins centerman Brandon Sutter netted his team’s first goal of the night and got the crowd at the CONSOL Energy Center on its feet. However, Brad Marchand quickly pulled the momentum back to the Bruins’ side. With nine ticks remaining, Patrice Bergeron carried the puck into the offensive zone and fed Marchand, who beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle. Bergeron records his 50th career playoff point with an assist on the goal. With that goal, the Bruins become the first team this postseason to score four goals in the first period in the 2013 playoffs.
KREJCI STRIKES AGAIN: David Krejci and Nathan Horton accounted for all three of Boston’s Game 1 goals, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Fewer than two minutes after Horton put the Bruins up 2-0, Krejci potted the team’s third of the night. Milan Lucic carried a pass from Zdeno Chara in the defensive zone all the way into Pittsburgh’s end. As he drove to the net, Lucic went between his legs to Horton, who fed Krejci, who finished off the tic-tac-toe goal by driving a slapshot by Tomas Vokoun’s glove. Krejci continues building on his league leading playoff points total, now with eight goals and 20 points.
HORTON STAYS HOT: Penguins D-man Brooks Orpik was flagged for elbowing at the 12:30 mark of the first period, giving the Bruins their first power play opportunity of the night. The Bruins struggled to establish and maintain any possession in the Penguins’ zone until the tail end of their two-minute advantage. Rookie sensation Torey Krug nearly netted a slapshot off of a deflection but was ultimately denied. Instead, the B’s had to wait until the teams even at full strength to cash in. Nathan Horton fought off Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang and Paul Martin and redirected a slapshot from the point past Tomas Vokoun. Horton now has four points in two ECF games, and 16 points for the postseason.
MERLOT LINE BRINGS ENERGY: The Merlot Line completed one of the Bruins’ best shifts of the game starting at the 11:23 mark when Gregory Campbell carried the puck into Pittsburgh’s end. A relentless forecheck and smart decisions with the puck allowed the Merlot Line to get three shots on net, doubling the team’s previous total of three. The Lucic-Krejci-Horton line generated all three of the Bruins’ goals in Game 1, so getting contributions from the Merlot Line will be key tonight.
MARCHAND GETS ONE 28 TICKS IN: It took just 28 seconds for the Bruins to get on the scoreboard thanks to a heads up defensive play and beautiful finish on the other end from Brad Marchand. Marchand intercepted a Sidney Crosby pass at the Penguins blue line and immediately broke out to an uncontested breakaway. Even with Jagr skating to his side on a 2-on-0, Marchand decided to keep it simple and lifted a wrist shot over Tomas Vokoun’s glove. The Bruins’ forward now has three goals and 10 points for the postseason, and the Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr line has its first point of the ECF. The Bruins fastest ever playoff goal came from Bobby Schmautz 10 seconds into the third period against the LA Kings on April 15, 1977. John Byce of the Bruins matched the fastest ever playoff goal in 1990 in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers.
PENGUINS MAKE LINEUP CHANGES: The Bruins lineup remained untouched following Saturday’s Game 1 victory, but the Penguins have made some minor adjustments to their lineup. Forward Tyler Kennedy, who has five points in eight playoff games, is replaced by Northeastern University alumni Joe Vitale. On the back end, Mark Eaton is replaced by Deryk Engelland.
7:30 p.m. - Pregame Snapshots: BOS vs. PIT
STARTING GOALTENDERS: Rask (9-4, 2.06 GAA, .933 Save %) vs. Vokoun (6-2, 1.98 GAA, .937 Save %). Rask has a 16-10 record with a 2.33 GAA and .923 Save % in 26 career postseason games. Vokoun has a 9-10 record with a 2.26 GAA and .928 Save % with two shutouts in 19 career postseason games.
BRUINS VS PENGUINS LIFETIME: The Bruins and Penguins have played 20 postseason games with each team winning 10 contests and Pittsburgh holding a 67-65 scoring advantage. Boston enters tonight’s game with a 29-17-1 lifetime record in best-of-seven game 2s when holding a 1-0 series lead and a 33-14 lifetime record in best-of-seven series after winning game 1. This is the fifth time these teams will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Bruins having won the first two series (1979, 1980) and the Penguins winning the last two (1991, 1992). Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup after defeating Boston in both 1991 and 1992.
KREJCI STAYING HOT: Forward David Krejci enters tonight’s matchup leading the NHL in postseason points with 19. Krejci is tied for second in goals (7), assists (12), and plus-minus (+11). In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, Krejci tallied two goals, the first of which proved to be the game winner. Krejci has recorded at least one point in 10 of Boston’s 13 postseason games (Game 6 vs. TOR, Game 2 and Game 7 vs. NYR). The Czech Republic native has recorded six multi-point games through the first 13 playoff games, including three three-point games. In the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run, Krejci led all postseason scorers in goals (12) and points (23). His 12 goals were the most ever scored by a Czech player in one NHL playoff year.
HORTON HEATING UP: Nathan Horton joins David Krejci as one of this year’s most prolific playoff performers. Following his three-point performance in Game 1, Horton leads the league with a plus-17 rating (David Krejci and Milan Lucic are tied for second with plus-11 ratings), ranks third in points (15) and goals (6), and fourth in assists (9). The 28-year-old winger had similar success during the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run, when he recorded 17 points and a plus-11 rating in 21 games. Horton is currently on pace to post career playoff highs in goals, assists, points, and plus-minus.
BRUINS BRINGING PHYSICALITY: Three Bruins—Milan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara—rank among the NHL’s top 10 in postseason hits. Lucic, ranked fifth, leads the Bruins with 56, while Chara ranks eighth with 47 and Boychuk tenth with 46. Only the Los Angeles Kings have amassed more hits than the Boston Bruins during the playoffs.
MILESTONES APPROACHING: Jaromir Jagr is currently one goal shy of tying Jean Beliveau for 10th place on the all-time playoff goals list with 79. He is also three points short of tying Paul Coffey for 5th place on the all-time playoff points list (196)… Patrice Bergeron and Wade Redden are currently one point shy of their 50th career NHL playoff points.
PENGUINS NOTEBOOK: The Pittsburgh Penguins have accrued a 32-22 all-time record in Game 2s, including a 23-9 mark at home. Pittsburgh is aiming to avoid losing two-straight playoff games for the first time this postseason…The Penguins, averaging 3.92 goals per game, remain the NHL’s highest-scoring team despite being shutout in Game 1. Saturday’s loss was the first time Pittsburgh has been shutout in the postseason since the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals…The Bruins have never held Evgeni Malkin pointless in back-to-back games, and have done so to Sidney Crosby only once (Nov. 11 and Feb. 8, 2006). Malkin and Crosby accounted for 31% of Pittsburgh’s shots on goal in Game 1…Tomas Vokoun lost in regulation for the first time this postseason in Game 1. He still ranks third among playoff netminders in save percentage and fourth in GAA.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins power play: 7-for-36 (19.4%, 7th NHL), Bruins penalty kill: 34-for-41 (82.9%, 8th NHL)… Penguins power play: 13-for-50 (26.0%, 2nd NHL), Penguins penalty kill: 39-for-43 (90.7%, 3rd NHL).