PITTSBURGH, PA - Game Two awaits tonight at the CONSOL Energy Center as the Bruins look to take a 2-0 series lead from the Penguins. Boston took Game One by shutting out Pittsburgh, 3-0, marking the first time they had been shut out in 97 games.
All Bruins, except for Jaromir Jagr, hit the ice for the team's pregame skate. Jagr also stayed off a morning in New York City, when the Bruins were facing the Rangers, so it's not uncommon. He most likely did off-ice work or may have skated earlier. The vet took part in Sunday's optional practice.
As such, Carl Soderberg slotted into Jagr's place (as he did back before Game Four in New York), with the lineup remaining the same as Game One. Andrew Ference was again paired with Johnny Boychuk.
"It's just that we've played together for a while. It's just being comfortable with each other, not that I'm not comfortable with Matt [Bartkowski], because we played well together as well," said Boychuk following the skate, of being alongside Ference.
"But we've played together, me and Andy, for the last three, four playoffs. We kind of know what to expect from each other."
Matt Bartkowski, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson, Dougie Hamilton, Kaspars Daugavins, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg and Niklas Svedberg all remained on the ice for extra work, and will be the likely scratches tonight.
Bruins Expecting Greater Challenge
The Bruins' success in Game One, following the first about 10-15 minutes of the opening frame, stemmed from getting the Penguins away from their game, and not allowing them to sustain pressure in the B's zone. On Sunday, Pens' forward Matt Cooke had called it a "track meet." Pittsburgh gets their success from extended shifts in the offensive zone, as most teams do, but with the Penguins, they can't unleash their weapons and get the match-ups they want without that consistent pressure.
"We didn't really let them have time and space," said Boychuk. "They still got a lot of chances. Just getting pucks in deep, you know, battling in their zone helped us."
The emotions and physicality played into the Bruins' favor, but that wasn't necessarily a ploy specifically to get the Penguins off their game.
"I don’t know if that is a part of our game plan," said Tyler Seguin, who had exchanged his own pleasantries with Sidney Crosby in Game One. "I think we are just playing our style of hockey. We are expecting a better team out of them tonight. I think it’s going to be a hard game, so we want to be prepared for that."
Of course, Pittsburgh has time to make adjustments, and we'll see those play out tonight.
"It's going to be a challenge," said Bruins' Head Coach Claude Julien prior to Game Two. "And we're going to need to be a better team, and there's certain things in the last game that I thought we have to be better at in this game, and if we do that we're going to give ourselves a chance."
Coach noted areas of improvement he'd like to see tonight are limiting turnovers, especially at the outside offensive blueline and the top of the circles. He doesn't want his team getting caught in a run and gun type of game, and he'd like to see a much better start.
"It gets harder as you move forward," Coach added. "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."
"You never want to take a game lightly, or a shift lightly because you know they're going to use their chances to they advantage and score with all those scorers they have and that skill," said Dennis Seidenberg following the B's morning skate. "You always have to be ready when you step on the ice."
"At the end, it's about what we do. It's playing simple hockey, that's what makes us strong, so it's not going to be any different today."
Boston Projected Lineup
Penguins' Pregame Preparation
Prior to the B's hitting the ice, Pittsburgh held their morning skate at 10:30 a.m., with only one switch to their lineup, seeing Brenden Morrow and Tyler Kennedy swap lines. The Pens also did quite a bit of special teams work during their skate. The Bruins thwarted all four of their attempts in Game One. Pittsburgh has converted on 13 of 50 power-play chances this postseason.
"For various reasons, whether we were in the penalty box or because we were just tired, we had several different types of units out on the ice that we had to go with. With the exception of the first one, we really didn't have our main, number one power play unit out there together as a group," said Pens' Head Coach Dan Bylsma.
"Obviously, it would have been big to capitalize on one of those to get a goal and make it 1-0 or every 1-1. It's going to be a factor tonight, but I like the units we're going to put out there tonight and I like what we're going to do."
There had been questions regarding Pittsburgh's goaltending following the B's 3-0 win (don't think Jagr and his visions of Tomas Vokoun's two point-blank saves would agree), but Vokoun reportedly told media this morning that he had been told he's in for Game Two tonight.
A number of posts and Tuukka Rask's 29 saves plagued the Pens in Game One. What adjustments can they make tonight?
"Just bear down, got to make sure you go when you have your opportunities, make sure you put a good quality shot on net," said Penguins' forward James Neal. "Don't let it bounce away from you or whatever it may be. Find a way to put it in, sometimes just will it past them. [Tuukka's] a good goalie, he's going to stop a lot. You get in behind their D, you've got to make sure you capitalize on them."
Pittsburgh Projected Lineup