PITTSBURGH -- It would be easy for the Boston Bruins to say they have already accomplished what they came to Pittsburgh to do, and that is why coach Claude Julien wants to make sure his players see Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final as an opportunity that should not be squandered.
After an impressive 3-0 win in Game 1, the Bruins have a chance to head back home up 2-0 in the series if they manage to win Game 2 on Monday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"It's hard to win games in the playoffs, it gets harder as you move forward," Julien said. "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."
The Bruins are hoping they figured something out in the second intermission of Saturday's game that can carry over to Game 2. The Bruins were outshot 22-17 and gave up a number of high quality scoring chances to the Penguins over the first two periods of Game 1, but they largely carried the play in the third period to not only protect a 1-0 lead, but build on it with two goals.
So what exactly did the Bruins realize over that second intermission?
"We told ourselves we turned too many pucks over, especially entering their zone, and made soft plays," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "We like to play in the corners. So we told ourselves to get pucks deep and go from there. That was the main adjustment we made, but that’s what we always want to do. It's nothing crazy, it's just playing simple."
That simple game resulted in a 13-7 Bruins edge in shots and a vastly different game territorially, with the puck spending much more time in the Penguins' zone.
"We didn't really let them have time and space. They still got a lot of chances, but just getting pucks in deep and battling in their zone helped us," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "Tuukka [Rask] made some unbelievable stops, so at any point it could have been a different game. But it was just staying with the game plan and what we do best, because as soon as we strayed away from it they got a chance against us."
Knowing that and playing that way right from the drop of the puck instead of waiting until the game is 40 minutes old should help the Bruins in Game 2; but by the same token, they are expecting a very hungry Penguins team to come out even harder than they did in Game 1.
"I expect them to be better," Julien said. "Any time you lose a game in your own building, and also being the team they are, they're going to be better."