The Bruins Domination of Pittsburgh Should Come as No Surprise

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Now that the Bruins have handed the Penguins two statement beatings and are heading back to the Hub of hockey with a two-games-to-none lead, I personally feel it’s imperative to point out one simple fact. The Black-and-Gold earned both victories by prying the life right out of the Penguins. In no way did Pittsburgh allow Boston to come into their building and embarrass them in front of the hometown faithful.

Claude Julien’s club has out-worked, out-hustled, out-battled, out-played, out-scored, and out-classed the Penguins through 120-minutes of hockey. It may come as a shock to many. After all, it is the NHL’s top offense we’re talking about here. Though it comes as no surprise to me and I’m going to tell you exactly why.

First and foremost, whom have the Penguins really played this post season? They opened the tournament with a first round matchup against the New York Islanders. Taking nothing away from the amazing season the Isles were able to assemble, let’s face facts for a moment. New York was young, inexperienced, and just barely qualified for the playoffs. Being a star-studded team that the Pens are, there was no excuse for nearly being bounced.

Then they drew the Ottawa Senators in round 2. Ottawa boasted a mediocre offense, a very beatable defense, and offered little resistance in being blown away. Then came the Bruins. Not only is Boston much more structured and disciplined, they are mentally and physically tougher then Pittsburgh’s prior two opponents. With that being said, Pittsburgh was not nearly prepared as they should have been. The Bruins are no cupcake and they are proving it now, exploiting the Penguins free wheeling play.

Tomas Vokoun and Marc Andre Fleury are nothing to write home about. Vokoun has bounced around the league and Fleury has historically been shaky. The Bruins pinpointed the Penguins goaltending as a mismatch and have been pelting the Pittsburgh goal with a relentless attack. Tuukka Rask on the other hand is confident, focused, and dominating as he has all season. He has flown under the radar for some time now and finally Rask is exploding onto the scene in silencing the Penguins.

Claude Julien teaches defense first. His team is very well organized, rarely out of position, and is able to generate offense because of it. For years now, Boston has ranked amongst the leagues best in goals against per game and plus minus, with those stats being a direct result of stellar play along the back end.

Pittsburgh’s offense is only effective if they can out-skate and out-pass the opponent. Boston’s defenseman possess a wealth of experience and understand where to be and when to be there. They are tough as nails and are forcing a nightmare upon Sidney Crosby and his pals. The Penguins shy away from physical confrontation because they play a skill game. In the game of hockey the tougher team wins. Because the Bruins are beating up the Pens, many of their star players have become invisible.

Many had questioned whether or not the Bruins offense could keep pace. Speculation of that nature is just laughable. David Krejci leads the NHL in points this post season. Nathan Horton is as clutch of a goal scorer as they come. Milan Lucic’s dynamic ability opens up the ice. Patrice Bergeron alongside Brad Marchand combine to be a lethal force. Then there’s Jaromir Jagr. Sure this guy hasn’t been compiling points, but so what. He’s a guy that controls the puck with authority, keeps play alive, and does so many little things in setting up his teammates.

I mean come on. Are we to believe that a great offense can really defeat a well-rounded Bruins team? In my eyes the answer is no. Take a look back at Vancouver. Yeah, we know how that turned out. Pittsburgh looks to run and gun and that’s really all they are good at. That style of play is not conducive to beating a superior defensive club. Pittsburgh’s defense is suspect at best and is easily pushed around. Boston is not phased by the big names, thus they are stuffing it in their face. It truly looks as if Pittsburgh believed that they were going to roll over the Bruins just by showing up to the rink.

Boston knew exactly what they had to do heading into these opening two games and have executed to perfection. On the flipside of things, Pittsburgh seems to be taken back by how good the Bruins actually are. Boston has the ability to “flip the switch” at a moments notice and the Penguins are experiencing this first hand. Dan Bylsma’s squad has had no answer for the problems the Bruins are causing them. That’s because they don’t have one right now. The Black-and-Gold have gotten inside the heads of Pittsburgh, placing a seed of doubt. The Bruins are making it clear that they are not to be underestimated. Just ask Toronto and the New York Rangers

Simply put, Boston is whole other animal. They are vastly different from whatever the Penguins have grown accustom to. It’s going to require a determined, grind it out effort to get back into this series. It may be an overused cliché, but Boston is the far better “team.” At this juncture the Penguins seem to lack the biggest tool needed, heart. The Bruins have been their, gone toe-to-toe with the best before, and have walked away winners.

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

 

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