Game 3: Bruins-Penguins Preview; Series Shifts to Boston

David Krejci, Milan Lucic

Game 3 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins (Bruins lead series 2-0)

Game Time: 8:00 PM

Location: TD Garden

TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/98.5 The Sports Hub

The Boston Bruins completely dismantled the Pittsburgh Penguins in games 1 and 2 of this Eastern Conference Finals showdown. They will now be returning home with the hopes of taking a commanding series lead. The  TD Garden will surely be chaotic, as their hometown faithful will undoubtedly be voicing their excitement over the two-games-to-none advantage the Black-and-Gold earned against the favored Penguins.

Boston, led by their top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Nathan Horton are wreaking havoc on the Penguins, combining for 10 points in the opening two games. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang, and James Neal all have yet to register a point and have a combined minus 19 rating.

The story of the series thus far has been the Bruins defensive domination of the Penguins. Boston has exhibited fundamentally sound defense in all three zones, thus totally stifling and frustrating Pittsburgh’s stars. We have seen the Penguins turn the puck over frequently, bog down in the neutral zone, get beaten up ice, and outworked along the boards. Simply put, the Bruins have been much more disciplined in establishing their game and have kept the Penguins from developing any sort of rhythm of their own.

The Bruins are doing all the little things to complete perfection, while Dan Bylsma’s team seems as if they cannot to anything right. Tuukka Rask has been lights out, allowing only a single goal in 120-minutes of hockey. Ironically enough it’s been Boston’s offense pushing the pace, tallying 9 scores in total and chasing Tomas Vokoun in favor of the much maligned Marc-Andre Fleury last time out. It’s still not clear whether it will be Vokoun or Fleury in goal come Monday night.

It really looks as if the Bruins could not get any better. The have been nearly flawless, but don’t tell them that. Claude Julien is making it a point to stay even keeled, while striving to get better night in and night out. Each and every Bruin understands that a two game lead means nothing at this point in the series. They will still be expecting the best from the Penguins. The Bruins hunger to win never waivers because they refrain from getting ahead of themselves.

Julien’s club has been attacking the Penguins with a sense of urgency in a full sixty-minute onslaught. They cease to be satisfied and Pittsburgh has not been able to come remotely close to matching it. If Crosby and company have any chance of making this a series Wednesday, they better show some inkling of desperation. If not, the Bruins will be handing them their third consecutive beat down.

As for the Bruins lineup, well, expect nothing to be changed. Everyone is clicking and it’s truly a thing of beauty to watch this team go to work right now. Look for the Bruins to play with immeasurable intensity and vengeance. They are well aware that a 3-0 series lead could very well cripple the already fragile psyche of the Penguins.

Just a fun fact, but Nathan Horton now has 17 playoff points. David Krejci has 20. Both guys rank ahead of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Who would have predicted that?

The Bruins expected lineup is as follows:

Lucic-Krejci-Horton

Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr

Peverley-Kelly-Seguin

Paille-Campell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk

Ference-Seidenberg

Krug-McQuaid

Rask/Khudobin

The Penguins expected lineup is as follows:

Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis

Iginla-Malkin-Neal

Cooke-Sutter-Kennedy

Morrow-Jokinen-Adams

Orpik-Martin

Eaton-Letang

Murray-Niskanen

Vokoun/Fleury

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports

 

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