NHL Playoff Game Day 33: Bruins-Penguins


Why Boston Won: As they did in Game 1, the Bruins came prepared to play. And this time, when they recognized a lethargic and sloppy Penguins team, they pounced from the night’s first faceoff: a Sidney Crosby turnover became a Brad Marchand breakaway goal just 28 seconds into the opening period and set an ominous tone. Boston then played another disciplined period and let the Pens disintegrate in the last six minutes of the first when Boston added three goals, chased starting goalie Tomas Vokoun from the net and carried a 4-1 lead into the intermission. That completely took the life out of Pittsburgh and the Bruins had as easy a go the rest of the way as you’re likely to see in this round of the playoffs. But you have to give the visitors credit for being the calmer, smarter team of the two.

Why Pittsburgh Lost: Where to begin? Crosby was terrible. Malkin was invisible. Neither Vokoun nor Marc-Andre Fleury could raise their games to make up for an absolutely abysmal Penguins defense corps (lowlighted by Kris Letang’s game-worst minus-3). More than anything, it was the general malaise throughout the Penguins lineup. They were so caught up with playing a physical game (outhitting the Bruins 37-19), the Pens couldn’t get untracked in any area and were thoroughly outclassed.

Play of the Game: The Penguins were only trailing 1-0 when Letang took the puck behind his net and inexplicably fired it straight through the center of the ice. If you’re wondering whether the clearing attempt worked, you haven’t been reading the previous two sections. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug intercepted it, fired it at Vokoun – and though he made the initial stop, the veteran Pens goalie let the rebound sit right in front of him (in fairness, he believed Paul Martin or Letang would clear it). Boston’s Nathan Horton batted it in to make it 2-0 and start the floodgates opening up. It was an awful play all-around, perfectly symbolizing Pittsburgh’s night.

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Three Stars
1. Brad Marchand: The Bruins sparkplug had a pair of goals and was a game-high plus-4. Pittsburgh may have his emotional counterpart in Matt Cooke, but Marchand can hurt you many other ways and he did in Game 2.

2. Patrice Bergeron: Boston’s best all-around center put up a goal, two points and a plus-3 rating and won 10 of 15 faceoffs. Does it quietly, but effectively virtually every night.

3. Jaromir Jagr: He’s still looking for his first goal of these playoffs, but the proud veteran chipped in a pair of assists and a plus-3 rating in just 14:24. He might not have a lot left, but his tank isn’t completely empty, either.

What's Next: The series shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Friday with the Penguins reeling and the Bruins looking as good as they have in the post-season. Pens coach Dan Bylsma shouldn’t have too much of a goalie controversy, as Fleury was ghastly (.824 save percentage) in relief of Vokoun. But unless the Pens get a complete reversal of form from their forwards and defensemen, you could put the NHL’s hottest goalie in net and it wouldn’t make a difference. The Bruins are too cold-blooded and opportunistic to know what mercy means.