This time next week the Bruins will be getting ready for game four against the Penguins. This week, however, the boys are still prepping for game one, set to take place Saturday night at 8 o’clock in the home of the Eastern Conference leading Penguins.
Everyone is giving long winded lectures rooting for either side of this matchup. I found myself stressing about this matchup more than the others, for the fact that the Bruins haven’t won against the Penguins yet this season. However as I listened to the broadcasts and pried into the three games we’ve had against PITT this season I’m a little more optimistic.
A recap for those of you who need one:
Tuesday March 12, 2013, Bruins lost 2-3 at PITT. Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin scored the two goals for us. Chara’s was on the PP. The Penguins came back with six minutes left.
Sunday March 17, 2013 Bruins lost 1-2 at PITT. Tyler Seguin had the only goal for Boston. The Penguins were without their star defenseman Letang, and the B’s even outshot the Pens 32-18 but couldn’t capitalize.
Saturday April 20, 2013 at Boston the Bruins lost 3-2. Brad Marchand and Seguin had the two goals for the Bruins. The Bruins came out fighting, literally with Adam McQuaid and Tanner Glass dropping the gloves after 8minutes. Both teams had 30+hits, and the Bruins outshot the Pens 40-24.
What these games have said to me, is REUNITE SEGUIN, MARCHAND, AND PATRICE BERGERON. Please. We need speed. Look at Marchand’s goal in the third game, he tore through the Penguins players and shot it up over the shoulder of the goalie. Speed is key, hell the assists went to Rask and Chara, and it wasn’t even a breakaway. That line had made four of five goals? At least play them together once, humor me, Julien.
Second, we need to keep throwing pucks on net. The weakness for the Pens is their goaltending. We have scored against the Penguins, it took a large number of shots, but it has happened. We need to keep throwing the puck at the net, and I think our defense will be key, as long as Krug and Boychuk keep shooting to score. Marchand and Bergeron are going to come up big if they can produce more of their dynamic duo goals, I think Seguin could help there.
Finishing our checks is another big one. Lucic came up with huge hits in game five, he is a big guy, and he needs to finish his checks. If he starts strong, hitting hard in the first game or two, his intimidation factor alone can help open the ice for him later. Krug and Bartkowski are checking better than the rest of the Bruins (except maybe Chara), and they have been able to come up huge.
Speaking about Matt Bartkowski, he grew up a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. He had pictures of Jagr on his wall growing up, and now he is playing with Jags against his hometown team. As long as Bart can keep his head on his shoulders, he should be a contributing factor.
People can argue that this rivalry isn’t really a rivalry. I am going to disagree. Back when the Penguins crushed the Bruins on their way to the Cup in 1991 and 1992, that still rings bells for long-term fans. I mean my personal grudge is still on Matt Cooke for destroying Marc Savard. Also this drama with Jarome Iginla picking the Penguins over the Bruins should have added fuel to the Bruins drive to beat the Pens. I know I would love to see the Pens lose to the Bruins just so I can laugh at Iginla. Bartkowski should come up huge just because he could have gone to Calgary for Iginla, and now he can help prove that the Bruins didn’t miss out with Iginla.
I think the Bruins are going to put up a huge fight, this is going to go to game six or seven. The Bruins need to play the full 60 minutes. We can’t have a repeat of game four against the Rangers, no sluggish play behind the net (Chara) we need to fight every minute of this series.
That’s my take. A week waiting for this game has my nerves stretched to their limits. It all starts tomorrow, we’ll see if the Bruins can turn over a new leaf in the playoffs against the Pens. The Bruins have been this far before, they need to focus and remember the amount of effort they need to bring every night.