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Five Q’s: Penguins-Bruins preview

May 31, 2013, 12:24 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron Getty Images

How will the Bruins defend the Penguins?

Pittsburgh has been far and away the highest-scoring team in the 2013 playoffs. In 11 games, the Penguins have averaged 4.27 goals, more than a goal more than the sec0nd-best offensive team, Boston (3.17). Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be the two main areas of focus for the Bruins, with Patrice Bergeron, one of the best defensive forwards in the game, likely getting the Crosby assignment, and Zdeno Chara, one of the top shutdown defensemen, getting Malkin’s line (that also includes James Neal and Jarome Iginla). “You play this game to play against the best,” said Bergeron. “This is going to be a great challenge.”

Are the Penguins really the obvious favorites?

Boston forward Brad Marchand seems to think they are: “Obviously, they are the favorites. They have some guys that are very skilled and very talented, and they have the two best players in the world…and then you add Iginla.” But there are other areas where the Bruins may have an advantage. Despite all the goals the Penguins have scored in the playoffs, they’ve looked lost in their own end at times, particularly in the first round against the Islanders. The Bruins have big, powerful forwards that can make it tough on defenders to gain control and break the puck out, so that will be a challenge for Kris Letang and the rest of Pittsburgh’s blue-liners. Also, while Tomas Vokoun has played extremely well in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury in goal, nobody would be shocked if Boston’s Tuukka Rask outplayed his 36-year-old counterpart in this series.

Can the Bruins stay out of the box?

They’d be wise to try, given Pittsburgh’s power play has scored 13 times in the playoffs. Boston has been relatively disciplined through the first two rounds, but the skill and strength of the Pittsburgh forwards often leads teams to commit fouls against them. The Penguins may also try to goad the Bruins into retaliatory penalties. “Discipline is going to be a must in this series because they thrive on their power plays, and somehow they seem to get some every game,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We know how things are with us as far as a team. It’s tough to get power plays and we end up killing more than we end up having, power plays. We’re going to have to be extremely disciplined.”

Which deadline addition will make the biggest difference — Jarome Iginla or Jaromir Jagr?

A storyline made even more interesting after Iginla chose Pittsburgh over Boston. (Oh, and didn’t Jagr play for the Penguins at one time?) Based purely on goals and assists, the former Calgary captain has been the better player in the postseason. Iginla has scored four times and added eight helpers, while Jagr is still waiting for his first tally and has just four assists. To be fair, though, Jagr has been skating with less offensively gifted linemates for much of the playoffs, and he hasn’t had the best of luck, failing to ripple the mesh despite 36 shots. “I think it’s unfortunate that his numbers don’t reflect his play,” Julien said.

Can Torey Krug keep doing what he did against the Rangers?

The AHL call-up extraordinaire scored four times in the second round, three of them on the power play, which had been an area of extreme concern for the Bruins. “We’ve watched him play, we’ve watched the tape,” said Pens coach Dan Bylsma, “but he adds an element to the team that really hasn’t been an element for the Boston Bruins over the last couple of years, even going back to their Stanley Cup year. The element for him, skating for his team in the neutral zone that he’s added the last series, him at the blue line, his mobility across the blue line, his shot, that’s something we haven’t quite seen.”


  1. pitpenguinsrulez - May 31, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Yeah I’m still not sold on Rask outplaying Vokoun. Rask is not Tim Thomas of 2011 and Rask is beatable. The Pens have played sloppy in front their at times during the playoffs but they’ve been able to make in game adjustments to improve. I’d love to see a sweep of Boston just to shut up most of there fanbase and the media personally but I believe the Pens will win in 6 games.

    • nhloon - May 31, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Canucks had way more up front talent (2011), B’s in 7. Sid will cry. Thanks for stoping by.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 1:33 PM

        Is that why the pens are averaging 4+ goals per game this postseason. More then any team in the postseason since 1989. Thanks for stopping by.

      • hockeywithdrawal - May 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Pens in 3.

      • miketoasty - May 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        Not only are the Pens averaging 4+ goals per game but this is also against two different teams where their goalies were thought to be their strong suits. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone said that Anderson would be the end to the Pens run, which was true up the puck dropped for game one.

      • drewzducks - May 31, 2013 at 8:19 PM

        Sid in Pierre.

      • whammy71 - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:38 AM

        Hey hockeywithdrawal you stole my line from a previous thread – at least give me credit!

    • tfaltin - May 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Rask may not have to be Tim Thomas of 2011. Heck, Nabokov got to game 6, and Rask is a better netminder than Vokoun. I’m pulling for Boston this series, in hopes that they can shut up the most obnoxious fan base south of the border, Pittsburgh. All these ardent fans that conveniently showed up after Sid was drafted. Remember when Mario had to return to play for his own team as an ownership ploy to generate a little buzz and revenue? That said, Pittsburgh in 6. The talent is just undeniable.

      • pennerismyhomeboy - May 31, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        Note: Nabby got to Game 6 until Fluery was replaced.

      • mordock57 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:19 AM

        Patently ridiculous statement… Rask is no Craig Anderson, who got chased out twice in five games. And frankly, he should have been chased in Game 5, but what would be the point after goal #6? They already knew it was over.

      • johnnyd76 - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        Chill out tfaitin.

        Not all PENS fans are obnoxious and bandwagon-type. I have always been a supportive fan – through both the years of mediocrity and glory. I think 90% of both PENS and BRUINS fans on this site are just excited for a great series and want to “crow” a little about their team. Nothing wrong with that as long as their is no denigration from either side.

        Here’s to a great series – let’s drop the puck and have some fun – GO PENS!

    • stratomaticfan - May 31, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      Why are you not sold on Rask outplaying Vokoun? He’s got better career numbers. He had better overall numbers than the Vezina candidates this year. And he has a better defense (both defensemen and forwards) in front of him? Sure Pitt has bigger name scorers, but that didn’t mean much when Vancouver came in 2 years ago in the Finals with their prolific scoring and President’s trophy, did it? Should be a pretty even series.

  2. eaglesbest - May 31, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Will be a solid series. Pens have the advantage on the front end while Bruins have the advantage on the back end. Go Bruins!

  3. operwapitsai - May 31, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    kruuuuuuuug! go green!!!

  4. stretch61 - May 31, 2013 at 12:55 PM


    • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      We don’t we plan on stabbing the bear.

      • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2013 at 11:25 PM

        how you feeling?

  5. dan46778 - May 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    My hearts says if Boston gets to game seven will they win in a crazy ass game…. But my head tells my pens in 6 n this coming from a die heart bruins fan

  6. dirt2013 - May 31, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    The Bruins have two chances to beat the Pens.

    1 – Rask stands on his head and steals the series. Or

    2 They injure enough of the Pens players that the talent levels out.

    Shero made 4 moves at the trade deadline just for the Bruins should they meet in the playoffs. I like the moves and the matchups Pens in 5 or 6.

  7. nosefacekillah - May 31, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    It will be interesting to see if the Pens continue their dominance up front against a good team. They may be on the best pace since 1989 but they have only played a 7th and 8th seed. The next two rounds are true tests. If they continue they will be looked at as one of the best offenses in since the Oilers and the Great One.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      That #7 seed knocked off a #2 seed though. In the playoffs I don’t put any stock in seedings (see LA last year). However you are right when you say their toughest challenges lie ahead of them.

      • nosefacekillah - May 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Montreal was a weak #2. They played above their heads all year getting very timely scoring, just as they were not as bad as they finished last year. But I do agree a team can steal a series with defense and goaltending ( see Thomas and Quick). The Pens are by no means a slam dunk for this series.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        I agree with your last statement 100%. This I’d the playoffs, anything can happen. However what’s it say if your calling Montreal a weak #2 seed but Boston lost the division to them this year.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        you really don’t put any stock in seedings? LA was an aberration. when the Pens won the cup it as the 4 seed they were the lowest ranked team to win it since the 94-95 Devils(5th). The Kings massively under performed 90% of the season, and loaded up at the deadline. I know another 8th seed has never won, and I went back through 1970 and the lowest seeded team was that 94-95 Devils team.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        So I guess your chances of winning it all at the 5th seed this year are pretty slim then huh pepper? Might as well pack it now I guess.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        The Pens road has been VERY easy thus far. Very easy. Neither team you played will be in the playoffs next year. The Isles maybe, MAYBE if they land Luongo, but I can’t picture Carolina, Philly, Tampa, Winnipeg and Buffalo missing again; especially in a full season.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        Yep pepper and the rangers fired torts because that team is sooo good.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        @sportsfreak – what seed are the B’s?

        you seem to think you know how things will play out, but you lack the ability to observe some of the more obvious facts.

        you were hoping I’d miss that, huh?

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        The Rangers will be in the playoffs next year (assuming Lundqvist is back).

        too much talent. Bad coach, yes. they under performed, but if you can’t honestly say that the Sens or Isles will be better than the Rangers. Last year and heading into this year they were the team to beat. “Torts” lost the team, but past Karlsson and Tavares the next 10 guys talent-wise are on the Rangers.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        haha they were a 4th seed, my bad. I guess when you can’t even win your own division I lost you guys in the shuffle. My bad. You really showed me.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        Yeah, I kinda did.

        lets see how you spin this. Knowing you crushed the Rangers all day (finished 2nd in your division). The Bruins had Tor, MTL, and OTT to play 4 times each while the Pens were playing the Isles, Rangers, Philly and Jersey.

        could winning a division have anything to do with the competition within that division or, No?

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        We played those teams 3 times each and you guys played the rangers, isles, devils, flyers at least 2-3 times each. Everyone in the east played everyone a couple of times due to the lockout. However pens finished #1and bruins #4, and yes the rangers (lundqvist aside) suck.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 31, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        Pepper2011, seeing as how the Rangers had the same # of pts. as the Senators and were 1 pt. better than the Isles, your argument that they’re head and shoulders above the two respective teams again shows your inept claims.

        & please name the 10 next best Rags after Tavares and Karlsson, Dummy…

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 31, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Anybody else her suffering from hockey withdrawal? Two days in a row without a game sucks.

  9. dropthepuckeh - May 31, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    The ultimate flopper will undoubtedly whine and complain to the refs to get his team PP. It will come down to how Boston can handle their special teams and whether the refs give in to Crosby’s incessant complaining…

    • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Awesome. The best part is when he tries it against the B’s He’ll end up needing his jaw fixed again.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      haha have you seen marchands diving highlight reel?? Its quite extensive.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        no, where is it?

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        You can also go to youtube and type “embellishment city” and see a pretty cool illustration of some bruins diving.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        yeah, none of those were as bad as Crosby’s. – I’ll give you the Tampa cross check, the Caps one at :10 he stepped on Carlsson’s stick and the one where he spun; he was bleeding. And Yes, Bruins fans hate that from him. Find me one from this year?

        should we bring up Neal?

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Hahaha not as bad. What a homer. Find me a dive from Crosby this year? Sure should I bring up chara and the pacerioty hit? Take a look at the embellishment city video. Its great.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 4:05 PM

        There’s this year.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 4:15 PM


        That’s not a dive.

        He got pushed over by a guy who has 6+ inches and probably 30lbs.

        A) that’s not a penalty
        B) that’s not an attempt to draw one.
        C) nice try
        D) you are desperate. it stinks.

        Marchand actually falls like that a lot. He’s not big, so he uses momentum like (the push) that to accelerate, change directions & create space. He’s very good at it- hence the production, but if hit at the right time he loses balance. Big difference between that and a dive.

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        Also he is clearly all alone in the offensive zone try to maintain possession presumably until the rest of the line changes. Bad example. Like, really bad. you are doing a disservice to Pens fans – I was under the impression Pittsburgh had a pretty decent sports fan base and knowledge, but today you have shown a lack of understanding for hockey. I still can’t get over the fact that you think Paul effin Martin is as good as Chara. Are there any other Pens fans that believe this? I mean you didn’t even say Letang. You chose Martin?!?

      • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 4:23 PM

        Did you watch the Isles series? just a couple weeks ago.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        No you said throw out letang. I said chara +/- is equal to martins this year and they both go up against the top lines. For a guy trying to maintain possession he sure fell pretty easily. Your a joke pepper. Did you see that embellishment video? He’s a diver. Its well documented. Theres a scene where he tells the trainer “I was trying to draw the 5, Im fine”. You like marchand are a fraud.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        hahaha you just brought mike milbury (ex bruins head coach who hates the pens/Crosby) to defend your point. I am done with you now, hahaha. I have posted still before of brian strait’s arm wrapped around Crosby shoulder pulling him down (if that’s the video that is, I refuse to watch anything with milbury). Your a joke bud. Thanks for the laughs.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 31, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        Jack Edwards JUST said on radio in Pittsburgh that chara looked alot tired in the last series and was falling down at times, said he was physically fatigued and had bad mental lapses. Your homer jack Edward said this. Hahahaha.

    • pepper2011 - May 31, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Get Ready Pittsburgh – you haven’t played a team like this yet… THIS is the best Marchand video, next to him hoisting the Cup.

      • theageofquarrel - May 31, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        If the Bruins are so tough and badass then why weren’t they the 1 seed? They could of went undefeated in 48 games because they are the toughest team alive and everybody else is soft.
        Pens in 6

      • aso513 - May 31, 2013 at 8:05 PM

        Again, the toughness and size of this Bruins team is just so exaggerated. Cycling agains the Rangers is just a whole different animal then playing the Pens.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 31, 2013 at 10:22 PM

        Dear Hero of the Stupid,

        The Pens have played and beaten the Bruins this year… thrice….

      • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM

        @theageofquarrel- because PRESIDENTS TROPHIES don’t get your name engraved in the cup
        @as0513 – I would playing the Bruins is a whole different ball game than the Sens and Isels.
        @fbothharbaughs- hmmm… But the ONE time they played that it really mattered Sid and Malkin had temper tantrums and blew it. Also goaltending will catch up with you.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 31, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Ok. So Crosby dives. Big deal! How many players don’t try to embellish? He’s still the greatest player in the world.

  10. kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    Bruins can definitely win this series but i’m saying Pens in 6. Rask has let up too many softies, and he’s gonna be peppered with potent shots, but I still give the edge in net to the B’s.

    Don’t count out the B’s offense…they’ve looked better and better even with Marchand and Seguin struggling mightily. Jagr has been so close so many times, and the D has been a huge offensive weapon. Rangers have a much better D and goalie than the Pens, and the Bruins are still the second highest scoring offense this post-season. Ya, the pens have their firepower, but you can’t deny the talent in Krejci, Lucic (playing like an ANIMAL right now!), Horton, Marchand, Bergeron, Seguin, and Jagr. And that 4th line….hachi macho! Paille can be a BEAST!

    So many story lines in this matchup…gonna be some awesome hockey. Lets hope Thid the Kid and Marchand play with class and don’t pull and stupid BS. I really hope the stripes put the whistles away and let them play. If they start giving into Pitt’s ability to draw penalties this one is over in 4 or 5.

    Go B’s!

    • dirt2013 - May 31, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      Long story short is if they don’t call the Bruins penalty’s they have a chance? Nice Boston logic.

      • kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        Not saying that at all. Bruins spent close to, if not the least, amount of time on the power play this year. Just because the Bruins play tough doesn’t mean they are penalties.

        Sid draws penalties…no one can deny that. Some of it is skill related (D-men not being able to keep up with his speed – dude’s got INSANE skill) other times it’s him selling it.

        No doubt this will be a physical series.

  11. aso513 - May 31, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Listen, I get the Bruins are this supposed to be this huge physical team but they aren’t even one of the bigger teams in the NHL, clinging to their 4-6 “big” players is just reaching. But, they play a straight line game like no other team in the NHL but I am not sure that is enough to beat the Pens weapons.

    Also, enough of these concerns about the Penguins defense. It is such an exaggeration that this team cannot play defense because at the end of the day the Isalnders were the worst matchup for the Penguins and probably the second best offensive team in the East.

    Finally, people who think the Vokoun meltdown is a given are just trying to convince themselves. Nothing in his career could lead one to buy into that. The goaltending is very even in this series and if it comes down to defense and forwards you have to lean toward the Pens. And unless Boston fans are ignoring the past then they know that Crosby and Malkin have had quite a bit of success against Chara.

    • kovodisc - May 31, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      B’s fan that picked pens in 6.

      Hockey fan and realist first…bruins fan 2nd.

      • aso513 - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:34 AM

        I know man and my feeling is while I sound like a dick I just don’t think the Pens will lose this series. Would I be surprised if they lost? Yes. But I would not be shocked? No. They are rolling right now like a well oiled machine. I expect that to keep up.

  12. aso513 - May 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    If anyone watched that Sens-Pens series you will agree that a certain player who wears #71 looks primed to explode and light it up like he did against Carolina in 2009. I think Malkin goes off in this series.

  13. alwaysgame7 - May 31, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    After I read thru the Pepper Vs Sportsfreak squabble… I’ve completely forgotten what the article was about…

    Oh and:
    “The ultimate flopper will undoubtedly whine and complain to the refs to get his team PP. It will come down to how Boston can handle their special teams and whether the refs give in to Crosby’s incessant complaining…”

    LeBron is playing hockey now?

    (Sorry couldn’t pass that up)

  14. bobhpine - May 31, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Remember that eigglesnoworklivesinmomsbasement loser? So quiet. What a loser.

    • sportsfreak13 - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      Hahaha I kinds miss him. He was a lot more fun to debate then this pepper guy. He knows when to fold them I guess. Where you at eiggles!???

  15. whammy71 - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    If all the Bs fans can come up with are that the Pens are soft and that Sid dives…….they’ve already lost.

    Pens in 3!

    • captainloaded - Jun 1, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      it’s amazing how many videos there are on youtube with the Bruins diving, as well.

    • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      how’d that work out?

    • pepper2011 - Jun 3, 2013 at 11:27 PM

      Where are you?
      Bruins goals in Whammy’s:
      Pens goals in Whammy’s:

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