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Bruins have struggled in ‘closeout’ opportunities

Jun 7, 2013, 1:08 PM EDT

Bruins versus Pens Getty Images

For all the good things the Boston Bruins have done in the playoffs in recent years — and there are many — one thing they’ve struggled with is closing out an opponent.

In fact, in the last four years, the Bruins are 7-11 with an opportunity to win a round, as they can tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Granted, four of those 11 losses came in one series against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010, and the Bruins exorcised those demons the next year by winning it all.

This year, though, they very nearly blew a 3-1 series lead versus the Maple Leafs in the first round, and, while this may fall under the category of nitpicking, they couldn’t complete the sweep of the Rangers in the second round.

Naturally, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked this morning about “another closeout opportunity” and how his team needs to play against a Pens side that will be fighting for its survival.

“I think we know how we need to play,” said Julien. “It’s about bringing it tonight.

“This is about one game. It’s nothing more than about one game, what we need to do here. So we try and minimize all the hoopla around everything and keep it to the one game, how we need to play.

“I mentioned yesterday that we didn’t play our best game last game. They played better. So we need to be a better team tonight.”

For what it’s worth, the last time the Penguins found themselves in an 0-3 hole with Game 4 on the road — in the first round of last year’s playoffs — they hammered the Flyers, 10-3, then went home and won Game 5.

Yes, they still lost the series, but they sure made it interesting.

  1. amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Keeping hating on the Bruins NBC. Keep rooting for the best team on paper to win.

    Here’s hoping they get blown out so people can get over their fan-boy love for Sidney and the boys and recognize the hard work, focus, and determination of the Boston Bruins!

    Are you listening Pierre McGuire?

    • hockeyflow33 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:32 PM

      How is this hating on the Bruins? It’s a fact and it’s even more questioning because Rask has been in net for a large number of those.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:32 PM


      • 19to77 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        He’s been in for every win of this playoff run and held “the best team in the playoffs” to two goals in three games but hey, it’s easier to doubt him when you ignore things like facts.

      • dropthepuckeh - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        Yeah because he’s their #1 goalie. Chara was playing defense and Claude was coaching too. The Bruins were wearing a spoked “B” on their chest too.

        Rask has a 0.67 GAA against the Penguins this round. I think he’s been okay.

      • goingoppo - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        Hey dropthepuck, his GAA is 0.56! Don’t forget the two OTs!!

      • dropthepuckeh - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Well played, that’s what happens when I try to do my own math!

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        The issue isn’t whether he is good, it’s how he reacts to close-out games, which we can all agree has not been very great. It’s not all on Rask obviously but the team has a whole hasn’t been good the last few years at going after the jugular when they need to.

    • nhloon - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      Thank you, don’t forget to leave out Chicago’s own Olczyk !!!!

      • amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Chicago is one of my favorite Western Conference teams.

        Hossa is unreal.

    • season20122013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      You don’t think Sidney has put in hard work, is focused, or determined? Dude played without a helmet last game despite concussion history and a broken jaw…and DAMN near ended the game. That would have been hard to take, eh?

      All hypothetical, he didn’t end the game, of course. My point is that you are nothing more than a fan, dancing around your house (notice I did not use the ‘mother’s basement routine) in your Bruins underoos and a cape and mask pretending you’re the GM. These guys are all great athletes – while the Bruins are playing great, to go on about Sidney Crosby as if he should be disrespected by the likes of YOU is indicative of a deeper problem.

      And no…Pierre isn’t listening…because YOU are YOU and not worth listening to. But I’m listening, my friend, and that’s about as good as you can hope for.

      Go Pens.

      • amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM

        Sidney…..waaaaaaaaaaa! Need a binkie?

        My Bruins underoos are awesome.

        The B’s were totally disrespected by Pens fans on here. Crosby just carries himself so badly with his crybaby ‘tude. I respect teams like the Kings and the Hawks. Detroit and Toronto as well. The Pens just annoy me because they act so entitled.

        That being said, I HAVE noticed that Crosby is behaving a little better. I guess he must be reading his bad press about his whining.

      • season20122013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        If you think that the Pens fans disrespecting the Bruins are any different from the Bruins fans disrespecting the Pens, that’s crazy – and it wasn’t like one started the other, it’s always that way. Your problem is that you’re starting to BELIEVE your own sh*t, which is delusional.

      • grilledjesus - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        Lots of guys play without helmets for a shift, doesn’t make him Superman.

        Yes, Crosby, the Pens, the Bruins, all of them should be disrespected/respected by the likes of us. WE PAY THIER SALARY! It’s us that makes all these leagues work and continue, not the other way around.

      • season20122013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Yes, exactly…I called him superman. That’s exactly what I did.

        I certainly wasn’t saying he was more focused and driven than was given credit for, at all…no. That couldn’t possibly be what I was saying either. At least 50% of you read 50% of what you try to argue.

      • season20122013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        But 99% of you are wrong 100% of the time…

      • amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Sorry but the comments made about the pressure cooker bombs were wayyyyyyy off base. I didn’t see Bruins fans offering to send terrorists or bombs to Pittsburgh.

        Do we let you have it a little, sure… but that was just cruel and nasty beyond “fandom.”

        Pitt fans were expecting a cake-walk past the Bruins. Pardon us for being happy that hasn’t happened.

        Boston Strong. Go Bruins. Terrorism sucks.

      • 40ozfab - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Re: Sidney playing without a helmet…I don’t think there is a single player in the NHL who would leave the ice during their shift because their helmet came off.

        More like Captain Hindsight.

    • goingoppo - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Bruins fan here…i don’t understand all the complaints about the NBC broadcasts. Doc is the best in the business, and I love Pierre as well. Are Boston fans so used to homers like Tommy Heinsohn and Jack Edwards (love Jack by the way) that we think somebody objective is actually biased against our team?

      • 40ozfab - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Doc is great, if he can give play by play instead of Olczyk opening his biased mouth. Pierre is awful.

    • hockey412 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      The city of Boston will forever be tainted by the stupidity pouring out of you.

  2. cowboys282 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Penguins have just “Struggled” against the Bruins.

    • season20122013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      Holy Jesus in heaven….what adjective would you have used – honestly.

      • 19to77 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM


      • amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:19 PM


      • 19to77 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM


      • kmacle - Jun 7, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        It’s a verb.

  3. tripps3 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Come on – don’t be hating on Edzo

  4. 19to77 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    “For what it’s worth, the last time the Penguins found themselves in an 0-3 hole with Game 4 on the road — in the first round of last year’s playoffs — they hammered the Flyers, 10-3, then went home and won Game 5.”

    Ilya Bryzgalov =/= Tuukka Rask, Jason. One’s actually, you know, good at goaltending and stuff.

  5. tripps3 - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I think Rask just has really thick goalie pads – NHL needs to look into that

    • amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Yeah, it’s the pads. Totally the pads, man.


    • tokyobuzzsaw - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Goalie pads in general are way too big now a days. It’s insance how much bigger they are now then what they were in the 90’s. Look back at Moog and Barasso’s pads back in 91-92, they were tiny, barely came up over the knee. The only goalie back then with huge pads was Lemelin with the Aeroflex, those things were monsters.

      Any way, it’s not just Rask who has big pads. All of them do, for some reason though Corey Crawford’s pads look ridiculously big

  6. 8man - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Let me just state for the record that the other team is trying also. It’s a best of 7. The first team to win 4. But in hockey one game is not really an indicator of how games after it will play out. Both Rask and Vokoun were excellent Wednesday. One of them could have an off night.

    So we could have the series end. Or it be 3-1 and everyone talking about how the Pens have the momentum, and surely they’ll win game 5 in Pittsburgh, and then the pressure will be on the Bruins in game 6, because game 7 is back in Pittsburgh….blah, blah, blah.

    One shift at a time. One game at a time.

    • grilledjesus - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      “One of them could have an off night.”

      Game 4 B’s/Rangers, Tuukka falls down, Chara gets picked behind net, and B’s lose. Stuff happens, and that makes it great.

  7. amityvillefun - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I admit it 8man. You are correct.

    Hard not to get excited when the B’s were written off so blatantly.

    Vokoun was very good last game. Luckily, Rask was a little better. Hope he can keep it up tonight.

    Tip of the hat to Vokoun though.

  8. titansbro - Jun 7, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Record in close out games is a misleading & overrated stat. If you lose one, then another immediately follows. If you win a close out game, then there are no more opportunities to pad the W column.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Yes, and teams facing elimination act like cornered animals and fight to the death. If a team has a close-out opportunity and ultimately loses the series (I am aware of the 2010 meltdown) than that would be more indicative of failure.

  9. thebigtim2012 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    NBC is absolutely rooting for the pens you morons. If the pens win it extends the series they sell more ads the series gets interesting. A sweep is not in their best financial interest. Pierre set the record straight on that this morning on waaf in Boston. And FYI Pierre’s first coaching job was at a college in Wellesley MA so he’s emotionally connected to both cities. It’s real easy to say the whole world is against us but when you take a step back things get slot clearer. That being said I am sick of all the talk about how the pens are blowing it and not much mention about how the bruins are just outplaying them.

    • goingoppo - Jun 7, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Of course the network is rooting for more games, but you don’t hear it in the actual broadcast itself. Listen to Emrick’s call of Bergeron’s winner again. The broadcast team is great. Emrick > Thorne

      Go B’s

  10. hounds2013 - Jun 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    The Bruins will not struggle tonight. It’ll be a easy win against a demoralized Pens team, playing its last game with Bylsma, Malkin, Fleury, and Iginla.

  11. girouxed - Jun 7, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Bruins in 5

  12. thebigtim2012 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Hockey412 who are you addressing

  13. johnnyd76 - Jun 7, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Believe in this –

    The Pens WILL WIN TONIGHT! They will force a game 5 and WIN IN PITTSBURGH- After that, all bets are OFF – however, do not discount the PENS – they may just be able to stun the hockey world!

  14. thebigtim2012 - Jun 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    They have already stunned the world with their serious lack of points

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