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The Morning Skate: Can the Penguins survive?

Jun 7, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT


A quick look at the Eastern Conference finals and notes from the Blackhawks’ road win last night.

Game 4: #1 Pittsburgh Penguins at #4 Boston Bruins, 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN and live online) – Bruins lead series, 3-0

In Game 3, the Bruins outlasted the Penguins in the longest game of the postseason, when Patrice Bergeron scored 15:19 into the second overtime. Tonight, the B’s will try to sweep the Pens to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in three seasons. The Bruins are 5-0 all-time in Game 4s of best-of-seven series at home (13-5 overall) when up three-games-to-none.

The Penguins’ scoring deficiency, after leading the NHL in goals per game during the regular season (3.38) and the first two series this postseason (4.27), has been historic. With only two goals vs. Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, it marks only the second time in franchise history that the Pens have scored two or fewer goals in a three-game stretch in the playoffs (2001 Eastern Conference Final, Games 3-5, vs. New Jersey Devils). The six players with four or more goals coming into the conference final have a combined one (Chris Kunitz, Game 3).







Shots on goal

Shot attempts

Sidney Crosby





Pascal Dupuis





James Neal





Chris Kunitz





Evgeni Malkin





Jarome Iginla





Shot attempts = shots on goal, attempts blocked and missed shots

The top six forwards on the B’s, on the other hand, have had few problems creating offense. The top line of Nathan Horton (two goals, three assists), David Krejci (four goals) and Milan Lucic (three assists) has combined for six goals, while the second line of Brad Marchand (two goals, assist), Patrice Bergeron (two goals, assist) and Jaromir Jagr (three assists) has four.

The Bruins’ only roster change will involve Gregory Campbell, the center on Boston’s “Merlot Line” with Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton. “Soupy” broke his right fibula while blocking a Evgeni Malkin slapshot, and will miss the remainder of the season.


Perhaps the name is familiar. Kaspars Daugaviņš, the most likely roster replacement (along with Carl Söderberg and Jay Pandolfo) for the injured Gregory Campbell in Game 4, has already suited up for the Bruins this postseason, playing 9:52 in the B’s Game 1 defeat of the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Doesn’t ring a bell? You remember him from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where he represented Latvia and registered six shots on goal in four games (zero points). Still no? But certainly you’ve seen the most memorable shootout miss (see link) in NHL history, when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators, playing against the Bruins, on March 11.

That daring attempt, which he had first tested in the AHL two seasons earlier, was stopped by the Bruins’ starting goaltender Tuukka Rask. In the Senators’ next game against Boston, he scored his only goal of the 2012-13 season, beating the B’s backup, Anton Khudobin, in what would be his final game in Canada’s capital. On March 26, he was placed on waivers by the Sens and picked up the following day by the Bruins.


Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have never scored fewer than three points in a playoff series. Crosby had one goal and two assists in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit, and Malkin had one goal and two assists in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final vs. Detroit and the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Montreal.


Chicago 3, Los Angeles 2 – Blackhawks lead series, 3-1

Marian Hossa scored 1:10 into the third period – his seventh goal of the postseason – to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Kings in Game 4. Bryan Bickell (his eighth goal, T-2nd in NHL) and Patrick Kane also scored, as Chicago overcame the absence of top defenseman Duncan Keith (suspension). The Kings, who got goals from Slava Voynov and Dustin Penner, were held to 21 shots on goal, only two in the third period.

The Blackhawks not only took a three-games-to-one series lead; they also snapped the Kings’ franchise-records for most consecutive home wins in the playoffs (nine) and overall (15). Chicago can clinch its 12th Stanley Cup Final berth by defeating Los Angeles at home on Saturday evening, on NBC.


–    Patrick Kane, after he tapped in the 2-2 goal off the goalline that would have been teammate Bryan Bickell’s second of the game (and ninth of the postseason)


  • Jaromir Jagr demands perfection in the gym [CBC]
  • Today’s brew from Boston mixes beers with biers [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
  • Sushi, the new pre-game wonder meal [Globe and Mail]
  • Bruins the modern-day version of the Broad Street Bullies [The Province]
  • Sidney Crosby’s sister carving out her own hockey path in goal [Canadian Press]
  1. ibieiniid - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM


  2. shwoogy1 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:09 PM


  3. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Oh! They can for sure with all that talent. The skill set is there. Will they? Nope! To late! B’s are too good right now for them to lose 4 in a row. Ain’t gonna happen. Fire Bylsma! Sorry! I like the guy, but he’s failed since 09.

  4. 19to77 - Jun 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Meh. They’ll probably win game 4. I just can’t see them getting swept outright. But there is no chance they survive. The Bruins are too good. Four chances to close out is just too many.

  5. chanceoffleury1 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    For my sanity’s sake I’m hoping James Neal and/or Evgeni Malkin can finally finish the job tonight. They have both done a good job of breaking through the Bruins defense and getting some quality scoring chances on goal. Despite the fact the Crosby line got the goal, the Malkin line has played the Bruins far better in my opinion. It’s just that either they couldn’t finish off the job or Rask was there to make a great save. But like I said, the fact they are even breaking through the Bruins zone to make the shot in the first place pretty consistently is a good sign. I’d like to think eventually one of those shot has got to go! For the love of god I just hope they don’t get swept…………

  6. jpelle82 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    i think if the pens get the 1st goal they win tonight – still dont think they have a snowball’s chance in hell though.

  7. jacketsfan7 - Jun 7, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    With 2 goals In three games? Hell no , that’s really truly an embarrassing stat right there , I thought this would take 7 , I was way off , put Jeff Zatkoff in net and stick a fork in them , pack their bags for an early summer

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