Playoff Gameday: Eastern Conference Final – Game Three

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Boston Bruins
Bruins lead series 2-0

NBCSN, CBC, RDS – 8:00 pm/et

TD Garden – Boston, MA

We've all spent days blaming various players, disecting different plays, cursing and speculating about which goaltender would be in net. Guess what? None of that really matters. The Pittsburgh Penguins as a team were terrible in game two. It was one of the worst games we've ever seen them play and it came off of a game one that was pretty bad as well. If that team comes out tonight, they will lose.

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What we saw in game two wasn't even a team. It were a collection of individuals who all seemed confused as to why they were dropped onto the ice for a hockey game. It was bad.

The good news? It really can't get much worse. Of course, it easily could get worse and then we're all in trouble.

The Pittsburgh Penguins know that. They know that this is a unique collection of talent that will likely never be assembled again. They know that they've been given all of the tools they need in order to succeed. Ray Shero made the moves, the organization spent the money and people like Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow came to the Pittsburgh Penguins in order to play for a Stanley Cup. If they lose tonight, it's over. And not just for the season. A lot of these players won't be back next year. This chance to assemble a ridiculously talented line-up like this one is a one-time thing. If they lose tonight, this team is history.

Sure, they'll have at least one more game to play, but coming back from a 0-3 series deficit isn't exactly easy or likely.

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to win tonight. Then they need to win game four. Then they need to head back to Pittsburgh and redeem themselves for the two terrible performances that they put on in games one and two. That's a tall order. The Boston Bruins are a very good hockey team. But so are the Pittsburgh Penguins. They haven't looked like it, but they are.

The real good news? The series is 2-0. A Penguins win tonight makes it 2-1. Given how awful games one and two were, we'd take a 2-1 series in a second.

We've all been incredibly disappointed and even shocked by the way the Pens have played in this series. But tonight is their chance at redemption. This is their chance to show everyone that they're not a collection of entitled individuals. This is their chance to show that they actually want to win the Stanley Cup, not just that they say they want to win it. It's their chance to prove that they're a team and an incredibly good team at that.

Who knows if they'll do it, but if they don't, they'll join another Penguins team from exactly 20 years ago that had amazing talented and couldn't get it done.

The Penguins players are not dumb. They know what's at stake tonight. The question is: can they deliver? Actually, that's not the question. Everyone knows that they can deliver.  The real question is: will they deliver?

Game One: Bruins won 6-1.

What we said in our recap:

When the biggest ovation from the home crowd comes when there is a goalie switch, you know the team played poorly — very poorly.

When a team drops the first game of the series, you expect to see that team's best game in Game Two. Instead, the Penguins may have played their worst game of the entire season. The Bruins didn't just beat the Penguins in Game Two. They shredded them in every aspect. The Bruins dominated and are clearly white-hot at the right time.

Know Your Enemy: Days of Y'Orr

What they're saying:

Boston has to keep pushing. They need to keep frustrating the Penguins. Brad Marchand needs to continue to be the pest he's been the past two games without taking shitty penalties. The Bruins need to keep killing penalties.

They have a chance to tighten their grip in the series and choke the life out of the Penguins by doing what they did in the first two games. It starts with faceoffs. Boston has won 41% of the faceoffs through two games, with 66% success in Game 1. Pittsburgh was better in Game 2, but they haven't been able to solve Patrice Bergeron, who has won 64% of faceoffs he's taken in both games.

Rich Peverley is currently 80% successful on taking a faceoff.
Chris Kelly? 70% success in two games

The only one who is really lacking is David Krejci, who was awful in Game 2 (5/19, 26%) and is 40% in the series.

Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jarome Iginla – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Brendan Morrow – Brandon Sutter – Matt Cooke
Craig Adams – Jussi Jokinen – Tyler Kennedy

Paul Martin – Brooks Orpik
Douglas Murray – Matt Niskanen
Mark Eaton – Kris Letang

Tomas Vokoun

 

Boston Bruins Lines:

Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Nathan Horton
Patrice Bergeron – 
Brad Marchand – Jaromir Jagr
Rich Peverley – Chris Kelly – Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Bartkowski – Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid

Tuukka Rask

 

No idea what the Penguins' lines actually are as Malkin, Iginla and Martin were not at practice.

 

Do It.

Go Pens.

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