On Surging Canadiens and what’s next for Boston

 

The Montreal Canadiens ousting the Boston Bruins in seven games was no fluke. Yes, the Bruins are the superior team but the NHL playoffs is all about matchups and getting hot at the right time. Montreal was the better team in the series and deserved to advance to the Eastern Conference. “We just beat the best team in the league,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. The Canadiens for now put a wrench into the theory that you need to be a big, strong, puck possession team to win in the playoffs. However, it doesn’t hurt to have one of the NHL’s best goaltenders in Carey Price and a phenom on the blueline in PK Subban. Those two make a world of difference on any given night. The style of play upfront really stood out for the Habs. Montreal is a four line team with speed and skill that plays withRead More »

Game 3 Special Teams Analysis on the power play not being able to deliver a season saving win & more

 

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS PLAYOFF ANALYSIS SPECIAL TEAMS ROUND 3, GAME 3 By Dave Fryer, Contributor to InsidePittsburghSports.com As predicted, producing on the power play was going to be vital if the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to rally out of a 2-0 hole against the Boston Bruins in Game 3. Instead, Pittsburgh laid another egg with the man advantage, going 0-for 6 in a game where a single goal at any point of the contest would have given them the win they so desperately needed. Conversely, the Penguins’ penalty kill upheld its part admirably, shutting down all six Boston power plays – including three in overtime – without too much fret. The hard work of the penalty kill has given the Penguins a legitimate chance to get their offensive play back in gear. But just as penalty killing shouldered a lot of the blame for the post-season ouster in 2012, the failuresRead More »

Bruins neutralized Crosby with Bergeron, opted for Chara – Malkin matchup in Game 1 at even strength

 

One of the top storylines coming into Game 1 was how the Boston Bruins intended to utilize Zdeno Chara in a matchup role and who he would be paired with. Do they go for the matchup against Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? That was among the burning questions, and, as expected, the Bruins went for the Patrice Bergeron – Sidney Crosby matchup, while going for the Chara – Evgeni Malkin matchup at even strength. The first wrinkle Bruins head coach Claude Julien threw was splitting up his top pairing of Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. With Andrew Ference returning to the lineup, Julien was comfortable enough to pair Johnny Boychuk with Zdeno Chara and go with Ference and Seidenberg in a primary shutdown role against the Crosby line. The Bruins effectively neutralized Crosby who had no points, a minus-2 rating, 4 shots on goal and was 6 of 17 (35%) on faceoffs.Read More »

Penguins coming off as whiners after Game 1?

 

GAME 1 FALLOUT The Penguins have expected a physical series and they set the tone physically for the first 35 minutes of the game, but the Bruins would eventually get into the Penguins head, similar to how the Flyers did so effectively last spring. Although the Penguins are a much more physical team than the Vancouver Canucks were in the 2011 Cup Finals, Boston does feel they can attack and get under the Penguins skilled players skin like they did so well against the Canucks in 2011. The second period scrum that saw Evgeni Malkin pummel Patrice Bergeron, and Sidney Crosby, Zdeno Chara barking at each other, led to the Penguins losing their composure. “I don’t think the situation at the end of the second period was in our favor,” Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma said. “It did get us off our game,” The Penguins after the game came offRead More »

Game 1 Special Teams Analysis: The use of Jarome Iginla on the power play remains an enigma

 

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS PLAYOFF ANALYSIS SPECIAL TEAMS ROUND 3, GAME 1 By Dave Fryer, Contributor to InsidePittsburghSports.com It was a night full of paradoxes for the Penguins, who were blanked, 3-0, by the Boston Bruins in Game 1. Sure, an eight-day layoff could take the blame, but at the same time, the team actually got off to a good start and conversely faded from there. The Penguins also looked lost in its own zone several times, but yet they looked very strong on their penalty kill. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz had unusually subpar performances, while an energized Evgeni Malkin matched his team-high five shots with five minutes in the box for fighting. The goal posts did not do Pittsburgh any favors, but the team also missed the net seven times in the first period and 12 times in the game. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, most of those negatives are rare, andRead More »

Scouting the Bruins Defensemen: Has Krug made Bruins better equipped to match up against Pens speed?

 

SCOUTING THE BRUINS DEFENSEMEN BRUINS PRACTICE D-PAIRS ON TUESDAY Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk Torey Krug – Adam McQuaid Wade Redden – Dougie Hamilton Andrew Ference – Aaron Johnson BRUINS QUICKER ON THE BLUELINE? The Penguins were 3-0 against the Bruins in the regular season, all one goal games. What stood out in all three games is that despite how good defensively the Bruins are, the Bruins “D” struggled at times to match up against the Penguins speed upfront, something of a concern for Boston. The Bruins play a tight structure and like to keep teams to the outside,  but when breaking down the matchup of the Penguins forwards vs Bruins defensemen, Pittsburgh has the ability to beat them wide and chip pucks deep and put immense pressure on the Bruins D. “They’re a patient group, team that plays well defensively,” winger Pascal Dupuis said of theRead More »

Penguins – Bruins By the Numbers

 

PENGUINS – BRUINS BY THE NUMBERS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS Goals For: 5-on-5 (30) | 5-on-4 (12) | 5-on-3 (1) | 4-on-4 (2) | 4-on-5 (2) | Total (47) | GF/G (4.27, 1st in NHL Playoffs) Goals Against: 5-on-5 (21) | 5-on-4 (3) | 4-on-5 (4) | Total (28) | GA/G (2.54, 8th in NHL Playoffs) Power Play: 13-for-46, 28.3% (1st in NHL Playoffs) | Home Power Play: 8-for-27, 29.6% | Road Power Play: 5-for-19, 26.3% Penalty Kill: 35-for-39, 89.7% (3rd in NHL Playoffs) | Home Penalty Kill: 20-for-22, 90.9% | Road Penalty Kill: 15-for-17, 88.2% PITTSBURGH LEADERS Goals: Sidney Crosby (7), Pascal Dupuis (7), James Neal (6), Jarome Iginla (4), Evgeni Malkin (4), Chris Kunitz (4) Assists: Kris Letang (13), Evgeni Malkin (12), Sidney Crosby (8), Jarome Iginla (8), Paul Martin (7) Points: Evgeni Malkin (16), Kris Letang (16), Sidney Crosby (15), Jarome Iginla (12), Pascal Dupuis (10), James Neal (10)Read More »

Jagr dealt to Bruins

 

Mark you calendars Penguin fans. The Dallas Stars today traded Jaromir Jagr to the Boston Bruins for forwards Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne and a conditional second round draft pick. The conditional second round pick will become a first-rounder if the Stars win two rounds. Jagr lead the Stars with 14 goals and 26 points and Jagr played so well that Dallas strongly considered resigning him. For the Bruins, Jagr is their consolation prize for missing out on Jarome Iginla. In 1,380 career NHL games, Jagr has scored 679 goals, 1000 assists. The Penguins and Bruins play in Boston on Friday April 19th.

Bruins reportedly closing in on deal for Jarome Iginla

 

Jarome Iginla is a healthy scratch tonight and all indications are Iginla is on the verge of becoming a Boston Bruin in the next 24 hours. According to reports from TSN, and other outlets, the potential deal in place is rumored to be Iginla to the Bruins in exchange for a first round pick, center Alexander Khokhlachev and defenseman Matt Bartkowski. It’s not clear if an extension is being demanded from the Bruins, something the Penguins were interested in, sources say. The rumored return for Iginla is not a significant one. The first round pick will in all likelihood be a late first rounder, Matt Bartkowski’s ceiling at best is a No. 3 pairing defenseman, and Khokhlachev is a smallish center at 5-foot-10, but could develop into a top-9 forward in the NHL. No big time premium prospect here in Bartkowski or Khokhlacvev. As of 8:00 p.m., the Penguins hadRead More »

Thursday’s Latest Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz: Shero and Nieuwendyk to strike another deal?

 

THURSDAY’S PENGUINS TRADE DEADLINE TOP-5 1. There’s a strong sense that the Penguins and Bruins, the two top Cup contenders in the Eastern Conference, are chasing the same players leading into the April 3rd trade deadline. It’s a group that is becoming thinner and what’s interesting is that both teams are also said to be considering the same options at the deadline; Adding a top-4 defenseman, bottom two-line player or top-6 forward. 2. One team the Penguins continue to scout heavily of late is the Dallas Stars. The Penguins have scouted five of the Stars last seven games and the Penguins were in attendance last night for Stars – Avalanche game. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post points out the Penguins were the only Eastern Conference team in attendance last night for Av’s-Stars. Brenden Morrow and Eric Nystrom are two notable players the Penguins have been tracking, sources say, WhatRead More »