PITTSBURGH, Penn – The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to redeem themselves after losing Game 1 to the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Their power play, which had been scoring at a 33% clip, was held scoreless in the opening game and that needs to be fixed.
Pens head coach Dan Bylsma addressed the power play and the Pens chances from Game 1 in a press conference this morning.
“You look at the chances we did have and the two posts that we did hit. I think in a lot of ways you look at the power play not always in terms of goals, but your output and scoring chances and opportunities and I think we got some of those,” Bylsma said today. “In the game, for various reasons, whether we were in the penalty box or because we were just tired, we had several different types of units out on the ice that we had to go with.”
“So it wasn’t — with the exception of the first one, really didn’t have our main number one power play unit out there together as a group. So having said that, we like to score every time, but we got opportunities, we got situations, posts and second chances which you’re looking for and then getting — obviously it would have been big to capitalize on one of those in this game to get a goal and to make it 1-0 or even make it 1-1 there. So it is a factor tonight, but I like the units we’re going to put out there tonight and like what we’re going to do.”
Equally, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien knows the Pens will be looking to break out of the skid early and often Monday night.
“I expect them to be better. Any time you lose a game in your own building, and also being the team they are, they’re going to be better. We expect that. And that’s why we need to be better, as well. Post is part of the game and sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t, and every team has been on both sides of them,” Julien said in a morning presser. “We hit a few posts ourselves the last game. We’ve managed to score some goals. So that was the difference. So, again, when you have that much firepower in your lineup, you know what you’re up against. So we expect them to be better.”
When asked about how he views the Pens’ desire to come out strong in Game 2 Julien clearly seemed prepared for a game plan to address that.
“Well, it’s going to be a challenge. Like I said, they’re going to be a better team tonight. And we’re going to need to be a better team, and there’s certain things in the last game that I thought we have to be better at in this game, and if we do that we’re going to give ourselves a chance,” Julien said.
“If we don’t, then we’re obviously going to give them a great opportunity to tie the series. So it’s hard to win games in the Playoffs, gets harder as you move forward. So every time you get a chance you have to make the most of it and don’t waste that opportunity by saying at least we won one out of two. You have to go out there every game and challenge and want to win that game because nothing guarantees you those home wins, and I think Pittsburgh knows that.”
Two players stood out for the Bruins in Game 1. David Krejci played exceptionally well and netted two goals for Boston.
” I think David was pretty excited to have Jags (Jaromir Jagr) come into our lineup and our team, because he’s always looked up to him as a younger player, and I think Jags is the one that’s recognized the fact that David is a great player,” Julien said of the relationship between Krejci and Jagr. “And I said that before, for people that know Jags, they know how he is. And to me he’s a great person. He’s been great in our dressing room. He’s happy to be with us.
“And for what he’s accomplished and how he’s playing right now, even though the stats don’t indicate that, he’s made a lot of things happen. He’s strong in the puck and creates room for our players. So on and off the ice, I think Jags has had an influence on almost everybody.”
On the other hand, hometown Bruin Matt Bartkowski did not play Saturday.
“Matt has grown immensely on and off the ice. And his approach right now is all he wants is for our team to win. And if he’s not in, he’s going to be supportive of his teammates. But at the same time he’s going to be ready when his name gets called to play,” Julien said of his d-man. “So he’s been great, and especially in this, I guess, unique situation where he’s at home. There’s no doubt it has to hurt a little bit. But he’s able to put priorities first and he’s thinking about our team right now.”
So the Pens have their task ahead of them in gearing up the power play. The Bruins meantime do not want to give up any momentum they gained from the opening win. They have home ice now and no sense giving the Pens a chance to get it back.