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Saturday, June 1, 2013
Wait nearly over for Bruins, Penguins

By Joe McDonald

PITTSBURGH -- A week is long enough.

The puck can’t drop soon enough for the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins as the teams are ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night at Consol Energy Center. Both teams held their normal game-day skate and are raring to go.

“Yeah, I’m done,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said with a smile. “I think it’s great this series is starting, and I think both teams feel the same way. It’s been a good week, a time to get some rest and heal, and hopefully it’ll make it an even more interesting series by having that break.

“We’re excited. This is the best time of the year to be playing hockey -- we all know that. June and hockey seem to go hand in hand. Beautiful weather and a great sport to be part of, so it’s great to be here and I know our team is excited about it and I have no doubt [Pittsburgh] is as well.”

This is the first time since 1992 that these teams will meet in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the week off for both teams after their semifinal victories seems even longer than that.

“Pittsburgh’s been the best team all year,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “They won our conference and we know it’s going to be tough, but we’re ready for the challenge and we like our team here. We know we can do it.”

Krejci is the leading scorer in the playoffs with five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang each have 16 points, while Sidney Crosby has 15.

“I’ve played against [Crosby] many times already. I know it’s the playoffs and it’s a little different, but he’s still the same player,” Krejci said. “Obviously I’m looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a good challenge.”