Monday, June 3, 2013
Five takeaways from Game 2
By James Murphy
The Penguins had no answer for the Bruins in Game 2 as Boston again dominated the best offense in the NHL, beating Pittsburgh 6-1 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals with the series headed to TD Garden for Games 3 and 4.
Each of Brad Marchand's goals deflated the Penguins and their fans.
Bruins set tone early and often -- The Bruins clearly frustrated the Penguins in their 3-0 Game 1 victory and they wasted no time doing so again in Game 2 as Brad Marchand scored 28 seconds into regulation. But the Bruins weren't done deflating the Penguins and their fans. The Bruins opened up a 3-0 lead and when the Penguins cut it to 3-1, Marchand struck again 25 seconds later to give the Bruins a 4-1 lead after one period of play. To rub salt in the wound, Marchand let Matt Cooke have it verbally after jousting with Cooke just prior to the goal. That was just one example of how the Bruins are controlling the action both physically and mentally and how the Penguins remain a very frustrated team that can't seem to get their game going.
Horton, Krejci having their own Conn Smythe race -- Kings goalie Jonathan Quick entered the conference finals as the lead candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP with David Krejci right behind him. But with Quick getting pulled in a 4-2 loss to the Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals and Krejci scoring his eighth goal and 20th point of the playoffs in Game 2, the Bruins center may be right there with Quick. But linemate Nathan Horton is suddenly in the mix too. Horton had a goal and an assist in Game 2 and now has five points in this series and 17 in the playoffs. He also is a plus-19 and is looking more and more like the Horton who had two series-clinching goals in the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup run.
Bruins again use brawn with brains -- The Penguins once again outhit the Bruins (37-19) but as was the case in Game 1, many of their hits served no meaning and were either a result of frustration or because they didn't have the puck. The Bruins' puck possession was dominant and when they made hits, they usually in a turnover or the end of the Penguins possession. The Penguins are trying to outmuscle the Bruins and it's not working. Meanwhile, the Bruins are picking their spots and making use of every hit.
Rask up to the task again -- The Penguins really didn't have any sustained pressure in the Bruins' zone, but many times when that's the case it can be more difficult for a goalie to maintain focus and be ready. But Rask showed no issues in that regard and was ready any time the Penguins pressured. He finished with 26 saves and has stopped 55 of 56 Penguins shots thus far. In addition, Rask has maintained his cool as the Penguins continually rush the net and try to get under his skin.
Points starting to come -- Jaromir Jagr's hard work is starting to pay off on the score sheet as the veteran forward had two assists in Game 2 with his second a beautiful set-up on Patrice Bergeron's goal. Jagr has played well for the last seven games, but has been unable to really contribute offensively. Perhaps this performance can spark some goals against his former team.