OK, let’s be honest.
Did anyone really see this coming?
After seeing Tomas Vokoun go 6-1 with a 1.85 GAA and .941 save percentage in his first seven playoff games in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury, did anyone think he would allow seven goals in the first four periods against the Bruins?
And after seeing Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby combine for 11 goals and 31 points in the Penguins’ first 11 playoff games, did anyone really think they’d be without a point after two HOME games against Boston?
The Penguins and their fans will tell you they have the Bruins right where they want them. Since 1991, the Pens have won five of the eight playoff series in which they have dropped the first two games, including the time they beat the Capitals in the first round of the 1996 playoffs after losing the first two at the Igloo. [Apologies, Caps fans].
But if you ask those involved in the Bruins’ 6-1 rout over the Pens Monday night, you won’t find a whole lot of chest beating or cries of despair.
Here’s what you’ll hear:
Bruins coach Claude Julien:
Q. Coach, what did you think of the way your team came out right away in the first period and dictated the pace of the play?
COACH JULIEN: Well, that was what we had talked about before the game. We knew they were going to be a better team, and we had to be better than we were the last game in here. And we got some good bounces go our way and because of that we were able to establish a lead and then we just kind of took it from there. But sometimes those forecheck bounces go your way, and they did tonight.
Q. Did you think when the bounces go all your way, that kind of all avalanches, all kind of runs together and things continue to go your way?
COACH JULIEN: Well, you know, the confidence certainly builds pretty quickly. When you start off with an early lead in the visiting building, you're certainly happy with that start.
So I thought our guys did a good job of, again, playing a solid game, solid two-way game, and some great plays. I mean, [Brad] Marchand, two goals; Jags, the passes he made and even that hit in front of our bench, that turned the puck over and allowed Marchand to score a goal. He's come in to play for us and he's played well.
Q. What did you think of the job [Tuukka] Rask did in goal, because it usually seems like when goalies don't see a consistent rhythm of shots, sometimes they can get a little shaky, but he looked steady back there?
COACH JULIEN: Like I said, he's been in zone for a while. He's obviously confident right now. Puck seems big to him. And you've got to ride that goaltender when he's like that.
Q. What do you tell these guys in what might not have been a scenario they envisioned going back to Boston up 2-0?
COACH JULIEN: It's pretty simple; we were in that situation before, and we were able to come back in the series and win it.
So I don't think -- we've been through enough positive/negatives, not to get ahead of ourselves and we know this is a good team, and I'm not saying we know it. Penguins are a good team, they're deep, and we're going to have to continue to play extremely well if we plan on winning the series.
Q. I certainly don't expect you to second-guess the decision of another coach, but were you surprised to see [Tomas] Vokoun check out of the game right there?
COACH JULIEN: You're right. I'm not second-guessing. It's a tough enough job that you don't second-guess. And I've got too much respect for Dan [Bylsma] to even go there.
Q. The forecheck, what were you able to do there in the defense zone, causing them trouble in that regard?
COACH JULIEN: That's our forecheck. Our forecheck has been there all year. And when guys are doing it well, they're putting pucks in the right areas and we've got speed coming through the neutral zone, we were able to establish that.
But I think it's a big part of our game, and it's gotta be there night in, night out.
Q. Anything you're concerned about in terms of being up 2-0, going home, seems like a really good situation for you, any danger of being comfortable with it, I guess?
COACH JULIEN: You're not concerned with being comfortable. If anything building up 2-0 you've got to be happy. But the concerns are going to be in our game and after every game, we critique it with the players. And it's not so much about what we're doing well, we've gotta compete to do that, but there's areas you want to improve after every game, and we're a team that's responded well to that.
Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron:
Q. Can you just talk about how big a lift that Marchand goal was at the end of the first period after you had just given up one?
PATRICE BERGERON: Yeah, I think it was good to get that shift right away where we scored, because obviously their goal probably gave them some momentum on the bench, so we had to come back with a strong shift at the end there.
Q. What do you think, time again we've talked about how you guys are able to roll all four lines but tonight was just another example of it. How important was it to get the win in this game?
PATRICE BERGERON: I think it's very important. I mean, we've been relying on four lines all year and throughout the Playoffs and the same thing right here, they have a lot of depth as well.
So we need to make sure we're ready for what we're up against. And every line is responsible and talks a lot on the ice to communicate. And they're establishing - we all have some good chemistries, we're linemates, so we've gotta keep that going.
Q. The passing seemed to be on tonight, is that because of the sharpness and focus of the team here?
PATRICE BERGERON: Yes, I think so. I think everybody contributed, and everyone was on their game. And we win the puck well and crisp and sharp and we need that, and they're obviously a great team. If we don't to that, they're going to burn us. So tonight was the way that we need to play in order to have success.
Q. What do you expect from these guys in Game 3, given that they've been in this situation before?
PATRICE BERGERON: Yeah, they have a lot of experience. They're a team that we know that they're going to try to bounce back and we need to make sure we're ready. They're a really good team, we respect them and we know it's not over. We need to make sure we keep it going and stay in the game and take it by moment. And we've been doing it so far, and it's all about Game 3 now.
Q. It looked like [Jaromir] Jagr from the press box might have been in higher gear than he's been in. Did you feel the same thing?
PATRICE BERGERON: Yeah, I felt the same way. He really was on his game. I tried to get open, and he was finding me and March(and) and made a huge play on that goal, actually late in that first, on the wall, and it goes a long ways. It's a little detail but it goes a long way, and I thought he was awesome for us tonight.
Q. I know you take so much pride in the defensive aspect of the game but how much was it literally every forward helping out on the ice tonight?
PATRICE BERGERON: It's very important. Something we talked about. Their depth up front is something special, so we need to make sure we're always ready and we are always talking. And it's a five-man unit on the ice, and it's not just about one guy. We all need to, I guess, to talk and to communicate and collapse in the slot. And tonight that was a good example of that.
Q. Marchand actually had two really big significant goals for you tonight. What did you see in his game? He of course had the opening goal and the answered goal?
PATRICE BERGERON: Yeah, he had, I guess, a jump on his step tonight, and when you see that you can tell the way he shoots the puck, also. He finds every loose puck, and that first goal was obviously huge. They had a good shift before that break-away, and it was important to get that first one. And carried that along with that second goal, which was a huge goal again to keep going.
So I thought he was great. He was turning the puck well and he was first on pucks and finding loose pucks all the time, and that's what you need from a guy like him.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma
Q. Dan, what can be done to diffuse a situation that is 0-2 in a series where at least in the last four periods they seem to have thoroughly dominated and have done everything they wanted to do?
COACH BYLSMA: Going to Boston and win game one - or win Game 3, sorry, get our first win there. We've won - this team has won a lot of hockey games. It's a good team. We've won 15 in a row. And we won seven in a row and five in a row, and we gotta - we certainly didn't play anywhere near where we're capable of.
And that's gotta be our focus, to get our first win in Game 3 in Boston.
Q. Dan, I'm not going to ask who you're going to start in goal for the next game but I'm curious how you can best evaluate what both goalies gave you tonight with the way the team played in front of them as you make your decision for the next game?
COACH BYLSMA: It's tough. I don't think - we got down 3-0. I don't think there was a lot of fault in those three goals by the goaltender. So it's tough to evaluate given the breakdowns and the type of scoring chances that they scored on for both goalies.
Q. Because it might be tough to evaluate, what thought process goes into what you do with the goalies moving forward?
COACH BYLSMA: We're going to - everyone we put on the ice for Game 3 is going to be giving us the best chance to win the hockey game.
Q. You guys got off track in a similar fashion once or twice early in the season. What got you back to playing the way that you did the second half of the season? What has to happen Tuesday to make that happen again?
COACH BYLSMA: We have to get restarted after that game and after that performance. We made some mistakes that allowed them to get up in the score through the beginning of the game, and then we got off our game plan, got off playing our game by trying to find a goal, trying to find some offense in that game, in the second half of the game, and got away from playing the way we need to play.
And I think the biggest thing is our attitude. And that was a big adjustment for our team earlier in the season, and that's what it's going to have to be, how we reset and how we get refocused and how we go into Boston.
Q. Does it surprise you that at this stage of the season and this stage of the Playoffs that's where this team is at right now?
COACH BYLSMA: Yes, how we played for the last five periods, yes. We've gotten away from our game. We've gotten off our game plan. We've deviated. We get down early today again and not too far after the second goal we get off kilter and deviate again from how we can play and what we need to do. And that group of guys, that team in there, they'll reset and refocus, and we'll come back with how we need to play in Game 3.
Q. What do Sidney Crosby, [Evgeni] Malkin and Kris Letang need to reach down and find to return to the form that they've shown in the past?
COACH BYLSMA: I'm not going to look at just three players what they need to do and how they need to play. As a group, we need to be a lot better. We need to get to our foundation of how we play and play as a group, and we didn't do that. That includes every one of them, all of us, not just 87, 71 and 58.
It's easy to look at one mistake or one play at the start of the game or to say that, but that's not an indication of the rest of the guys. We need to play a lot better than that. We need to get back to our game, back to our best, and that's not just one or two guys.
Q. What have the Bruins done differently in this postseason than what they may have done the three times that they played you this year?
COACH BYLSMA: I don't think they've given us any surprise with how they play or what to expect from their team. I think when they have gotten leads in these two games, they've been very good.
And when we've looked for offense or tried to create offense on our own, they've been very good at being solid defensively in how they play, but that's not anything we didn't expect from the team we're playing.
Now it’s your turn. After seeing the Bruins outscore the Penguins 9-1 in Games 1 and 2, what’s your prediction for the remainder of this series? Join in the conversation below: