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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a new day and a new game, but it’s same old mantra from the Boston Bruins.
From the get-go of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bruins have shown nothing but respect for the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Penguins the top-seed in the East, it’s not hard to understand why.
But that respect has only grown despite the fact the Bruins took the first two game of the series, and now return home looking to jump out to a commanding 3-0 series lead.
Read: Bruins-Penguins Game 3
They know it won’t be easy, but they’ve said that before. As they said after their 3-0 win in Game 1, and a 6-1 embarrassment of Pittsburgh in Game 2, the Bruins are expected the Penguins’ best on Wednesday night, and a tightly fought battle on the TD Garden ice.
“Well, that’s what it’s been from the start for us,” said head coach Claude Julien. “Every part of the ice is a battle. That’s how we’ve been able to come back 2-0. Like I said, we expect every part of our game to be good, because it needs to be. I keep saying it over and over: the team that we’re playing is a good team, has been a great team all year. I guess, right now, we’re up two-nothing because we’ve taken that respect and brought it to our game and made sure that every inch of the ice is important.”
The outcomes of Games 1 and 2 have no bearing on Game 3 for the Bruins. Just because they’ve outscore Pittsburgh 9-1 in the series doesn’t mean anything for Wednesday night.
“You have to try to turn the page (from the first two games),” said veteran forward Milan Lucic. “They’re going to want to be better. What happened in the first two games doesn’t matter, what matters is what happens here tonight.”
Even rookie Torey Krug, with just seven playoff games under his belt, understands that.
“Any great team after two losses, down in a series, is going to bounce back as hard as they can,” he said following Wednesday’s morning skate. “They understand it’s a critical game and we fully expect them to come out hard.”
“There’s a lot of hockey left to be played. Our mentality is just to take it one game at a time regardless of the result of the last game.,” said defenseman Adam McQuaid. “Build off the things we did well and clean up areas we feel need to be cleaned up. Try to not worry about where the series is at, but where we are tonight.”
“It’s extremely early,” said forward Chris Kelly. “All we’ve done is put ourselves in a good position but that’s it. We know how important this game is, just like they do.”
As for the Penguins, they are a desperate bunch in search for answers. Sidney Crosby has been held scoreless for two straight games for the first time all season, and is hoping that desperation shows itself in their play in Game 3.
“I think desperation is something we need to find in our game and we haven’t found that in the first two. Hopefully, given the situation, it’ll be there,” he said.
Much like the Bruins, the Penguins are forgetting about the outcomes of first two games. They’ve watched them over and over and hope they’ve learned from their mistakes. But the final scores are already in the record books, so their best bet is to just turn the page.
“Over the years you have to do it many times, so that helps,” said netminder Tomas Vokoun, who will be back between the pipes Wednesday night after getting pulled in the first quarter in Game 2. “It’s part of what we do as goalies; you can’t dwell on what happened last game – you just move on. Today is a totally different game. It wouldn’t matter if I got a shutout last game, it wouldn’t make it any easier tonight. They’re going to still try to do the things they do. For me it’s a brand new game, brand new day.”
“There’s pressure no matter what. I don’t feel any added pressure honestly,” added Vokoun. “It’s an important game, but so is every game in the series. We know we need to be better all-around as a team than we were last game. The only pressure is to play better.”
Tune in to every game of the Eastern Conference Finals on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Bruins. Pregame coverage begins 30 minute prior to every game!