PITTSBURGH — Bruins coach Claude Julien is not alone in thinking the Penguins are going to bring their A-game to the Consol Energy Center for tonight’s Game 2 against his hockey team.
“I expect them to be better,” Julien said after Monday’s morning skate. “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.
“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.
Julien admitted that it’s going to be extremely tough to take two games in the home arena of the high-flying Pens.
“Well, it’s going to be a challenge,” Julien 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.
“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.
In a lighter moment, Julien was asked if he would be one of the top six defensemen today if he were the same player he was back when he laced them up back in the ’70s and ’80s.
“I’d be in the penalty box all night for hooking, clutching and grabbing, I can tell you that much,” Julien said. “You know, credit to those guys, from my playing days to now, we know players are in better shape, we know they’re bigger, stronger, the equipment’s gotten better. The game’s gotten faster and that’s why we should be excited about our game and stop looking back, because definitely if I take my peak years I couldn’t play in this league. That stick was such a good weapon to slow guys down, and we were allowed to do that stuff. Nowadays, if you can’t skate and you’re not strong, you can’t get in the right positions, you can’t play in this league.”
Watch the video above for some pregame comments from Torey Krug, who said he broke the stick that he used to score all his playoff goals with, Chris Kelly, David Krejci, and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.