BOSTON -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have returned to their past in the hopes they have a future in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs beyond this week's end.
Down 0-2 to the Boston Bruins after being outscored by a combined 9-1 in the first two games of the East final at home, the under-pressure Penguins hope to draw some inspiration from their successful comeback in the 2009 final.
Four years ago, they fell behind the Detroit Red Wings 0-2 and then won the next two games to tie the series. The Red Wings returned home to Joe Louis Arena to win Game 5, but the Penguins had once again rallied to win the final two matches to take the championship.
"Of course it helps," Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin said. "We had a great experience four years before. It's different time, different team, but we know we can come back. We saw Chicago come back, won Game 1, lost three then came back and won three games. It's not over, it's playoffs, it's a tough situation, it's [a] tough time, but it's not over yet."
The problem with the Penguins is that they aren't returning home down 0-2 like the 2009 final. They have landed in Boston for Games 3 and 4, and their faithful fears this is more like last year, when they lost the first two at home to the Philadelphia Flyers and eventually bowed out in six games in the first round.
"Nobody is happy with where we're at or the way we played," Penguins veteran Jarome Iginla said.
"Everybody here believes that we can win this series and get better. But now it's just starting with one game and winning that next game, and like I say, getting that momentum back and getting a spark and going in the right direction. There's no question that we all need to play better."
Penguins frequent miscues
In the first two games, the stingy Bruins played a patient game and took advantage of Penguins frequent miscues. They now have won seven of their last eight outings, and been on a roll since their comeback overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round.
"Any time you can come back from a road trip like that, having won both games, it's encouraging," Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. "Our team is really playing good hockey right now, without a doubt the best we've had this year. That has to continue to beat these guys."
The Bruins have their own up-and-down recent playoff history to draw upon to keep the foot down on the accelerator and finish off their opponents.
"Like I said last night, we were in the same position as Pittsburgh a few years ago and we worked our way back into it," Julien said. "I think we understand the situation here. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves here. We need to understand that these next games are crucial for us, just as much as it is for them.
"There's been a great commitment on the part of our team here to really play well defensively and have layers, take away some space from those guys and some room to pick up speed. The guys have really bought into that, so it's helped us a lot."
Bylsma won't reveal Game 3 goalie
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma remarked that he knows who his starting goalie will be for Game 3 on Wednesday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET). But he would not reveal to reporters whether it will be Tomas Vokoun or Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins problems, however, go way deeper than their goaltending. They have been sloppy with the puck in all three zones. Their defensive coverage in their own end has been abysmal. They haven't back checked like the diligent Bruins. They have allowed the Bruins to slow down their skating game.
"I think we can get a lot more offense-zone time," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "I feel like [in the] first game we did a little better job of that but we still need to keep them in their end a little bit better.
"I think with our game, just be a little bit more patient. They're a team that's going to kind of wait for your mistakes, and I think we've made a little bit too many with the ones we've made. I think we can just be a little bit more patient in our game.
"We're both puck-possession teams. There's going to be times when they possess the puck. It doesn't mean that they're necessarily carrying the play, they're just holding onto it, and we've just got to be a little bit more patient with our game."
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