Bruins crush Penguins, seize control of playoffs

Updated 05 June 2013
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Bruins crush Penguins, seize control of playoffs

PITTSBURGH: The Boston Bruins keep talking about fortunate bounces and a dash of luck, insisting the margin between themselves and the Pittsburgh Penguins is thin.

At the moment, it looks like a chasm.
Brad Marchand scored twice during a four-goal first period and the Bruins routed the Pittsburgh 6-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“It doesn’t matter what the series is at right now,” Marchand said. “If they get the next one, they’re right back in it. The next one is the one that’s most important.”
It’s a phrase the top-seed Penguins repeated after losing Game 1 on Saturday night to fall behind in a series for the first time in the playoffs. The inspired play they needed never materialized.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held scoreless for the second straight contest to send the NHL’s highest-scoring team slouching to Boston for Game 3 on Wednesday with its season on the line.
“Tonight was terrible, there’s no other way to describe it,” Crosby said. “A loss is a loss. It’s frustrating. You don’t like giving one like that. We really didn’t do a lot of things to give ourselves a chance to win. This one we have to forget pretty quickly.”
It won’t be easy.
David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk also scored for Boston while Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots. Pittsburgh’s top-ranked power play went 0 for 2 and the Penguins were never in it after the Bruins scored three times in 17 minutes to chase Tomas Vokoun.
Brandon Sutter netted Pittsburgh’s lone goal. Vokoun gave up three first-period goals on 12 shots before being replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury.
“We’ve gotten away from our game,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “We’ve gotten off our game plan.”
The Bruins had more than a little something to do with it. Pouncing on every mistake — of which there were plenty to choose — Boston buried the Penguins early. Not bad for a team that needed an improbable third-period rally in Game 7 of the first round against Toronto to advance.

In the span of three weeks, Boston has morphed from a team hanging by a thread into one capable of bookending the Stanley Cup it won two years ago.
“Winning that Toronto series created some momentum from that,” Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. “We’ve been able to keep riding that momentum. We need to keep pushing harder.”
Another nudge or two would almost certainly send the Penguins toppling over.
Pittsburgh blamed its choppy play in the opener, including a rare fight by Malkin, on an eight-day layoff, stressing there was no need to panic.

Might be time to start now.
The last 16 teams to go up 2-0 in the conference finals have advanced to the Cup finals. The Penguins managed to escape a 2-0 hole against the Bruins in 1991 on their way to the franchise’s first championship.
These days Mario Lemieux is relegated to watching from the owner’s box. At the moment, the view isn’t pretty.
Marchand took advantage of a sloppy play by Crosby to give Boston the lead just 28 seconds into the game. Crosby attempted to flip a bouncing puck back into Boston’s zone. Marchand casually flipped it out of the air, then streaked in on Vokoun before putting a wrist shot over Vokoun’s glove.

The Bruins — and Marchand — were just getting started.
Boston poured in two more goals to rattle the Stanley Cup favorites and end Vokoun’s run through the postseason. Not that Vokoun had much help from the guys in front of him.
Kris Letang failed to clear the puck at the end of a Boston power play and Torey Krug kept it in and fired a slap shot at the net. Neither Vokoun, Letang or Paul Martin could grab it and Horton reached down and tapped it in between a sea of sticks to make it 2-0.
Krejci’s eighth goal of the postseason pushed it to 3-0, though his shot was the easy part. Jaromir Jagr and Bergeron took care of the hard part, dismantling Pittsburgh’s defense with a series of slick passes that left the NHL’s leading playoff scorer all by his lonesome in front of the Pittsburgh net.
“We were playing catch-up right from the start,” Crosby said. “It’s not a good feeling.”  And it only got worse.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 51 min 5 sec ago
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.