Now this is part of the interaction between the press and Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma’s post game press conference. (It could also be his last one, for going against Claude Julien in a coaching battle is starting to cost other teams their head coach.) For those of you not living under a rock, the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 1-0 in game four to sweep the highest rated offensive team in the NHL and the #1 Eastern seed out of the playoffs. The Bruins will now wait to see who we’re facing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
COACH BYLSMA: Congratulations are in order for the Boston Bruins on their team, their organization, Claude Julien. Their team played great. Their team certainly played outstanding against us. They deserve a lot of credit for that. Congratulations and certainly good luck to them.
Q. Do you feel you left everything out there tonight?
COACH BYLSMA: I think for the last eight periods of hockey, everything was left out there. Game3 was as hard‑fought and competitive for territory and turf as any game I’ve been a part of. This one was much like that. Our guys left it all out there. Our guys played extremely hard. We didn’t come up with that goal, either in Game3 or Game4. You have to give the Bruins a ton of credit for that and the way they played and battled, as well.
Q. You mentioned how impressed you were with Tuukka Rask. Is there a coming out party for him? Up until this series, he has played well, but not really mentioned in the top goalie. Your thoughts on that.
COACH BYLSMA: There’s no question that the performance he put in in this series was elite. He was the difference in the series, there is no question. It’s not like we didn’t have good opportunities and good scoring chances. We had good looks at the net. We had good opportunities, even in Game1, had 12 scoring chances in the first period. He was the difference in that game. We weren’t able to get on the board, get in a lead at any time in the series. Again, Game3′s performance, he was a 50‑plus A performance, outstanding, spectacular in a lot of his saves. Again tonight he was up to the task. No question about this being his best performance.
Q. (unintelligible.) COACH BYLSMA: I don’t. I share your disbelief that’s a possible storyline in this series. You know, at times, even going down to maybe the last play at net by Malkin, when he had the empty net, it felt like something was keeping the puck out of the net. It certainly wasn’t lack of opportunity or scoring chances or situations for our team, for our players, for our power play. We did have them. And at the end it felt like not only Tuukka Rask was keeping the puck out of the net, but there was a force around the net because we had some great opportunities, good situations for our team, our players, and were not able to find any kind of goal in this series, and never a lead.
Q. Is there anything that you look at in this series as a moment that you could have done something differently to put it in a different direction, whether shaking things up on the power play, anything to find a spark, or was it just not meant to be?
COACH BYLSMA: We didn’t do the job. We didn’t come up with those situations in any of the games. Now I’ll look at some of those situations. When it comes to the power play, more than half our power plays had different people on it for a variety of reasons. But, you know, we didn’t get our top unit together for more than half of them because of penalties or other situations during the course of the game. We didn’t have the continuity on our power play, get that goal, win the special teams that would have been the difference in one of these games. Certainly a goal in 3 and 4 would have been a different factor for us, if we were able to get that. We weren’t able to do that, so…
Q. Dan, they all hurt, but does this one hurt a little more given the fact that you loaded up at the deadline and were seen by many as a team that was built to win a Stanley Cup or at least, at the very least, compete for a Stanley Cup? Jarome Iginla said he felt he struggled in this series. I’m wondering what your assessment is.
COACH BYLSMA: Our team is a team that considers itself a team capable of winning a Stanley Cup, put together to win a Stanley Cup. That’s our expectation from day one. That’s how we build through the season. We certainly feel that we were a team that was capable of winning a Stanley Cup. So, you know, coming up short from that, no question, it’s disappointing. No question, you feel like with the expectations that we have on ourselves, that the team has for this group, no question you’re going to look at this as a missed opportunity. Your second question about Jarome. You know, I don’t think there’s a player in there that’s going to feel that they didn’t struggle at a certain part of our game, with the looks at the net, scoring opportunities. Evgeni Malkin shot the puck over and over and over again, had great scoring chances. He’s going to have felt he missed an opportunity and didn’t get the goals we needed, five‑on‑five or the power play. You can say that about Jarome, you can say that about a lot of guys on our team, the missed opportunity that we left out there.
Q. Could you speak to the performance by your goaltender. You showed faith putting him back in there in that situation. He gave you guys every opportunity the last two games to win.
COACH BYLSMA: Tomas, I thought, was two goals short of brilliant, two goals short of Tuukka Rask in these two games. He was great. Not as many saves as Rask in Game3, but he was equally up to the task, and he was again tonight. I thought he played outstanding. It was dueling goaltenders there for a lot for games 3 and 4. Thank you.