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Yohe: History says Penguins need victory in Game 2

| Sunday, June 2, 2013, 11:31 p.m.

The Penguins suddenly find themselves in unfamiliar territory.

Winning Game 1 of a series at home has been almost automatic for the Penguins during the Sidney Crosby era. Their path to winning series frequently has been marked by starting fast at home.

The Bruins decided to write a different script Saturday, shutting down the Penguins in Game 1 and making Monday's Game 2 close to a must-win for the Penguins.

Recent Penguins history says Game 2 is extremely important.

Consider that the Penguins have been down, 1-0, while facing a Game 2 at home only twice in the Crosby era. In 2010, they lost the opener to Ottawa but won Game 2, and ultimately the series, in six games.

Last season, the Penguins lost Game 1 at home against the Flyers and followed that up with an 8-5 loss in Game 2. They never recovered, losing the series in six games.

Only one time in Penguins history — the opening round of the 1996 playoffs against Washington — did they drop the first two games at home but come back to win the series.

In other words, Game 2 against the Bruins looms large. It sounds like a lot of pressure, but the Penguins were surprisingly upbeat in the moments following Game 1, exuding a feeling that Boston's 3-0 victory wasn't as dominant as the score suggests.

“I think we're fine,” left wing Jarome Iginla said. “We just need to stay focused and get ready for Game 2.”

Game 2 historically is the contest that presents the most strategic changes. Each coach has been able to gauge what happened in the series opener and react accordingly.

Boston coach Claude Julien, pleased with his team's 3-0 win, said many facets of the Bruins' game need to improve for them to earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Penguins, naturally, feel the same about their performance in Game 1. But they're hardly rattled.

More than the Xs and Os, the Penguins believe maintaining their poise will be the key to a series victory.

Coach Dan Bylsma had a sense of confidence about him Sunday. He shook off the suggestion that the Penguins' collective loss of temper in Game 1 was similar to their meltdowns last season against the Flyers.

Instead, Bylsma said it reminded him of Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins, of course, kept their cool in Games 6 and 7 that spring, winning the Stanley Cup.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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