Yohe: Iginla adamant series isn't over
Jarome Iginla didn't choose Pittsburgh over Boston for this.
He isn't conceding anything to the Bruins, either.
Iginla, in his characteristically quiet but firm way, made it clear the Penguins aren't resigned to their fate against suddenly daunting odds as the Eastern Conference final shifts to Boston.
“There is no one in this room who feels that we can't do this,” Iginla said before the Penguins departed Consol Energy Center on Tuesday. “No one. And it starts with Game 3. This isn't over.”
Iginla, seemingly giddy since joining the Penguins in a March blockbuster, was understandably subdued following Tuesday's practice.
But, for the first time since joining the Penguins, there was defiance in his tone. Iginla has never won a Stanley Cup, and, at 35, has only so many chances remaining.
He has been a quiet leader since joining the Penguins, deferring to captain Sidney Crosby and other Stanley Cup-winning veterans during his 10 weeks wearing black and gold.
Will he remain quiet if he feels something should be said before Game 3?
“Oh, no,” Iginla said. “No, no, no. Not at all. We are beyond that now. We've all played a couple of months together now. We've had success, and we've had stretches where things haven't gone well. We have to get our game back.”
Iginla was acquired by general manager Ray Shero not just because of his Hall-of-Fame goal statistics but because he has long been acclaimed as one of hockey's finest leaders.
The veteran has been down in many series and is confident he knows the route to redemption for these Penguins.
Focusing on Game 3 and nothing else — that includes forgetting about what happened in the first two games against Boston — is paramount, in Iginla's opinion.
“That's exactly the case,” Iginla said. “Especially in the postseason, momentum really is a big deal. We don't have it right now, but we just need to find that one spark, whatever it is, that can get us going.”
The Penguins realize their entire season is riding on Game 3 in Boston. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit, and though the Bruins blew such a lead against Philadelphia in 2010, the Penguins know a loss in Game 3 effectively ends their season.
It also would perhaps end Iginla's final legitimate opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.
That's why, if something needs to be said, he'll say it. And if a big goal needs to be scored, he intends on scoring it.
To Iginla, Game 3 is everything.
“This isn't about the big picture,” he said. “It's about right now, Game 3.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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