The Penguins were favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but they were upended twice in their own building, and that they were beaten twice is just part of the story. They were humiliated, shutout in Game 1 and demolished 6-1 in Game 2. Pittsburgh looked nothing like the team that most pegged to win the Cup. Instead, it looked like roadkill for the Bruins, who are chasing their second Stanley Cup in three years.
David Krejci has continued his phenomenal postseason run with three goals in the first two games to push his point total to a playoffs-best 20. But teammate Nathan Horton is right behind him with 17 points, as the Bruins continue to get production from their experienced top-line guys to punish the Penguins. And with Tuukka Rask also in fine form, having saved 55 of 56 shots in the series, the Bruins look nearly unbeatable.
Pittsburgh will have to hope that Boston is indeed beatable, but the Penguins will also have to play better. They have to sort out who starts in goal because neither Tomas Vokoun nor Marc-Andre Fleury has done much to inspire confidence, and their formerly high-powered offense has to get it together or they will find themselves down 3-0 in the series and on the brink of elimination.
Will the Penguins' offense wake up?
The Penguins were the NHL's top-scoring team in the regular season and were averaging more than four goals per game in the first two rounds of the playoffs. While there may be questions in goal, the offense was supposed to be the one thing the Penguins could count on. That hasn't been the case: through two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Pittsburgh has just one goal. They have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Pascal Dupuis, Jarome Iginla, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz, so there's no reason the Penguins shouldn't score goals. But they need to go out and do it because thus far in the series, they haven't.
Can the Bruins keep thriving in Boston?
The Bruins were excellent at home this season, going 16-5-3, and they've backed it up with a 5-2 home mark in the playoffs. TD Garden and the rowdy Boston crowd has treated the Bruins well, and if they can keep their fine home play going in Game 3, they will have Pittsburgh staring at a playoff exit.
Who will win the face-off battle?
The Bruins were the NHL's best face-off team in the regular season, and they've continued that trend in the playoffs. Whenever they are in trouble, they are able to freeze the puck, win a draw and stabilize things. They did that expertly in Game 1 when they won 67 percent of draws, and while face-offs were nearly even in Game 2, the Penguins are going to have to make sure they can win the majority of draws in Game 3 so they can keep Boston on its heels when they get a little pressure.
Eastern Conference Final, Game 3
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins
Location: TD Garden, Boston
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Network
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra.