Apart from result, Penguins feel they bounced back after Game 2

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"You definitely see what you're made of in these types of situations, these types of scenarios."

-- Sidney Crosby

"We're going to find out exactly an awful lot about our mindset, our team coming out here in this game."

-- Dan Bylsma

BOSTON -- The Penguins were hoping for some recognizable emotion Wednesday night. What they couldn't know going into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final was how taxing it would be, how drained they would feel.

When it finally ended at 12:13 a.m. today, the Penguins knew they had gotten the answers they wanted to questions they had posed roughly 12 hours earlier, and they were largely the right answers.

And yet the result didn't match.

"I think we responded pretty well," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said in a locker room of exhausted players at TD Garden after a 2-1 loss in double overtime against the Boston Bruins.

It left them in a deep hole, trailing, 3-0, in the series, one loss from elimination from these playoffs.

That's a tough spot for any team, but the Penguins' angst stretched back to Monday night, when they fell apart on many levels in a 6-1 loss in Game 2.

That's what had them promising to show the world their real selves in Game 3.

"It was a very good response from our team," coach Dan Bylsma said after the game that ended almost exactly four hours after it began.

"We did a lot of things to get opportunities to win the hockey game. ... We did everything but get the game-winning goal."

That came from Patrice Bergeron at 15:19 of the second overtime, or after more than 95 minutes of hockey.

It took defenseman Brooks Orpik a few minutes to digest the juxtaposition of a strong comeback game and yet a devastating loss.

"You feel better about yourself," Orpik said. "You never feel good after a loss."

The Penguins came into the game not only trailing, 2-0, in the series but also outmatched, with each of the first two games coming at home. They had been outscored, 9-1, and were 0 for 6 on the power play.

In Game 1, they agreed, they played a decent game, got scoring chances but were thwarted by Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask in a 3-1 loss.

Game 2 was another matter. The Penguins readily offered that they handed over that game, 6-1.

"Unfortunately, we're comparing [this game to] Game 2," Crosby said. "We can't get that one back. We gave that one to them, so to speak.

"That Game 2, nobody liked the way that turned out and what happened there. I thought we responded well and did everything we could have besides get that last one.

"I thought we were pretty solid all the way through."

Boston got a goal from David Krejci just 1:42 into the first period. The Penguins tied it on Chris Kunitz's goal at 8:51 of the second period.

By the time Bergeron decided it, the Penguins had fired 54 shots at Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, had punished Boston with 46 hits and had won the faceoff battle for the first time in the series, a 57 percent clip. They hit the post several times. They were 0 for 6 on the power play but generated several scoring opportunities with the man-advantage.

"You want to feel good about yourself because we played a better game than we did before, but at the end of the day, we don't get the result," defenseman Kris Letang said. "We have to find a way to get the result right now. It's not about playing well. It's about winning games.

"We should get some rest, and I think we should play the same way."

For Game 4, the Penguins want an equal response, but a different result. Only a win will extend the series to a Game 5 Sunday at Consol Energy Center.

"We did a lot better job [in Game 3], but that doesn't guarantee anything," Crosby said. "We do a lot of these same things, and I think we all trust and believe we can get this thing back to Pittsburgh."

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For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published June 6, 2013 5:45 AM


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