The Boston Bruins not only shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0, but they completely shut down the team and all their strengths in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take a 1-0 series lead.
Pittsburgh played like a deer in the headlights the entire game. Despite having a superior offense, they could not penetrate the Boston defense and put the pack past goalie Tuukka Rask. David Krejci scored his first goal at 8:23 in the first period to put Boston up 1-0. The goal definitely bothered Pittsburgh because it only got worse for them.
The second period started with a bang. Literally. Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke boarded Adam McQuaid and received a 5:00 major boarding penalty and a game misconduct. Cooke is known as a dirty player, but two years ago he vowed to clean up his act. Twitter immediately exploded and sports reporters were split on the misconduct call. It is uncertain if Cooke will receive a suspension for the hit.
The penalty deflated Pittsburgh and gave Boston more confidence. There was no scoring in the second period, but there were plenty of hits and fights. Boston’s Brad Marchand hit James Neal in almost the same fashion as the Cooke/McQuaid debacle. Marchand only got a 2:00 minor boarding penalty. It caused Pittsburgh to flare up and twenty seconds later Rich Peverley and Chris Kunitz were given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Five seconds later the horn blew, but the action did not stop. Pittsburgh’s star Sidney Crosby and Boston’s Zdeno Chara had a skirmish around Rusk and moved it to center ice. Then, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron decided to fight with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. Both players took it to the ice and were given fighting penalties. After that fiasco, as he was skating away, Crosby had a few words with Rusk too. Crosby then got into it again with Chara while discussing the penalties with the referees.
Pittsburgh stayed in the locker room for the third period while Boston came out with more energy. Krejci scored his second goal at 4:04 and Nathan Horton scored a goal at 7:51. Boston kept playing like every second mattered while Pittsburgh gave up. Crosby, out of complete frustration, had a slashing penalty at 18:10. It was symbolic of Pittsburgh’s disastrous series opener.
Game 2 is Monday night at 8PM ET on NBC Sports Network.