PITTSBURGH – Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins with Boston holding a 1-0 lead at the CONSOL Energy Center after the first 20 minutes.
1) Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are getting their chances in the first period. Crosby missed on a couple of rebound chances early in the period, and Malkin narrowly missed right at the end of the first on a rebound chance off a long rebound of a Matt Niskanen shot that rocked off the end boards. The puck hit Tuukka Rask’s glove and then slid through the crease, and past the post out of harms way. Four shots on net for those two forwards in the first period.
2) Pittsburgh Penguins coming out with a lot of physicality in the first period. Pascal Dupuis caught Zdeno Chara up high with a stick in the opening minutes, and Kris Letang rocked Brad Marchand with a hit in the neutral zone. The Penguins outhit the Bruins 15-8 in the first period, and looked like they were trying to make a statement against the Big Bad hockey club on the block.
3) Sixth goal and 18th point of the postseason for David Krejci, who rifled a shot from the slot off a nice dish from Nathan Horton on the wing. It went through a diving Paul Martin, and then trickled between the five hole of Tomas Vokoun after the Pittsburgh defenseman caught a piece of it. Shaky goal allowed by the Pittsburgh goaltender, but he redeemed himself later with a pair of good saves on a Jaromir Jagr rush to the net.
4) Four of Boston’s seven shots in the first period from Marchand and Jagr. They need much, much more out of everybody else. The Bruins are certainly happy to be holding a lead after the first 20 minutes, but Pittsburgh outplayed them for most of the first period.
5) The power play was brutal in the first period. One shot on net in two possession, and Zdeno Chara, in particular, looked really sluggish and in no particular hurry to take the puck up the ice. It was a marked contrast from the man advantage that 4-for-12 in the second round vs. the Rangers, and it will need to be much better as it seems the refs are being generous with the hand-raising and penalty-calling here in the first period.
PITTSBURGH – Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins with Boston holding a 1-0 lead at the CONSOL Energy Center after the first 40 minutes.
1) Matt Cooke with his first dastardly act of the series hitting Adam McQuaid from behind when he clearly saw numbers. Yes, McQuaid turned in the last few seconds knowing pressure was coming, but Cooke has to know he’ll get the book thrown at him there. A five minute major and a game ejection for Cooke with his team already losing. A gutless, predatory play from Cooke, and a stupid play that hurt his team.
2) Penguins have hit three or four posts in this game, and had near misses on a number of other occasions. Malkin with five shots on net and a bevy of good offensive chances.
3) Patrice Bergeron and Evgeni Malkin drop the gloves at the end of the second period in a nasty, nasty fight instigated by Malkin, who threw the first punch. The Penguins center got on top of Bergeron and continued to throw punches at No. 37 when they were both on the ice. Bergeron left the ice with blood all over his Bruins sweater, and both players were tagged with fighting majors. Dumb, dumb play by Malkin when he’s been a dominant force in this game, and risky play by a guy with head injuries like Bergeron. He did look okay as he skated off the ice to the bench at the end of the period.
4) Brad Marchand has been active tonight, but has made a couple of mistakes. He threw a pick on Pascal Dupuis on a Patrice Bergeron shorthanded breakaway that easily could have been called interference, and then boarded James Neal in front of the Pittsburgh bench in a play that will give the Penguins 90 seconds of PP time on a fresh sheet of ice.
5) Sidney Crosby with the weak sauce move of the playoffs. He went after Tuukka Rask with an elbow to the midsection, and then threw a crosscheck at him for good measure while chirping. Then No. 87 went hiding behind the refs and teammates when Zdeno Chara came calling for him. Sid the Kid needs to fight his own battles if he’s going to try to pull that stuff.