Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins after a brutal opening 20 minutes with Boston down 2-1 to the Pens at TD Garden.
1) Shawn Thornton is going to get suspended for a long, long time. He saw a couple of borderline and dirty hits, and then snapped by going after Brooks Orpik during a stoppage in play. He executed a slewfoot to knock Orpik to the ice, and then punched Orpik down on the ice until he knocked him out. Thornton has been such an honorable enforcer adhering to “The Code”, but there was no excuse for his actions even if he was doing the right thing standing up for his teammates. He was given a match penalty and is facing a suspension pending a hearing with the league.
2) James Neal should probably be facing a suspension as well for kneeing Brad Marchand when he was already down on the ice after getting tossed down by Sidney Crosby. Dirty, dirty hit that directly precipitated the Thornton incident with Orpik at the other end of the ice.
3) Loui Eriksson rocked by Orpik on the first shift of the game with the puck nowhere close to the Swedish forward, and won’t return to the game. He skated off on his own power, but you have to assume he has another concussion from a gigantic hit from the Pittsburgh defenseman. Thornton chased after Orpik challenging him to a fight later in the period, but the Pittsburgh defenseman refused until the ugly incident.
4) You hope Orpik is okay after getting taken out on a stretcher. He was conscious, but looked very dazed when he was wheeled off the ice. Unfortunately he plays on the edge without a willingness to drop the gloves, and that can be a magnet for increased physical punishment in the NHL. Still no excuse for Thornton’s actions however.
5) Reilly Smith with a pretty goal for the Bruins, the only real positive for them in the entire opening 20 minutes in which Pittsburgh took them completely out of their game.
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins after a brutal opening 40 minutes with Boston down 2-1 to the Pens at TD Garden.
1) Four blocked shots for Kris Letang in the first two periods. When did he get some grit to his game?
2) James Neal has been a killer against the Bruins this season. Scored a pair of goals in the last game here at TD Garden, and has the go-ahead goal in this one after jumping out of the penalty box.
3) Six hits for Zach Sill, who has been active in the physicality department throughout the game. It really looks like the Penguins came into the game intent on leaving a statement in their last regular season game against the Bruins prior to the playoffs.
4) Chris Kelly has only played 7:57 of ice time through two periods, but I’ve liked his game. He’s been physically involved from the very beginning, and very much into the game.
5) You have to think Ryan Spooner and Bobby Robins might be on their way up from Providence given that Loui Eriksson and Shawn Thornton will probably be out for a while.