Boston Bruins Gamenight: Krejci, Rask spectacular as Bruins punk Penguins


The Pittsburgh Penguins are bigger and faster than the Boston Bruins, and right from the opening faceoff in the opener for their best of seven Eastern Conference Finals series, the Penguins used these advantages to establish a physical presence.

Unfortunately for them, they didn’t establish any pucks in the net and lost the first game of the series to the Bruins by a score of 3-0…

…and they lost at home.  Pittsburgh beat the snot out of the Bruins in the first two periods, outhitting them two to one.  The Penguins outshot Boston.  They forced their will upon the Bruins and punched them in the mouth and elsewhere, yet the Bruins just smiled and kept coming at them.

And when David Krejci scored his second goal of the night four minutes into the final frame, one could actually see the Penguins deflate, then they completely fell apart after Nathan Horton snapped in the final tally from the bottom of the left circle three minutes later – looking overwhelmed and so lost that players collided several times as if they didn’t know where to be or what to do.

Nevermind the home loss.  It is, after all, just one game.  The real question is what manner of damage has been done to the Penguins’ collective psyche, knowing that they threw everything they had at the Bruins and couldn’t dent them…much of the reason being stellar fundamental defense and an absolutely sensational performance by Boston netminder Tuukka Rask.

So frustrated were the Penguins that they steadily lost their composure until their anger boiled over -and the end of the second period disintegrated into a series of cheap shots and school yard shoving matches…

…including Penguins’ Captain Sidney Crosby, who was reduced to running around the ice looking to pick a fight with anyone, apparently, and ended up going after Rask, which didn’t sit well with Bruins’ peer Zdeno Chara who had words for Crosby – the smaller Crosby inadvisably shoving the huge Chara, then thinking better of it when he really got a good look at what he was about to mix it up with – with a timely assist from the referee.

All of this while going almost unnoticed, Patrice Bergeron answered the bell against Evgeni Malkin in a fight that was mostly grabbing and holding, Bergeron’s head disappearing into his sweater – but Bergeron’s head reappeared, Crosby and Malkin were escorted to the locker room and Chara walked away laughing…

…and twenty minutes later the Bruins retreated to their hotel with a 1-0 series lead.

The top line provided all the scoring the Bruins would need – and then some – with Krejci scoring the first two goals of the game and Horton adding the cherry on top, but it was the defense that won this game.

Phenominal stick work, brutal backcheck and the wall in net that was Rask, who stopped all 29 shots he faced, some sprawling on the ice.

So the Bruins have already achieved at least a split in Pittsburgh, and can take control of the series with a win at Consol Energy Arena on Monday night – and for certain the Penguins come out with everything they have and try to impose their will on the Bruins…

…but it’s the team that scores the most goals that wins the games, no matter how badly you beat them up, so maybe the Penguins should worry less about ego and perception and more about playing hockey, because right now the Bruins are doing to them what the Penguins wanted to do to Boston, frustrate them and force them into fundamental mistakes.

Make no mistake, the Penguins got punked by a blue collar, focused Bruins’ team that played it the way Crosby and company wanted it, and beat them at their own game – then poured it on and took Pittsburgh’s home ice advantage away from them.

And if the Penguins can’t wrap their brains around what just happened to them – and own it – if they don’t concentrate on playing their game better than Boston plays it, this series won’t last very long…