Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Final: Penguins vs. Bruins – Game 1

After what seemed like an eternity but in reality was only 8 days, the Penguins returned to the ice of the Consol Energy Center to take on the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final. Unfortunately, for Penguins fans, the night didn’t go as planned as the Bruins took game one 3 to 0. If nothing, the game proved to show that this series is going to be a long one.


The Penguins came out fast and furious, controlling a lot of the play and earning a couple good opportunities early on if not for the posts behind Tuuka Rask. Four minutes into the period, Evgeni Malkin drew the first penalty of the game when David Krejci was whistled for a trip. While the Penguins power play applied the pressure, Pittsburgh couldn’t capitalize even though it appeared Rask was having a hard time tracking the puck. Just past the half way mark of the first, the Bruins got on the board first, the goal credit to Krejci despite the fact that it deflected off of Paul Martin, who was sprawling in front of the net, and into the netting behind Tomas Vokoun.  The Bruins earned their first penalty when Sidney Crosby was whistled for interference but were held without a shot. Both teams exchanged one more penalty before the horn sounded on the first, Patrice Bergeron being whistled for a slash on Malkin while Brooks Orpik was called for interference against Chris Kelly.  The Penguins held a 12 to 7 advantage in shots over the Bruins through the first twenty.


A minute and a half into the second period, Matt Cooke’s night ended when a hit from behind to Boston’s Adam McQuaid resulted in a five minute major and a game misconduct, leaving the Penguins bench down a man and a penalty killer. McQuaid left the game but returned shortly thereafter, apparently no worse for wear. Chris Kelly would also sit for two minutes with a matching roughing call. Both teams would weather the storm, the game remaining 1 to 0 in favour of Boston halfway through the second. Before the horn sounded on the second period, Dan Bylsma would use his time our and Brad Marchand would hit James Neal, from behind, into the boards, earning two minutes for his trouble. This meant Pittsburgh would start the third with the man advantage. However, at the end of the period, Malkin and Bergeron dropped the gloves, Malkin winning the draw. It resulted in fighting majors for both while Chris Kunitz and Rich Peverely were each given two for unsportsmanlike.


Both teams emerged from their respective penalty kills unscathed, but Krejci’s second of the night four minutes into the period gave Boston a 2 to 0 lead. Nathan Horton made it 3 to 0 less than half way through the period. Pittsburgh lost track of him at the side of the net and he had nothing but open net to work with. With 1:50 left in the game, Crosby was whistled for a slash. Boston was unable to capitalize, having to settle for a 3 to 0 victory.


Kris Letang led all skaters with 25:34 of ice time while Sidney Crosby followed with 24:21. Evgeni Malkin recorded 5 shots on goal while James Neal had 4. Tomas Vokoun faced 30 shots while Tuuka Rask faced 29. Matt Cooke will not face supplemental discipline for his hit on McQuaid.


Game 2 goes Monday night in Pittsburgh. Game time is 8:00pm.