Bruins Shutout Penguins 3-0, Take Game One
I can honestly sit here and tell you that I was not expecting the Bruins to come out and shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens came out in the first 10 minutes of game one with some serious energy, but Boston was able to weather the storm and get themselves back on track. The first period was too open for either team’s coaches to be pleased. Two on one’s, and three on two’s plagued the early going of the first until a fortuitous bounce found David Krejci in the slot. He fired a hesitant shot off of the diving Paul Martin’s legs, and the goal slipped through Tomas Vokoun’s five hole.
Krejci’s goal was a perfect example of how the Bruins are going to need to play to beat Pittsburgh. The Pens are going to get their chances, they will get their goals, but if Boston can hold on, they will get their own chances. Tonight the B’s did an excellent job of cashing in on those chances.
There were three Bruins who stole the show tonight for Boston. One of which has already been mentioned in David Krejci, who at this point in time leads the NHL in playoff points with 7 goals (tied for first), 12 assists, and a +11. The quiet center scored the game winner in game one, and added the B’s second goal on the night after following his own rebound and knocking it past Vokoun.
Assisting on both of Krejci’s goals was Nathan Horton who would add his own goal to finish off the Pens. Horton now has 6 goals, 9 assists, and an incredible +17 so far in the postseason. I have to admit that I suggested earlier in the season that perhaps it was time for the Bruins to move on past Horton, and let him walk via free agency. I am also not above admitting I was wrong. Horton, like Krejci, has quietly had an outstanding postseason. His performance has been so great that I wonder if the Bruins will look to resign him in the offseason. There is nothing I love more than a player like Horton using the playoffs to erase a remarkably weak regular season. Horton now has 14 goals, 18 assists, and a +28 in 34 career playoff games. The guy is clutch like you read about.
And last, but certainly not least; I would like to talk about how incredible Tuukka Rask was tonight. I would like to think that Rask has finally moved out of Tim Thomas’ shadow. He has improved with every game played so far in the playoffs for Boston, and it seems as if he is finally getting the respect he deserves. Rask stopped all of Pittsburgh’s 29 shots in the game (with a little help from his friend the post), and earned his first career playoff shutout. All three of these guys took home the top 3 players of the game honors.
The Penguins didn’t fair to well in this one… says captain obvious. Sidney Crosby was a -2 on the night, and he only really factored into the game during a period ending scrum in which he challenged Zdeno Chara whilst being hidden firmly behind a referee. Evgeni Malkin may have gotten the better of Patrice Bergeron in a fight (if you can really call it that), but he too was a -2 on the night, as well as his linemates Jarome Iginla and James Neal. Kris Letang was also a -2 which means every single one of the Penguins “big guns” had a negative rating.
The Bruins continued their face-off dominance in the post season as David Krejci won 83% of his draws, Patrice Bergeron won 62%, Chris Kelly won 75%, Rich Peverley won 60%, Tyler Seguin won 67%, and Shawn Thornton won 100% (he won one draw against Crosby). Evgeni Malkin won only 17% of his draws, and Sidney Crosby won 35%. Boston also proved yet again, that they are one of the best 5-on-5 teams in the NHL. The outshout the Pens 23 to 19 in even strength play. The Penguins big shot advantage came on special teams with 9 shots on the powerplay, and one shorthanded chance.
The Bruins were able to stay disciplined last night for the most part except a selfish boarding penalty from Brad Marchand. Whether or not it was in retaliation to Matt Cooke’s wreckless boarding major on Adam McQuaid is irrelevant. Marchand should have stayed focused, and built upon the momentum the team had gathered, as opposed to pissing it was by giving the Pens a chance to flex their PP muscles.
All in all, the Boston Bruins played a terrific away game. Most importantly, they got themselves a game one victory against a team many believe to be the Stanley Cup favorites.
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