GAME 1: BRUINS vs. PENGUINS
10:54 p.m. - Third Period Snapshots: BOS 3, PIT 0
BRUINS WIN GAME 1, RASK PITCHES SHUTOUT: The Pittsburgh Penguins entered tonight’s Game 1 at a historic pace, having averaged more than four goals per game in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Tonight, however, Tuukka Rask shut the Pens down with a slew of spectacular saves. En route to his first career playoff shutout, Rask turned away 29 shots. David Krejci and Nathan Horton lifted Boston offensively. Krejci added onto his league-leading playoff point total by scoring a pair of goals, while Nathan Horton contributed a goal and two assists. The Bruins take a 1-0 series lead, and will take on the Penguins in Game 2 on Monday night.
BERGERON, KELLY, KREJCI DOMINATING FACEOFFS: The Bruins’ faceoff success hasn’t subsided since the second period. Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly have combined to win 19 of 28 faceoffs, while David Krejci has won four of five. In total, the B’s have won 30 of 45 draws, a 67 percent success rate.
HORTON EXTENDS B’S LEAD: Just fewer than four minutes after David Krejci gave the Bruins an insurance goal, Nathan Horton gave them even more breathing room. Milan Lucic put a wrist shot on net from Tomas Vokoun’s blocker-side. Vokoun couldn’t control the rebound, which slid directly to Nathan Horton, who whipped it into the net. Horton now has one goal and two assists tonight. Lucic and Gregory Campbell both recorded assists on the goal.
KREJCI GETS HIS SECOND: David Krejci entered tonight’s game leading the NHL in postseason points, and he has brought his hot hand to Pittsburgh. The Bruins forward netted his second goal of the night at the 4:04 mark. Nathan Horton fed Krejci from the half-wall, and Krejci then drove a slapshot on net that deflected high above Tomas Vokoun. Krejci continued driving to the net and managed to force the puck into the back of the net. He now has seven goals this postseason, and Boston leads 2-0 with six minutes gone in the third frame.
BRUINS KILL PENS’ PENALTY: The Penguins carried 1:30 of power play time over from the second period, but failed to capitalize on a man advantage for the fifth time tonight. Brenden Morrow nearly chipped one past Tuukka Rask, and Sidney Crosby put a nifty backhander on net that was denied as well. Boston and Pittsburgh are a combined 0-for-10 on the power play tonight.
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10:14 p.m. - Second Period Snapshots: BOS 1, PIT 0
BERGERON AND MALKIN DROP THE GLOVES: Things got chippy between the B’s and Pens after the end of the second period. Chris Kunitz and Rich Peverley were both called for unsportsmanlike conduct with five seconds left, and once the buzzer rang, several players got tied up at center ice. Sidney Crosby and Zdeno Chara exchanged words, and then Patrice Bergeron and Evgeni Malkin got into a shouting match of their own. Moments later, the two traded punches and then dropped the gloves. Bergeron and Malkin quickly fell to the ice, but they continued going at it even as the referees tried to break the brawl up. Both will serve five minute fighting majors to begin the third period. The last time Bergeron fought was against Josh Gorges of the Montreal Canadiens on April 18, 2009.
MARCHAND CALLED FOR BOARDING: Brad Marchand was handed the Bruins’ fourth penalty of the night after he checked James Neal into the boards at the Penguins blue line. Pittsburgh’s power play unit wasted no time in putting the Bruins on their heels, but Tuukka Rask continued his fine performance by denying Kris Letang from the point and the ensuing rebound with a diving stick save. Rask also denied a James Neal wrist shot. The Penguins will have 1:30 of power play to start the third period.
BRUINS DOMINATING FACEOFF CIRCLE: The Bruins ended the 2013 regular season as the NHL’s most proficient faceoff team, and they’re putting that prowess on display tonight. With the second period drawing to an end, Boston holds a 23-10 edge in faceoffs. Patrice Bergeron, who ended the season leading the league in faceoff percentage, has won 10 of the 14 draws he has taken tonight. Chris Kelly, meanwhile, has won six of nine, and Tyler Seguin has won two of three.
HORTON SENT FOR SLASHING: Nathan Horton was sent to the penalty box for slashing at 11:04, putting the Bruins’ PK out for the third time tonight. The Penguins potent power play generated one of the team’s best scoring chances of the game when Chris Kunitz banked a rebound shot off of the post. After that, the Bruins’ PK took over and even generated a chance of its own. Patrice Bergeron created an uncontested breakaway scoring chance. He tried to take the puck to his forehand and tuck it behind Tomas Vokoun’s left leg pad, but the Pens’ net minder delivered a clutch poke check and ultimately denied Bergeron. Both teams are now 0-for-3 on the power play tonight.
PENGUINS PLAYING PHYSICAL: The Bruins and Penguins are billed as teams with contrasting styles. Boston, of course, has garnered a reputation as a relentlessly physical team, but Pittsburgh is winning the hits battle on the stat sheet. Midway through the second period, the Pens are outhitting the B’s 21-11.
COOKE GETS A MAJOR: Matt Cooke was handed a five-minute major for checking from behind after putting Adam McQuaid into the boards at the 1:32 mark. Chris Kelly was also given a two-minute major for roughing, which set up two minutes of four-on-four and three ensuing minutes of a Bruins power play. Boston generated a few good looks during the three-minute power play, including a one-timer chance from David Krejci. The B’s and Pens have already combined for five penalties, but neither team has managed to capitalize.
9:04 p.m. - First Period Snapshots: BOS 1, PIT 0
RASK COMES UP BIG: The Penguins had no shortage of scoring chances in the first frame, but Tuukka Rask refused to be beat. His biggest save of the period came with just seconds remaining, when Evgeni Malkin chipped a backhander on net right at the doorstep of the crease. The puck slid over Rask’s backside as he sprawled out and it just barely missed trickling behind the goal line. Instead, the Bruins escape the first period with a 1-0 lead.
BRUINS BACK ON THE PP: Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik put the Bruins on the power play for the second time tonight after he was called for interference on Chris Kelly at the 16:57 mark. The Bruins struggled to generate chances against a Pittsburgh PK that has surrendered only four power play goals this postseason. David Krejci and Nathan Horton both got shots on net, but neither managed to best Tomas Vokoun.
BERGERON CALLED FOR HOOKING: Roughly three minutes after the Penguins killed off Sidney Crosby’s penalty, they went on to their second power play of the night. Patrice Bergeron was sent to the sin bin for hooking after he got tangled up with Evgeni Malkin during a Penguins breakout. Despite losing one of their best faceoff specialists and penalty killers, the Bruins penalty kill came up big again. Pittsburgh maintained control in the Bruins’ zone for nearly an entire minute, but struggled to reestablish anything after Boston broke that possession up and cleared the puck. The Penguins’ top-ranked power play is now 0-for-2 tonight.
BRUINS GO ON THE POWER PLAY: At the 9:22 mark, Sidney Crosby was sent to the penalty box for interference, putting the Bruins on the power play for the first time tonight. Boston was able to sustain pressure and control early on, but Pittsburgh’s third-ranked penalty kill eventually managed to prevent the Bruins from generating chances. The Bruins’ power play is now 7-for-33 this postseason.
KREJCI PUT B’S ON THE BOARD: For the first eight minutes of the first period, the Penguins were putting pressure on the Bruins, outshooting them 6-2. But at the 8:23 mark, it was the Bruins who struck first. Andrew Ference led a Bruins breakout into the offensive zone, where he fed Milan Lucic at the point. Lucic found a wide-open David Krejci in the slot, and the NHL’s leading postseason scorer fired a slapshot through Tomas Vokoun’s five-hole. Krejci now has 18 points (leads the NHL) and six goals for the playoffs.
KREJCI GOES FOR TRIPPING: The Bruins’ penalty kill hit the ice for the first time tonight just 3:54 into the first period after David Krejci tripped up Evgeni Malkin while battling for a puck. With Krejci boxed, the Penguins’ top-ranked power play unit got a chance to get on the board, but Tuukka Rask wouldn’t allow it. Rask denied Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby—who had a point-blank look from the slot—and the B’s PK did the rest. Boston won three of four faceoffs during Pittsburgh’s man advantage.
7:41 p.m. - Pregame Snapshots: BOS vs. PIT
STARTING GOALTENDERS: Rask (8-4, 2.22 GAA, .928 Save %) vs. Vokoun (6-1-1, 1.85 GAA, .941 Save %). Rask has a 15-10 record with a 2.42 GAA and .920 Save % in 25 career postseason games. Vokoun has a 9-9 record with a 2.22 GAA and .930 Save % with two shutouts in 18 career postseason games.
BRUINS VS PENGUINS LIFETIME: The Bruins and Penguins have played 19 postseason games with Pittsburgh holding a 10-9 edge along with a 67-62 scoring advantage. The Bruins have a 6-4 lifetime postseason record vs. the Penguins in Boston and a 3-6 record in Pittsburgh. This is the fifth time these teams will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals with the Bruins having won the first two series (1979, 1980) and the Penguins winning the last two (1991, 1992). Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup after defeating Boston in both 1991 and 1992. The Penguins have won their last eight postseason games versus the Bruins.
KREJCI PACING POSTSEASON SCORING: Forward David Krejci enters tonight’s matchup leading the NHL in postseason points with 17. Krejci’s 12 assists tie him with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for second in the NHL, while his plus-nine rating times him with Milan Lucic for second. Krejci has recorded at least one point in all but three postseason games (Game 6 vs. TOR, Game 2 and Game 7 vs. NYR) thus far this postseason. The Czech Republic native has recorded five multi-point games through the first 12 playoff games, including three three-point games. In the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship run, Krejci led all postseason scorers in goals (12) and points (23). His 12 goals were the most ever scored by a Czech player in one NHL playoff year.
BRUINS PLAYING PHYSICAL: Three Bruins—Milan Lucic, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara—rank among the NHL’s top 10 in postseason hits. Lucic, ranked fifth, leads the Bruins with 55, while Boychuk ranks seventh with 45 and Chara ranks eighth with 44. Shawn Thornton, Adam McQuaid, and Gregory Campbell all place in the top 30 as well.
JAGR FACES OLD TEAM: Jaromir Jagr played for the Penguins the last two times they met the Bruins in the postseason (1991, 1992), and went on to win Stanley Cups both years. Jagr played in Pittsburgh for 10 years and remains the club’s all-time leader in playoff games played (140) and second in playoff points (147) behind Mario Lemieux.
MILESTONES APPROACHING: Jaromir Jagr is currently one goal shy of tying Jean Beliveau for 10th place on the all-time playoff goals list with 79. He is also three points short of tying Paul Coffey for 5th place on the all-time playoff points list (196)… Patrice Bergeron and Wade Redden are currently one point shy of their 50th career NHL playoff points.
PENGUINS NOTEBOOK: The Pittsburgh Penguins have accrued a 26-28 all-time record in Game 1s, including a 19-12 mark at home. Pittsburgh is 9-2 all-time at home in Game 1s during the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin era…Kris Letang, James Neal, and Sidney Crosby all ranked in the top-four in scoring for Round 2. Letang led the NHL in assists (9) and points (10), and Neal led the league in goals (5)…The Penguins have six skaters—Malkin, Letang, Crosby, Iginla, Dupuis, Neal—ranked among the top 15 playoff scorers…Goaltender Tomas Vokoun enters tonight’s game with a 6-1 playoff record since taking over as the Penguins starter. His .941 save percentage ranks second among postseason netminders, and his 1.85 GAA places him third.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins power play: 7-for-32 (21.9%, 5th NHL), Bruins penalty kill: 30-for-37 (81.8%, 8th NHL)… Penguins power play: 13-for-46 (28.3%, 1st NHL), Penguins penalty kill: 35-for-39 (89.7%, 3rd NHL).