|The highly anticipated, highly hyped rematch between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins provided a lot of tough talk but not a lot of reprisal action. In the first showdown between the two clubs since Marc Savard suffered a concussion following a hit from Matt Cooke on March 7, the pundits and media experts expected lots of fights, rough stuff and revenge. However, instead a hockey game broke out. |
On his first shift, Cooke dropped the gloves with Bruins’ tough guy Shawn Thornton. After that, both teams concentrated all their efforts on winning the game and getting two points in the standings.
The Penguins strung together 60 quality minutes of hockey that resulted in a 3-0 victory against the Bruins. Pittsburgh played a majority of the game in the offensive zone and completely shutdown the Bruins’ already anemic offense.
The Penguins now have 89 points in the standings, good enough for a one-point lead over New Jersey in the Atlantic Division, though the Devils have played one fewer game.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|BOSTON (AP) - Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves for Pittsburgh's first shutout of the season in the Penguins' 3-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. |
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Matt Cooke dropped the gloves on his first shift against Shawn Thornton
(photo by Getty)
|What Went Well: Limiting Chances |
The Penguins’ great defensive play was a little bit overshadowed in this game. Pittsburgh did a great job of limiting the Bruins’ scoring chances, made smart passes to get the puck out of its zone and sealed off the danger areas around the net. It also helped that the Penguins spent a majority of the game in the offensive zone. The defensive effort helped Pittsburgh net its first 0 of the season.
What Could Have Gone Better: Power-Play Goal
The Penguins power play helped generate a goal, but unfortunately were not credited for the goal. Pittsburgh put together a quality power-play session late in the second period. The team scored just as the power play expired. So while the man-advantage didn’t get credit for the goal, it still created the play that resulted in a late-period backbreaking goal.
|Matt Cooke handled his business exactly the way he should have in the game. Cooke knew that he was a target. He didn’t hide or shy away from the Bruins’ angst. Instead, he met their anger head on with full force. |
Cooke dropped the gloves on his first shift against Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton. Cooke’s early fight caused the tension to subside, and the Penguins to forget about the issue and play hockey. Cooke remained disciplined throughout the game, didn’t take the Bruins’ bait and wasn’t a distraction to his teammates. All in all, Cooke deserves a lot of credit for how he handled the situation.
RUNNER-UP: Marc-Andre Fleury, 17 saves for his first shutout of the season.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Penguins tallied the game’s opening goal with 11:26 to go in the first period. The Bruins defense pinched in the offensive zone and former Penguin Miroslav Satan assumed the vacated defenseman’s spot. But Ruslan Fedotenko caught Satan flatfooted and found Tyler Kennedy for a two-on-one chance. Kennedy waited for Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask to drop to his knees. Then Kennedy wristed a shot over his shoulder for the score. Pittsburgh 1, Boston 0. |
The Penguins posted their second goal of the game with 14.1 seconds left in the second period. Pittsburgh was working on a power play and Boston failed to clear the puck. Just as the penalty expired, Kris Letang threw a shot on net from the top of the far circle. Alexei Ponkiarovsky re-directed the puck on his backhand into the goal. Pittsburgh 2, Boston 0.
The Penguins add to their lead on Mike Rupp’s 13th goal of the season. Rupp blocked a shot in the defensive zone. Despite having tired legs, Rupp recovered the puck all the way in the Bruins zone and snapped a shot into the far side of the goal. Pittsburgh 3, Boston 0.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|It didn’t take long for Matt Cooke to get into the action. On his first shift he dropped the gloves with Bruins’ tough guy Shawn Thornton, who measures 6-foot-2, 217 pounds. Both men exchanged blows before Thornton hauled Cooke to the ice. After the linesmen intervened with Cooke in a prone position, Thornton continued to throw blows. Thornton received a 10-minute misconduct for the extra work. |
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled from the net in the previous game, stopped all 17 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and 16th of his career. Fleury has a history of bouncing back strong after a subpar performance. He proved resilient once again.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Pittsburgh improved to 42-24-5 on the season with a 21-14-2 mark on the road. |
> The Penguins now have 89 points in the standings, giving them a one-point lead over New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, T.Kennedy (10), 8:34 1st period: Penguins 1, Bruins 0
PIT, A.Ponikarovsky (21), 19:45 2nd period: Penguins 2, Bruins 0
PIT, M.Rupp (13), 5:14 3rd period: Penguins 3, Bruins 0
> Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves for his first shutout of the year, 16th of his career.
> Tyler Kennedy scored his first goal in two months (Jan. 14 at Edmonton) - a stretch of 19 games.s
> Alexei Ponikarovsky scored his 21st of the year and second as a Penguin.
> Mike Rupp added to his career-year in goal scoring with his 13th tally of the year.
> Brooks Orpik set a new single-season career high in assists with his 19th of the year.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. M.Rupp |
|" It was due for a while. It was good to see him |
get that zero."
- Dan Bylsma on Fleury's shutout