The Boston Bruins did something in the postseason that they failed to do during the regular season – beat the Pittsburgh Penguins.
David Krejci scored two goals and Tuukka Rask made 29 saves for a shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final Saturday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
But the game was much closer than the final score would indicate. The Penguins were dominant through the first half of the game, but failed to get a puck into the net – although they did rack up a couple posts in the process.
"We did some good things, but at the end of the day you have to execute and put pucks in the net,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “We played with a lot of speed and generated a lot. I think we’re pretty confident if we play that same way the pucks will go in for us.
“We hit the post and had some pretty good chances. We had some bounces and unfortunately they didn’t go our way. We can improve in certain areas and make sure we’re better, but at the end of the day we did some good things, but have to put the puck in the net.”
The Bruins struck first when Krejci’s shot went off the skate of Paul Martin and skidded through the pads of Tomas Vokoun halfway through the first period. The Penguins were completely in control of that game until that point. That’s when the play seemed to shift in the Bruins’ favor.
Pittsburgh’s passes – which were so crisp in the first half of the game – weren’t connecting. The Penguins’ frustration started to mount. And finally things erupted at the end of the second period a few scrums and a fight featuring star centers Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron.
“That’s the stuff that they’re better at than we are and we’ll want to stay away from,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “That stuff happens. You just move on.”
The NHL’s leading scorer Krejci gave the Bruins some insurance with his second goal of the game and sixth of the postseason four minutes into the second period after finding a rebound and batting it in.
Nathan Horton made it 3-0 Boston when he was uncovered at the side of the net and Milan Lucic found him with a pass. He buried it for the easy score.
The Penguins tried to force the issue offensively at that point, but it played right into the Bruins’ hands.
“We played right into it,” Orpik said. “Once we were down a couple goals we started forcing plays through the neutral zone. That’s where they’re the best, in the neutral zone and creating turnovers.”
Despite the setback, the Penguins know this game could have gone either way. It’s a long series and they’re preparing for Game 2 Monday night.
“I thought we could have been up 2-0 early as well. It’s just one of those games that didn’t go our way early,” Orpik said. “They took advantage of their chances.”
“It’s one game,” Vokoun said. “It’s a best of four series. We’re going to regroup.”