The Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their Eastern Conference Finals series last night with Boston coming away with a 3-0 win.
The two teams were playing hard, but the series took a serious turn when Penguins left wing Matt Cooke boarded Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid from behind. Cooke was assessed a five minute major boarding penalty and subsequently ejected from the game.
Cooke has always had a reputation as a dirty player. Bruins fans remember Cooks for effectively ending Marc Savard‘s career with a blindside elbow to the back of Savard’s head.
Brad Marchand retaliated with a hit on Penguins winger James Neal and received a boarding penalty. The Bruins Rich Peverly and Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz dropped gloves with five seconds left in the second period and drew matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
The horn sounded for the second intermission and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby jawed with Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask which drew the ire of assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins scrapped with Bergeron which resulted in fighting majors for both men.
The fighting majors proved detrimental to Pittsburgh as Boston capitalized by scoring a power play goal while Malkin was still in the box.
Tempers calmed and the Bruins added a third goal to seal the victory.
The Bruins set the tone of the series with their physicality. Cooke wasn’t disciplined by the league for the hit, but expect the ill feelings to continue between these two teams for the remainder of the series.