Pittsburgh Penguins winger Matt Cooke had to answer the bell in his very first shift of the game but the highly anticipated rematch between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins was all about Pittsburgh.
The Penguins limited the Bruins to 17 shots and got goals from Tyler Kennedy, Alex Ponikarovsky and Michael Rupp in a 3-0 victory over the Bruins.
Matt Cooke had a first period bout with Shawn Thornton but that was the extent of the Bruins getting any kind of revenge on Matt Cooke. Any talk of the Bruins going after one of the Penguins star players never substantiated and wasn’t expected.
The Penguins came prepared to play hockey and were the superior team Thursday night, while the Bruins were mocked cheered by their fans on more than a few occasions after a lackluster effort for a team that plenty of motivation.
Pittsburgh got phenomenal play from their role players and controlled the play throughout as the Penguins rebounded from a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night. If time of possession was recorded in hockey like it is in football, it can be argued that Pittsburgh won the time of possession game 40:00-20:00.
Defensively Pittsburgh played a strong game in front of Marc Andre Fleury, keeping the Bruins to the outside.
“They kept everybody on the outside and didn’t give them much, ” Fleury said. If there was a rebound, they were there to take it away.”
From the Bruins perspective, the intensity just wasn’t there as the Penguins took them off of their game. “We expected it to be intense and emotional but we were prepared to play hockey,” Sidney Crosby said.
Not even a Zdeno Chara fight with Michael Rupp could get the Bruins going. “At that point, we had nothing,” Chara said. “I really felt that was the right moment to bring some energy back, some emotion. We could use a little break so I just picked the time to do it.”
Pittsburgh which out shot the Bruins 31-17 in the game, had a dominate second period, out shooting the Bruins 12-0 in the first six minutes of period.
The Penguins improved to 42-24-5, (89 pts) on the season and moved into first place in the Atlantic division as the New Jersey Devils lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime. New Jersey still has a game in hand.
Pittsburgh returns home Saturday afternoon against the Carolina Hurricanes.
*Coming off a game in which he was a minus-3, Tyler Kennedy had a strong game tonight and opened the scoring for Pittsburgh, beating Tuukka Rask at 8:34 of the first period with a wrist shot from the right circles.
*Enforcer Eric Godard returned to the lineup for the first time since late Janauary. With Godard returning to the lineup, Max Talbot was a healthy scratch. From Talbot’s standpoint that was not a good sign considering the Penguins were looking for toughness in their lineup.
It’s no secret at this point that Talbot is the odd-man out. Meanwhile, defenseman Jay McKee was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.
*Pittsburgh was 0-for-4 on the power play and are 0-for-7 on the man advantage in their past two games.
*Michael Rupp was named the games No. 1 star.
Quote of the night: “Tonight, we might be put in jail….Things have changed a little bit. But again, I don’t think we’ll see anything tonight. And I don’t think we should.” — Bruins Hall of Famer Bobby Orr before tonight’s game