The Boston Bruins insist they aren’t trying to draw the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins into a street fight.
However, if one breaks out during the Eastern Conference finals, all the better.
David Krejci scored two more goals during his torrid postseason, and the Bruins shut down the host Penguins 3-0 in Round 1 – make that Game 1 – on Saturday night.
Nathan Horton assisted on both of Krejci’s scores and added an insurance goal in the third period, and Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots for the Bruins, who silenced Sidney Crosby and the rest of the NHL’s top-scoring team.
Boston did it by forcing the Penguins into the kind of sloppy, undisciplined play they largely avoided during the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Crosby was penalized twice, reigning NHL MVP Evgeni Malkin engaged in a rare fight, and longtime instigator Matt Cooke was ejected after he checked Boston’s Adam McQuaid from behind into the boards in the second period. That ratcheted up the intensity from contentious to chippy in a matter of seconds.
“They were a little bit frustrated and we just wanted to put the pressure on them. Good things happen when we do that,” Horton said.
And bad things happen to the Penguins. Pittsburgh came in averaging a league-high 4.27 goals in the playoffs but couldn’t solve Rask. The Penguins hit the post a handful of times and seemed a bit off following an eight-day break.
Blackhawks 2, Kings 1: Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa scored in the second period, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals in Chicago.
Corey Crawford made 21 saves, and the Blackhawks generated just enough offense to improve to 7-1 at home in the playoffs.
Justin Williams scored for Los Angeles.