The Penguins left the game agitated, continuously getting in scrums with the Bruins and unable to solve Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. It was the Finnish netminder’s first career playoff shutout, and it came against a Pittsburgh team that never has an issue scoring.
Again, not a lot of people saw this coming.
However, it’s only one win in a seven game series. No one on the Bruins should see last Saturday night as the beginning of the end for the Penguins.
One thing is certain for tonight’s Game 2 matchup; Pittsburgh is going to come out of the gate angry.
Why wouldn’t they? A team pegged as overwhelming Stanley Cup favorites was outplayed by a Bruins team with half the offensive skills. Even worse for the Penguins, their frustrations boiled over late in the game, leading to the team trying to shove the Bruins around.
If there’s one advantage Boston has against Pittsburgh, it’s the physical element. Pittsburgh can score from any angle on the ice, but relying on attempts to intimidate the Bruins is a strategy destined to fail.
So now it’s a safe bet you’ll see the Penguins take the ice in Game 2 incredibly motivated. They’ll most likely try to control the pace from the second the puck drops, attempting to turn the game into a track meet the Bruins won’t be able to keep up with. Expect to see them try to win the game 80-1.
This is what happens when a team everyone expects to run the table gets pushed around in their own house.
Boston needs to be prepared for this. They can’t afford to be overwhelmed by Pittsburgh attempting to blow the doors off the arena. The second the Bruins buckle under this sort of pressure is the same second this series gets evened at 1-1.
The Penguins tried to do this at the beginning of Game 1, but Boston’s style of play eventually slowed things down and before you knew it they had taken the lead while Sidney Crosby was trying to pick a fight with the mammoth known as Zdeno Chara. Since Chara’s pinky is taller than Crosby, the Bruins had to enjoy every minute of this.
It was a sign as clear as day; one game into this series, the Bruins had gotten into Pittsburgh’s heads.
Again, it was just one game, and this fact cannot be stressed enough.
Make no mistake; the Penguins will play Game 2 angry and driven, attempting to give the Bruins fits during every second of regulation. But if it ends up delivering the same results as Game 1, it’s a whole new ballgame for the Bruins.