Penguins bully Bruins in physical affair
BOSTON - As Boston left wing Daniel Paille went soaring through the air during the second period at TD Garden on Saturday, the point became clear: The Penguins weren't going to be pushed around by the big, bad Bruins.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik's thunderous check was the signature moment during one of the Penguins' signature wins of the season, a 2-1 decision over the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Boston physically manhandled the Penguins earlier this season in a 3-1 victory at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins weren't about to allow a repeat.
"You don't want to get pushed around," Orpik said.
It was the Penguins doing most of the pushing Saturday, outhitting the Bruins, 27-17.
Orpik obliterated Paille with five minutes remaining in the second period. Impact was made on the Bruins' logo at center ice, and by the time Paille landed, he was 10 feet removed from the spot where Orpik made first contact. Paille then skidded 10 more feet, almost reaching the Boston bench.
"That hit really got us going," Penguins center Joe Vitale said.
Orpik wasn't the only player to deliver a punishing hit.
Vitale crushed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg into the penalty box, forcing him to temporarily leave the game. Defenseman Joe Corvo also left the game briefly after receiving a beating from the Penguins. Boston pest Brad Marchand, according to coach Claude Julien, was also battered following the game.
"I was told Seidenberg needed 20 stitches," Julien said. "Marchand was banged up. Tough game."
Given the nature of the game, it was only fitting that none of the goals in this contest were pretty. Rather, the Penguins went to work and outbattled the Bruins for both of their goals.
Center Evgeni Malkin collected the rebound of right wing James Neal's shot and scored late in the first period. It was Malkin's first power-play goal in 19 games.
Early in the third period, left wing Matt Cooke beat the Bruins to a rebound and scored for the second time in three games. Cooke played perhaps his finest game of the season, his physical game showing signs of resurfacing but without the questionable hits that have landed him in trouble.
"I think for the first 25, 30 games, there was definitely a feeling out process," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "(Cooke was) almost staying away from certain areas of the rink. In the last 10 or 15 games, he's starting to understand how to play all the way, still be physical, and still be well within a different mindset than he's been in before."
The Penguins were in a pretty good mindset following the contest. They have won four straight games in Boston. In fact, the road team in this series has won seven straight.
With the victory, the Penguins are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings, just two points behind No. 4 Philadelphia. The win leaves the Penguins only two points behind the Flyers and Bruins for the second-best record in the East.
Next for the Penguins is a 1 p.m. contest today in New Jersey. They'd like to maintain the same physical edge that propelled them over the Bruins, and propelled Paille into midair.
"Brooks' hit was so huge for us," right wing Pascal Dupuis said. "So was Joe Vitale's hit. This was a huge win for us. Huge."
Making it bigger was that the Penguins beat the Bruins at their own game in Boston's building.
"We wanted to come out and dictate, and be physical," Neal said. "We weren't happy with how we played the last two games against Toronto. Today, we did a good job."