On a day where we discovered both Zbynek Michalek and Kris Letang have been diagnosed with concussions, the Pens had another series of scares against the Bruins in what amounted to a 3-1 loss Monday night. Both came in the third period.
Chris Kunitz, perhaps forgetting what team he played on for a few minutes, collided with Sidney Crosby in what was noticeably a painful hit for el capitain. We all knew there would come a point before New Year's where Crosby's durability would be tested. Who would've thought it'd come from one of his own teammates?
All kidding aside, Crosby was able to return but I'd be interested to see if he'll get a closer look over the next day or so. Meanwhile Evgeni Malkin's face was opened up above the lip after Boston's Daniel Paille distributed the on-ice equivalent of a head butt. Malkin was bloodied up pretty good on the hit but didn't miss much time.
Two scares to the top two guns once again. Was anyone else biting their nails in this one?
No matter the case, Boston showed exactly why they remain one of the hottest teams in the league as they improved their current run to 14-0-1 trailing back to the start of November.
The lone scoring highlight of the night came courtesy of Matt Cooke in the third period, but by then it would amount to too little, too late. The game was not void of action however, as this certainly had the makings of what could potentially be another solid postseason meeting between the two. So long as Boston cools off a bit by then, it shouldn't be bad for Pittsburgh.
Also good to see Matt Niskanen engage in fisticuffs with Brad Marchand in the second period. He has proven to be a bit of a defensive liability over the past few games and may be looking whatever spark he can find to get back into his groove. I'll take it.
Later in the third Joe Vitale and Gregory Campbell also dropped the mitts but by then there was hardly any spark to be found.
All in all, Boston controlled the tempo of the game, dictated by early scoring that allowed them to fall back and focus on defense. While they didn't necessarily limit Pittsburgh's shots (forty-friggin-six, by the way), there was no beating Tim Thomas or his mustache on the ice at Consol Energy Center.
The Pens will rest up for three days before taking on Philadelphia Thursday night in the first meeting between the two teams this season. It will no doubt be a good one on the NHL Network.