As expected, Matt Cooke had to answer the bell in last night's first period when Shawn Thornton came calling. Unexpected, however, was the Bruins' response after the Cooke-Thornton throwdown.
Tyler Kennedy roofed a wrister over Tuukka Rask at 8:34 of the first. With 15 ticks remaining in the second, Alexei Ponikarovsky tipped a Kris Letang one-timer through Rask. Michael Rupp put a third-period snap shot behind Rask at 5:14. And that was that, as the Bruins dropped a 3-0 game before 17,565 at TD Garden.
Through it all, the Bruins showed little emotion and even less offensive presence. Even after Zdeno Chara dropped the gloves for the first time this season (the captain asked Rupp to fight), the sleepwalking Bruins never woke from their slumber. It didn't help that Marco Sturm, Blake Wheeler, and Dennis Wideman were among a handful of Bruins suffering from flu-like symptoms.
The Thornton-Cooke bout took place during the Pittsburgh forward's first shift. Several seconds after Cooke rolled over the boards, he was approached by Thornton in the Pittsburgh zone. Cooke, knowing what was coming, accepted Thornton's challenge, and the two dropped their gloves at 1:58 of the first period.
First, Thornton asked Cooke, who wears a shield, if he wanted to get rid of his helmet. Cooke declined, but once the two came together, Thornton clawed his opponent's helmet off. Thornton landed several punches, scored the takedown, and threw several more rights while Cooke was on the ice. Both were tagged with fighting majors, while Thornton was called for a 10-minute misconduct, presumably for the late punches.
Cooke left the box at 7:50 to a chorus of boos. The TD Garden crowd gave Thornton a nice hand when the tough guy returned to the bench at 19:03.
It was one of few Black-and-Gold highlights. After taking an in-stride pass from Ruslan Fedotenko, Kennedy picked the top corner over Rask's glove to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Then one second after killing off Steve Begin's kneeing penalty, the Bruins saw Ponikarovsky, camped out in the slot, tip home Letang's shot. Rupp blockd a Patrice Bergeron shot and beat Rask at the other end.
All done in Boston. Penguins, 3-0. Marco Sturm couldn't finish the game because of flu-like symptoms.
16:28 3d period: Penguins 3-0
A Lewie on the Bruins to cap off one heck of a night.
14:23 3d period: Penguins 3-0
As expected, nothing on the PP.
12:23 3d period: Penguins 3-0
Jordan Leopold off for hooking. Does it matter?
9:30 3d period: Penguins 3-0
No sign of Marco Sturm all period.
6:10 3d period: Penguins 3-0
Zero shots for the Bruins so far in the third.
5:14 3d period: Penguins 3-0
After blocking Patrice Bergeron's shot, Michael Rupp goes the other way and snaps an off-wing wrister through Tuukka Rask. That looks like curtains.
4:18 3d period: Penguins 2-0
Dennis Seidenberg busts up Chris Kunitz's breakaway bid by lifting his stick.
20:00 2d period: Penguins 2-0
Pittsburgh with a 15-5 shot advantage in the second. Hard to believe Bruins are only down two goals.
19:45 2d period: Penguins 2-0
Just after killing off Steve Begin's penalty, Bruins see Alexei Ponikarovsky tip a Kris Letang one-timer through Tuukka Rask.
17:44 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Steve Begin off for kneeing Pascal Dupuis. Begin gets the worst of it. Limps to the penalty box.
15:47 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Miroslav Satan tips Dennis Wideman's shot. Finally a little heat on Marc-Andre Fleury.
12:00 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Mark Stuart off for hooking.
11:43 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Zdeno Chara vs. Michael Rupp. First fight of the season for the captain. Chara jabs with the left, throws haymakers with the right (lots of misses), scores the takedown. Clearly trying to spark his sleepwalking team.
7:37 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Sergei Gonchar trips Milan Lucic.
6:28 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Penguins wearing out the ice in the Boston zone. Bruins being outshot 12-1 in the second so far. Wretched stuff. Naturally, a "Wideman, you [stink]" is heard from the crowd.
4:22 2d period: Pnguins 1-0
Heavy pressure by the Pens. Tuukka Rask under assault. Zdeno Chara limping as he clears the puck.
2:22 2d period: Penguins 1-0
Hooking on Vladimir Sobotka. First PP for Pitt.
20:00 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Only 10 shots total between the two clubs through 20 minutes.
19:03 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Nice hand for Shawn Thornton as he leaves the box.
16:18 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Marc-Andre Fleury gets a glove on Miroslav Satan's shot. Puck pops up and lands on top of the net.
14:52 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Zilch on the PP. Comedy watching Dennis Wideman and Zdeno Chara collide in the defensive zone.
12:52 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Matt Cooke off for tripping Dennis Seidenberg in the offensive zone. Cooke sticks out his left leg and sweeps Seidenberg out.
10:07 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Mark Stuart upends M-A Fleury. No fireworks.
9:09 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Marco Sturm open in front, but Marc-Andre Fleury pokes the puck away.
8:34 1st period: Penguins 1-0
Tyler Kennedy with a top-shelf rocket over Tuukka Rask's glove.
7:50 1st period: 0-0
Boos for Matt Cooke as he leaves the box and returns to the bench.
5:36 1st period: 0-0
Too many men on the ice for Pittsburgh.
5:30 1st period: 0-0
Scoring chance for Daniel Paille. Puck slides under Marc-Andre Fleury.
4:50 1st period: 0-0
Tuukka Rask stops Pascal Dupuis on an odd-man rush.
1:58 1st period: 0-0
As expected, Shawn Thornton vs. Matt Cooke. Thornton gets Cooke's hat off and belts with him several cuffs as the Penguin goes down. Thornton asks if Cooke, who wears a shield, wants to get rid of the helmet. Extra 10 minutes for Thornton.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Brad Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, Jeff Penner, and Trent Whitfield are out. Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ference, and Dennis Wideman are in. Pittsburgh tough guy Eric Godard, who last played on Jan. 25 because of a groin injury, is in the lineup.