The Matt Cooke storyline in the Eastern Conference Final got amplified in Game 1 on Saturday night. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward was ejected from what turned into a 3-0 Boston Bruins victory early in the second period following his hit on defenseman Adam McQuaid into the boards from behind. Cooke was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind, his first major penalty since the 2010-11 season. McQuaid stayed down for a few moments as he composed himself while the Bruins went after Cooke and looked to be somewhat disoriented. He got back on his feet before taking a knee again as a Bruins trainer attended to him before getting back up and leaving for the dressing room. He returned to Boston's bench a few minutes later and finished the game, playing a regular shift from the midpoint of the second period onward. Cooke declined to speak to the media after the game, but his teammates and Penguins coach Dan Bylsma did not feel the major and game misconduct penalties were warranted, though no one disputed the hit was indeed a penalty. "Clearly it's a hit right through the numbers," Bylsma said. "I don't think it was a rough hit. I think he was going into the boards; it was right from the numbers. I'm not sure I thought it warranted a five-minute penalty. But, you know, he did come right behind the guy, was going in with the guy. There you have it." The penalty played a big role in the game. The Penguins had thoroughly controlled the play up to that point even though they were down 1-0, and killing what turned out to be a three-minute Bruins power play after Chris Kelly was called for roughing for going after Cooke. Making matters worse in the Penguins' eyes was when Bruins forward Brad Marchand was whistled for boarding James Neal just before the end of the second period, it was called a two-minute minor.
Penguins' Cooke ejected after hit on McQuaid
NHL.com | Jun 2