Bad blood boiling over in East final
Phaneuf hit on Penguins’ Guentzel set the tone for a rough series
PITTSBURGH — It didn’t take long for the bad blood to build up between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Actually, it’s escalated quickly.
Not only have the Senators and Penguins had two pretty strong defensive efforts in the first two games of the East final at the PPG Paints Arena, they’ve also had some hard hits and scrums after the whistle that Ottawa didn’t always see in its first two series against the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.
Perhaps, Dion Phaneuf set the tone in the first period with his open ice hit on Bryan Rust that sent him to the dressing room and then later Jake Guentzel got the same treatment from the club’s pretty alternate captain.
It got ugly at the end when Ottawa centre Kyle Turris and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin exchanged pleasantries in the face-off circle that led to a scrum with 13.6 seconds left involving pretty much everyone on the ice.
“You’re going to get that when you’re playing against the same team night in and night out. I have no issue with it. It’s great. It’s probably great entertainment too,” said defenceman Marc Methot before the club made its way home.
“When you’re playing against the same players over and over again, eventually, you get on each other’s nerves, and that’s going to be the case here.”
The Senators certainly noticed the level of intensity increase.
“(The hatred) might have taken a step (Monday),” said winger Tom Pyatt. “There were some emotions at certain points of the game. They’re getting a little frustrated too. They’re an offensive team, and if they’re not generating a lot of chances, they can get a little frustrated too.
“But, that’s good for us. Just want to keep playing strong defensively and hopefully just get a few more bounces offensively and a few more chances.”
Head coach Guy Boucher didn’t agree the first two series weren’t as intense.
“That’s just what the playoffs are ... I wouldn’t call it bad blood, it’s just playoff emotion. Every game, it mounts up to more and more,” Boucher said. “That’s how it is. It’s an emotional game with guys that are fighting with everything they’ve got and a lot of pride, and there’s just going to be more and more of that.
“That’s just the nature game.” of the
Ottawa Senators’ defenceman Dion Phaneuf checks Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Jake Guentzel during the second period in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena, in Pittsburgh.
Anaheim Ducks’ pest Ryan Kesler deflects a shot on Nashville Predators’ goaltender Pekka Rinne in the third period of Game 1 of the Western Conference Final during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on Friday, in Anaheim.