As expected, there’s been some rough stuff in Matt Cooke’s first game in Ottawa against the Senators.
The Pittsburgh Penguins agitator has managed to keep his nose clean so far, though; as of this writing, he hasn’t registered a single penalty. That’s not for a lack of trying, however, as Chris Neil challenged him to a fight earlier in Monday’s game. Cooke rejected the offer, so Neil took it upon himself to clobber Pens defenseman Simon Despres:
Neil received a two-minute charging minor for that hit.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.