Tonight at 7:30 ET, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will renew their rivalry as they face off in the second round of the NHL playoffs. The Penguins are coming off a 4-2 series win over the New York Islanders, and the Senators are coming off a 4-1 series win over the Montreal Canadiens. Although Pittsburgh and Ottawa do not play in the same division, there is plenty of animosity between them.
In a game between the two teams in February, an incident occurred in which the skate of Penguins forward Matt Cooke caught the heel of Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, slicing his achilles heel. His estimated time of return was 4-6 months, but it only took Karlsson 10 weeks to heal. Here is a video of the incident:
After the game, Matt Cooke claimed that the incident was accidental, but many did not believe Cooke due to his terrible reputation around the league. Ottawa players, coaches, and management accused Cooke of attempting to injure Karlsson, which sparked hate between the two teams. In this series, look for Matt Cooke to be public enemy number one. The Ottawa Senators will do everything they can to take a shot at Cooke, so look for Senators agitator Chris Neil to be frequently involved physically. A few days ago, Karlsson claimed via Twitter
that he is not focused on the Matt Cooke incident. He can say anything he wants, but it's obvious that Karlsson and the Senators are thinking about it. How can they not? That is there motivation: to get revenge on Matt Cooke.
In this series, you can expect a lot of physicality, intensity, and hatred between the two teams - the perfect ingredients for a great playoff series.