Nobody expected fireworks to erupt between Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby during their head-to-head match Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. But the two of them went at it in the third period with Iginla getting the better of Crosby from a physical perspective.
Crosby's Penguins beat Iginla's Bruins 3-2, but the former Pittsburgh teammates had an interesting encounter along the boards in the dying minutes.
With less than four minutes remaining and the Penguins ahead 2-1, Crosby and Iginla battled for a loose puck behind the Boston net. Iginla manhandled Crosby a couple of times and came away with the disc. No penalty was called and Crosby was slow to get to his feet, but continued playing. Penguins' fans were polite to Iginla all night, but on Twitter, many Pittsburgh fans villified Iggy for viciously attacking a former teammate.
Iginla was a Calgary Flames mainstay his entire career before waiving his no-trade clause late last season and accepting a trade to a hand-picked location, that being on Crosby's left wing in Pittsburgh. The two had profound success playing together for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Pittsburgh was bettered by Boston in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. The Penguins were unable to retain the services of Iginla for salary cap reasons this season even though he had a productive stay in Pittsburgh. So off he went to Boston, where he's had a slow start, playing lately on a line with David Krejci and Milan Lucic.
When the two teams met for what NBCSN called Wednesday Night Rivalry, it was more about the teams than the Crosby-Iginla encounter. Iginla received neither cheers, nor boos when he took to the ice in Pittsburgh. Tribune reporter Josh Yohe had an interesting tweet before the game: "I rarely ask for anything, but please, don't boo Jarome Iginla tonight. The man is a saint. You will look foolish if you boo."
It sure had the feeling of a playoff game. Except on this occasion, the Penguins won.