If the Pittsburgh Penguins have given any NHL team a playoff blueprint, Sidney Crosby and his wanna-be tough guys have shown that a team can care too much. In their zeal to match machismo instead of goals with Philadelphia, the Pens have shown how losing your head may eventually lose a series.

I kept thinking of that lesson when I watched replays of Nicklas Backstrom cross-checking Rich Peverley in the face near the end of one of the most riveting hockey games in maybe three years at Verizon Center Monday night. If the match penalty Backstrom was hit with isn't rescinded by the NHL lords of discipline the next two days, this early heirloom of an NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series would take a decided turn toward Boston.