By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (11-6-4)
Away: Pittsburgh Penguins (8-8-4)
It will be a tale of two stories between the Penguins and Bruins on Black Friday 2018. Both teams have had good times and bad times as we pass over American Thanksgiving, meaning both rosters will be prepared to battle it out for a big win tonight.
Another thing in common between Boston and Pittsburgh is the injuries. While Kevan Miller and John Moore will return for Boston, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, Urho Vaakanainen are still out of the lineup due to various injuries. The Penguins will be without starting goaltender Matt Murray, who was recently placed on the injured reserve for a lower-body injury.
Boston is coming off of a 3-2 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night while the Penguins took home a 5-1 win over the Dallas Stars on the same day.
Bruins Morning Rushes:
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson will centre the top line with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on either side. The 22-year-old has two goals in six games this season. Colby Cave will also be in the lineup, centring the third-line. Cave has zero points, two penalty minutes and two shots in three games with Boston this season. D-man Steven Kampfer and forward Anders Bjork are Boston’s scratches for the game.
In the opening minutes of the hockey game, the Crosby line of the Penguins started off with some solid pressure in Boston’s zone, getting some shots that were all stopped by Jaro Halak.
The two teams exchanged in decent opportunities for the remainder of the first half of the period, until David Pastrnak drove into the Penguins zone, dancing around Jake Guentzel, before finding a trailing Brad Marchand coming behind the play. Marchand, however, was stopped by Tristan Jerry.
With about 9:50 to go in the frame, Evgeni Malkin is able to stripe Kevan Miller of the puck at the Bruins blueline before getting a breakaway on Jaroslav Halak. Halak makes a key stop on the chance, a solid momentum booster for the Bruins.
Something worth noting is that Danton Heinen has been doing a good job along the boards and battling in tight. Heinen arguably had his best shift of the season so far around the midway point of the period. Heinen has not been the best so far this season and with the absence of Bergeron, the Bruins need the offence to come through. Seeing Danton play with some intensity is encouraging nonetheless.
With the lack of production by the Bruins in the past few games, they have done a solid job tonight on the breakout and forecheck, gaining some decent chances to score on Jarry. Have to imagine that Head Coach Bruce Cassidy played a key role in Boston’s offensive aggressiveness against Pittsburgh here. Every player on the roster – forward or defenseman has been trying to get involved in the offence, throwing shots on the net, driving to the net, or making a nice pass. Looking good so far.
For the remainder of the first period, both teams raced up and down the 200-foot ice surface – much like an entire period of 3-on-3 overtime, only with five guys on the ice. Both Jarry and Halak saw a combined 21 shots face them, but the game remains tied 0-0 as we head into the first intermission.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 12 PIT: 9
With no clear team beating the other at the end of the opening period, the main question heading into the middle period was who was going to come out and run away with this game somewhat. The Bruins seemed like they wanted to take that throne, leading the charge in the second frame with some good puck movement in the Penguins zone. No goals came from it, but chances were there no doubt for the Bruins.
5:05 into the period, David Krejci committed the first penalty of the game – a tripping minor on Jusso Riikola. Not long after Krejci walked into the box, Evgeni Malkin blasted a one-timer past Halak to open the scoring. The Penguins circled the puck on the man-advantage quite well, allowing Malkin to get open, using Kevan Miller as a screen. The goal is Malkin’s ninth of the season and extends his point streak to five games.
With about 6:30 remaining in the second-twenty, Daniel Sprong fired a shot towards traffic, but could not reach the net as Miller would take the puck and fire it up to Jake DeBrusk. DeBrusk handed the puck to Krejci who dropped it right back to DeBrusk who fired a blast past Jarry for his ninth of the year, tying the game 1-1.
Krejci’s assist on the play ties him for eleventh (Peter McNab) on the Boston Bruins all-time points list with 587. A great milestone for Krejci.
With roughly 2:37 left in the period, the Bruins fourth-line rushed into the zone. David Backes took a backhand shot and poked at the possible loose puck but it was unclear if it had crossed the goal line in real-time. The Bruin players surrounding the net celebrated as if it went in, but the referee signalled “no goal”. Upon further review, the call was no goal. Tough break for David Backes, who has yet to record a goal on the season.
In the dying seconds of the frame, Pittsburgh fired many high-quality shots on the Bruins netminder, but all were stopped by Halak who has looked really good tonight. Boston’s defencemen in the final thirty seconds or so struggled to play their position well and could not get the puck out of the zone. The buzzer sounded and the B’s managed to get away while under siege.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 25 PIT: 25
The final period began like the other two – back and forth. Bryan Rust escaped past the Bruin defenders on a breakaway, but due to some great defensive stick work by Matt Grzelcyk, (who has been really good tonight), prevents the chance from getting worse. Right back the other way, Pastrnak found Sean Kuraly who tried to find a hole but Jarry made the stop.
Not a whole lot took place for the first half of the third frame until Kevan Miller was sent to the box at the 10:41 mark for Delay of Game. Going 0-for-1 on the penalty kill so far tonight – with the only goal against being Malkin’s power-play goal, the Bruins managed to successfully kill off the 2-minute minor and the game returned to 5-on-5.
Following some more back and forth hockey with big hits, tons of shots and big saves, the Bruins and Penguins would still be deadlocked after sixty and they’d have to go to 3-on-3 overtime.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 35 PIT: 36
In a game filled with entertaining hockey from both teams, all of us fans knew that the overtime session in this game was most likely going to be a treat to watch. The Pens were able to gain the initial control in the five-minute session, but they were unable to muster up the offence to convert into goals.
As the puck headed back to the Pittsburgh zone, Boston held the puck there for over a minute consecutively. Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Torey Krug were the three players with the zone pressure, but when DeBrusk left the ice for a change, it allowed David Pastrnak to enter the play.
Following some hard work and great effort by Pastrnak, he would send the pick over to Torey Krug who quickly fired it what seemed like a shot gone wide, until Joakim Nordstrom tipped the puck past Tristan Jarry to give the Bruins only their second overtime win in five tries. Krug’s assist was his seventh on the season while Pastrnak’s was his ninth.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 37 PIT: 37
Max’s Three Stars
1st Star: BOS G Jaroslav Halak – 36 Saves, .973 SV%
2nd Star: PIT G Tristan Jarry – 35 Saves, .946 SV%
3rd Star: BOS F Joakim Nordstrom – 1 GWG, +1 Rating, 4 Shots
The Boston Bruins will not have a long break or any break at all for that matter as they return to the ice on Saturday for a road game against the Montreal Canadiens (11-7-5). That game is currently scheduled for 7:00pm EST. With the win, Boston now has a record of 12-6-4, fourth in the Atlantic division.
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