By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: Pittsburgh Penguins
Away: Boston Bruins
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Coyle – Bjork
Heinen – Lindholm – Kuhlman
Nordstrom – Kuraly – Wagner
Chara – McAvoy
Krug – Carlo
Grzelcyk – Moore
McCann – Crosby – Simon
Kahun – Malkin – Rust
Galchenyuk – Agozzino – Hornqvist
Aston-Reese – Blueger – Tanev
Johnson – Letang
Pettersson – Marino
Riikola – Ruhwedel
Scoring 11 seconds into a game is a good way to make your presence felt. Patrice Bergeron did that, burying his 21st goal of the season. David Pastrnak and Brandon Carlo had the assists on the goal, their 33rd and 11th assists of the season respectively.
Anders Bjork made it 2-0 just a minute and 51 seconds later. With such a fast start, it was apparent early on that the Bruins weren’t totally satisfied with their 4-1 win over the Penguins. As a result, it didn’t take them long to make a statement in enemy territory. Bjork’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Charlie Coyle (17) and Jake DeBrusk (14).
It continued to be pretty much all Bruins throughout the first period. While Jaroslav Halak made key saves when needed, the way the Bruins controlled the flow of play stood out the most. After two quick goals early on, Pastrnak added his 37th goal of the season to extend the lead to three with 4:53 remaining. Brad Marchand (44) and Torey Krug (27) had the helpers.
Not all was bad for the Penguins, as they managed to get one back thanks to Dominik Simon and a great pass by Sidney Crosby to set him up – making it 3-1 Bruins with 3:26 remaining. Brandon Tanev had a great chance to cut the deficit to one, but Brandon Carlo went all out to thwart the chance.
Teddy Blueger took a late hooking penalty with 1:37 remaining. Although the Bruins failed to score on the power play before the end of the frame, the final 23 seconds of the penalty awaited them to start the second period. The Bruins held a 13-6 shot advantage and won 72 percent of faceoffs.
Score: 3-1 Boston
The Penguins wanted an early goal of their own, and they got one. Blueger scored shortly after serving the hooking penalty he took late in the first period. Crosby made another great pass to set it up. A two-goal lead for the Bruins was quickly cut to one just 33 seconds in.
Chris Wagner took an interference penalty at the 12:09 mark of the period. Just 51 seconds later, Marchand and Kris Letang got tied up to Matt Murray’s left and received matching roughing penalties as a result.
After the Blueger goal, it was a battle of wills for the majority of the period. Murray bounced back after a rough first period, and Halak made some timely stops of his own. The Penguins held the advantage in shots at 12-10 and set up what was sure to be an eventful third period. The shots through two periods were 23-18 in favor of the Bruins.
Score: 3-2 Boston
Keeping with the trend of eventful starts to each period, Letang went off for elbowing just 20 seconds in. Jack Johnson took advantage of a huge opportunity tied the game with a shorthanded goal. The game was tied with 18:19 remaining and things got a bit chippier as this grudge match rolled on.
The Bruins were generating chances, but weren’t getting results. Murray continued to play very well after a bad first period and the Penguins didn’t relent. Bryan Rust made it four unanswered goals and gave his team the lead with 7:25 remaining in regulation.
Halak was pulled with 2:19 remaining for an extra attacker. While they managed to prevent an empty netter, the Bruins couldn’t tie the game back up. A tripping penalty assessed to Matt Grzelcyk in a successful effort to prevent Tanev from adding an empty netter late was the nail in the coffin in this one. A 14-4 advantage in shots in the final frame wasn’t enough to secure a win. The final shots were 37-22 in their favor. Next up are the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday at TD Garden at 7:00 PM ET. The Bruins are 28-10-12 at the 50-game mark on the 2019-2020 season.