By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
As the red-hot Bruins continued a homestand at TD Garden, they also looked to continue to ride a seven-game win streak, and they looked to make it eight as they hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boston, who was on a tear as of late, was the complete opposite story for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was coming off back-to-back losses to Toronto and New Jersey, so Pittsburgh looked to rebound against Boston. A major setback for Boston was they would be without veteran centerman Patrice Bergeron. That being said, young players like Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand would have to step up. The Bruins would also be without Andrew Ference and Steven Kampfer. For Pittsburgh, they would be without Eric Godard and Chris Kunitz. The starting goaltenders for the night would be Tim Thomas and Marc-Andre Fleury.
Saturday Fight Night at the Garden
The first period started, and things were entertaining, to say the least. 2:34 into the first, Michael Ryder had a fantastic opportunity to put the puck in the net, but Marc-Andre Fleury stuck his left pad out and stuffed Ryder. Seconds later, Shawn Thornton skated up to Mike Rupp to say a few words, and both dropped the gloves. The two fought it out at center-ice, and both went to the box for fighting. Pittsburgh’s Ben Lovejoy was called for holding, and Boston looked to capitalize on the powerplay with seven minutes remaining in the period. Pittsburgh did a great job killing off the penalty, and it was back to even strength. As the period approached with a minute left, a fight between Nathan Horton and Craig Adams unfolded. Horton would drop Adams to the ice, and both would enter the locker-room for intermission. Even though Boston came out firing on all cylinders during the first half of the period, Pittsburgh would close out the period with a couple of golden opportunities. Pittsburgh outshot Boston 14-9 and looked to continue the momentum into the second period.
Pittsburgh Looks to Hang On
The second period started, and Pittsburgh started just how they ended the first period, with some good scoring opportunities. One of those key opportunities came on the powerplay when Boston was called for too many men on the ice just 53 seconds into the second period. Tim Thomas held his ground and allowed Boston to stay in the game. Approaching the halfway mark, 7:26 into the period, Chara would take a pass from David Krejci at the blue-line, skate in, and fire a wrist shot past Fleury and it was 1-0 Boston. Pittsburgh, looking to tie the game, did so just three minutes later at the 9:51 mark when Jordan Staal ripped a shot past Tim Thomas to make it 1-1. Then just 1:10 later, with the Penguins riding momentum Dustin Jeffrey shot a puck five-hole past Tim Thomas and gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead. Boston wouldn’t answer Pittsburgh for the rest of the period, and Pittsburgh took a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission. Like the first period, Pittsburgh outshot Boston, but this time, it was only 15-11. If Boston wanted to win this game, they had to do a better job defensively and get more shots on Marc Andre-Fleury.
Krejci ties it up
The third started, and it was a fairly slow start. Both teams didn’t have many shots on net, and both teams managed to stay out of the box. That was until five minutes into the period when Milan Lucic was called for Hooking, and Pittsburgh went on the powerplay. If Pittsburgh could convert on this powerplay, they could get a two-goal lead and put a stranglehold on Boston. However, Pittsburgh could not convert, and it was back to even strength. The only highlight from that powerplay was on Boston’s side when Dennis Seidenberg laid out Krig Letang on the blue-line, and the Boston faithful were on their feet ecstatic. As the period dragged along and approached the final minute mark, both teams really couldn’t get anything going. Finally, with 32 seconds left, Nathan Horton set up David Krejci with a beautiful pass in front of the net, and Krejci put the puck behind Fleury, and the game was tied at 2 apiece. The energy in TD Garden was astounding, and the fans were as loud as can be. The period shortly ended, and the game would go to sudden death.
The Winning Streak ends
Even though Boston had momentum on their side going into Overtime, it was the Penguins that would score and end Boston’s winning streak. The goal came with three minutes left when Dustin Jeffrey scored his second goal, and Pittsburgh escaped Boston with a 3-2 victory. The three stars of the game would be Dennis Seidenberg, Paul Martin, and Marc-Andre Fleury, who had 29 saves on 31 shots and propelled Pittsburgh to victory. Boston would look to bounce back against their archrivals, the Montreal Canadiens March 8th in the Bell Centre. Pittsburgh would look to continue their winning streak on March 8th against the Buffalo Sabres.