By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Krejci – Smith
Ritchie – Kuraly – Coyle
Frederic – Lazar – Wagner
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Reilly – Miller
Lauzon – Clifton
Guentzel – Crosby – Rust
McCann – Carter – Zucker
Aston-Reese – Blueger – Kapanen
Sceviour – Jankowski – Rodrigues
Dumoulin – Letang
Matheson – Ceci
Pettersson – Marino
This one got off to a nice start for the Bruins with a solid first shift from the top line. But, things got a bit dicey when Mike Reilly took a holding the stick penalty just a minute and 32 seconds in. An important early penalty kill against a red-hot Penguins team (winners of eight of their last ten games) ensued. Fortunately for the Bruins, they killed it off and averted potential early danger.
When they had offensive zone possession, they were getting chances, but couldn’t convert early on. A too many men on the ice penalty at the 9:42 mark was less than ideal, putting the Bruins on the penalty kill twice barely halfway into the period. But, like the first, they killed this one off and the game remained scoreless. The following save really helped in that regard.
Connor Clifton hobbled off the ice after the whistle at the 4:36 mark. Blocking shots will do that, at times. I can’t imagine the idea of being down a defenseman so early in a game was on the team’s wish list.
Luckily for them, Clifton returned to the game before the end of the first period. Trent Frederic made his return to the lineup felt mainly at the very end of the period, when he leveled Kris Letang. Outside of penalties and struggles to finish their plentiful amount of scoring chances, it was a solid first period for the Bruins. Shots on goal were 14 to 11 in their favor.
Kevan Miller took a slashing penalty at the 14:47 mark in an infraction following some confusion over a certain missed icing call against the Penguins. Much like he did on the penalty kill of the too many men on the ice penalty in the first period, Rask stole the show on this penalty kill. First it was against Bryan Rust, then Jared McCann.
The first Bruins power play of the game came at the 4:19 mark thanks to a roughing call against Evan Rodrigues. While they didn’t score on the man advantage, it didn’t take them long to score after the fact.
David Krejci broke the scoreless tie on a backhander, his seventh goal of the season. Charlie McAvoy had the primary helper (22) and Rask added to a great night for himself with an assist as well – his second of the season and in the past four days.
Shots on goal in the second period were eight to six in favor of the Bruins, bringing the total through 40 minutes to 22 to 17 in their favor. Outside of Rask’s great performance through 40 in net, the top two lines, in particular, were having a tremendous game.
Score: 1-0 Boston
Things got testy early on in the third period following a shot from Patrice Bergeron off the post. While there was some degree of belief that it may have went in, it was determined that it did not and the lead remained at one for the Bruins. Not too long after, Jeremy Lauzon and Teddy Blueger dropped the gloves at the 13:22 mark.
Brad Marchand added to the fantastic stretch of hockey he has played as of late with a huge insurance marker. His 26th goal of the season was assisted by David Pastrnak (24) and Curtis Lazar (6). The assist for Lazar marked his third point in nine games as a Bruin so far.
Speaking of Bruins acquired at the trade deadline, Taylor Hall added his name to the scoresheet with his sixth goal of the season in epic fashion. Krejci (25) and Reilly (24) had the assists on the goal that made it seven points in nine games for Hall as a Bruin so far.
Jeff Carter found himself with space partially thanks to a Bruins line change and broke the shutout. It was 3-1 Bruins with 2:21 remaining. Shortly following the goal, Jarry was pulled for the extra attacker in an effort to add another goal or two for the Penguins.
The Bruins went on to hold on and secure the victory despite the efforts by the Penguins to make things difficult. The big guns came to play in a massive late-season game. Rask made 25 saves and Krejci, Marchand, and Hall all scored.
Big-name players showing up is magnified so much more in crucial games like this one. Shots on goal in the final 20 minutes were nine apiece, bringing the total to 31 to 26 in favor of the Bruins. With the win, they move to 28-14-6 on the season.
Final Score: 3-1 Boston