(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter / X @adbblue

The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 Saturday afternoon at TD Garden in a game that was closer than the score portrayed. After rumors had swirled about Linus Ullmark being moved at Friday’s NHL trade deadline, he responded with an outstanding performance.

Head coach Jim Montgomery spoke about his goaltender following the win. “He was our best player. Wasn’t close, he was really good. Glad he’s still a Bruin.” Ullmark’s name was swirling around in rumors regarding the NHL trade deadline, and he spoke about it in his post-game media availability. “I’m just happy to be here. This is the team that I want to be on, I’m very fortunate to be part of this group, and ever since day one I’ve loved it here.”

First Period

Pittsburgh had the first solid opportunity of the game, but Linus Ullmark blockered it aside. The Bruins spent a sizable chunk of the first quarter of the game in their own end but didn’t yield anything. They then allowed a scoring chance on a partial Michael Bunting breakaway, but Ullmark made a beautiful glove save. Boston had their first scoring chance when Hampus Lindholm, in his first game back from injury, took the puck to the net from up top but was turned aside by Alex Nedeljkovic.

They produced two more high-quality chances, starting with a great backdoor feed by Brad Marchand to Lindholm, but Nedeljkovic stoned him. David Pastrnak then had a nice cross-ice feed to Danton Heinen, who snapped it on Nedeljkovic, and it deflected off him and out of play. The Bruins really started to find their game in the second half of the opening frame. Pittsburgh was gifted a two-on-one after a bad giveaway by Pastrnak, but Ullmark was there to shut it down.

Boston almost got on the board when Marchand made another great feed to the front of the net, which hit a skate but didn’t have enough juice to cross the goal line. With just over a minute left, the game’s first penalty was called on Marchand for tripping, which carried over to the second period. The Bruins created plenty of great chances but couldn’t finish. Pittsburgh had the shots on goal edge 13-8, and both goalies stopped everything

Second Period

The Penguins started the period with 0:46 left on Marchand’s tripping penalty, but it was killed off with ease. The Bruins struck first on a Pastrnak one-timer set up on a great centering pass by Jake DeBrusk, making it 1-0. The goal was Pastrnak’s 40th of the season. Boston had a chance to extend their lead after receiving their first power play, but it was uneventful other than DeBrusk hitting the crossbar.

The Bruins did notably well in the middle frame, cycling the puck in the offensive zone, which led to a few good looks. The Black and Gold extended their lead on the power play when Pavel Zacha tipped one home on a Morgan Geekie helper down low to make it a 2-0 game. Right after, Ullmark made a tremendous save on Jeff Carter, going cross-crease to get a piece of it.

The Bruins made it a 3-0 game after Charlie Coyle set up Marchand on a spectacular give-and-go, and the captain took the puck to the net and roofed it on the backhand. Other than a couple of bad turnovers, it was a solid period for the home team. The Penguins led in shots on goal 12-9, but Ullmark once again stopped everything.

Third Period

On the first shift of the period, Marchand went down to the ice and was very slow getting to his feet, and when he did, he went straight to the bench. Luckily, it appeared just to be a stinger, and he didn’t miss a shift. The Penguins finally got on the board after winning an offensive zone face-off, and Kris Letang blasted one off the crossbar and in to make it 3-1. Pastrnak then hit the crossbar at the other end on a great dish by Heinen, and Boston almost responded quickly. After Pittsburgh had tilted the ice a bit, accumulating some extended attacking zone time, the Bruins ended that by regaining their three-goal lead.

DeBrusk finished a great cross-ice feed from Marchand, making it a 4-1 game. They later made it 5-1 on Zacha’s second of the afternoon, which was created by a nice pass from Heinen to Pastrnak, which set up the goal. The Bruins closed it out, highlighted by the performance of their goaltender, who shared a longer hug than normal after the game with Jeremy Swayman. Ullmark spoke about it after the game. “I got emotional when Sway said all these nice words to me; I would’ve done the same for him if he were in my shoes.”

Up Next

Next, the Bruins will close out their four-game home stand against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night at TD Garden. The puck drops at 7:00, and it’s the second of two meetings between the teams this season. Boston won the first game 4-3 in overtime.