By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: Boston Bruins
Away: Pittsburgh Penguins
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
Tuukka Rask was honored for playing in his 500th game back in October before things got underway. NESN showed an awesome congratulatory video made for him before the ceremony that took place on the TD Garden ice. Congratulations to Tuukka Rask on this incredible achievement.
Sidney Crosby made his presence felt with a goal just 24 seconds into the game. A mere 52 seconds later, Zach Aston-Reese went off for roughing in response to Charlie McAvoy’s hit on Brandon Tanev. The Bruins didn’t score on the power play, but the fast pace continued after a cross-check by John Marino on Chris Wagner that wasn’t received well.
Marino sat for two minutes as a result, giving the Bruins their second power play of the game just 3:23 into the game. While Tristan Jarry was kept busy early on, he kept the Bruins off the scoreboard on their first two power plays.
Minutes later, Chris Wagner and Kris Letang exchanged pleasantries, creating a 4-on-4 as a result as both of them went off for roughing. The extra open space on the ice didn’t lead to much, but Sean Kuraly got on the board for the fourth time this season shortly after the 4-on-4 ended. It was 1-1 with 9:57 remaining. Karson Kuhlman had the primary assist, marking his first point of the season. Charlie McAvoy had the secondary assist, his 17th of the season.
Kuhlman made his mark yet again on the scoresheet, sending a shot on net that Par Lindholm tipped past Tristan Jarry to make it 2-1 Bruins for his third goal of the season. Karson Kuhlman was buzzing early on in his first game back with the Bruins since October 19th following his injury recovery and a stint with the Providence Bruins.
Not too long after the goal, Patrice Bergeron went off for tripping, but the Penguins failed to convert on the man advantage and the Bruins held onto their lead. It was a wild first period and after a fast start from the Penguins, the Bruins didn’t shy away. The shots in the period were 12-10 in their favor as they went into the intermission.
Score: 2-1 Boston
Wagner went to the box early on for tripping, just 1:39 into the period. Brad Marchand nearly gave the Bruins a two-goal lead in shorthanded fashion. Wagner remained in the mix after leaving the box, laying a huge hit on Tanev that caused some chaos as a result.
Anders Bjork went off for two minutes for slashing just around the halfway point of the period. Joakim Nordstrom blocked a shot Juuso Riikola and went off in some pain, but eventually made his way back and powered through the pain.
Speaking of the halfway point, the Bruins outshot the Penguins 5-1 up until that point in the second period. The Bjork penalty was killed, the third successful penalty kill of the night. Brad Marchand nearly extended the lead to two, but couldn’t bury it.
Things got chippy again late in the period, leading to Torey Krug and Patric Hornqvist having a tussle, with others getting involved. A 4-on-4 ensued thanks to roughing penalties going both ways with 3:52 remaining. No one scored on the 4-on-4, again. Chaos later came as a penalty was called, Bergeron made contact with the puck with his glove, the puck crossed the goal line, but the goal was called off after a review.
Krug and Hornqvist reconvened and dropped the gloves after exiting the penalty box Marcus Pettersson went off for holding with 1:19 to go. Five minutes for fighting followed. In the final ten seconds, the Penguins found themselves on a 2-on-0 that led to Jaroslav Halak making four saves in rapid succession to preserve the lead. The shots were 12-10 in favor of the Bruins, yet again, bringing the total to 24-20. The craziness of the second period set the stage for fireworks in the third period.
Score: 2-1 Boston
Bergeron extended the lead to two 3:19 into the period, marking his 20th goal of the season. He has now hit the 20-goal mark in a season 11 times in his career. David Pastrnak had the lone assist, his 31st of the season. It was a pretty sweet sequence.
The pace calmed down a bit in the third period, but things got interesting again when the Penguins took a too many men on the ice penalty. The Bruins saw a golden opportunity in front of them to extend their lead to three with 8:18 left. Although they didn’t score, they still managed to hold their two-goal. Jarry being pulled for the extra attacker late led to a chaotic bunch of chances out front, but the puck couldn’t make its way past the scrum out front. A review followed the scrum and went in favor of the Bruins, keeping the game at 3-1.
Marchand notched the empty netter for his 21st goal of the season to seal it. Pastrnak’s second assist of the game and 32nd of the season helped set it up. The Penguins held a 10-6 shot advantage, bringing the shot total to 30-30 for the game. They had 10 shots in each period. When it all came down to it, the Bruins powered through in a physical game to come out on top. Next up are the Penguins again at 12:30 PM ET on Sunday at PPG Paints Arena. The Bruins are 28-9-12 and have won four of their last six games.