Bruins 5- Penguins 2
Penguins had only won 3 of last 15 home games against Boston going into Tuesday night’s game. Unfortunatly for Pittsburgh, they could not find a way to stop the red-hot Bruins.
With Hal Gill returning to the lineup, the Penguins played with seven defensemen against the Bruins, sending Paul Bissonnette back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Both teams came out strong at the start, and it looked like we could have a great game in the making. But as we mentioned in the preview of Tuesday’s game, the Penguins needed to avoid the sin bin again the Bruins. Five minutes into the first, Mark Eaton took a tripping penalty, but the Penguins had a strong penalty kill. After the penalty expired, the Bruins started to gain momentum firing a number of shots at Marc-Andre Fleury, but some great saves and rebound control stopped the Bruins from grabbing an early lead.
The Bruins got another power play chance after Petr Sykora took a delay of game penalty. While the Bruin still managed a few shots on Fleury, the penalty-killing unit remained perfect.
However, Sykora made-up for the blunder as he scored the first goal for the Penguins. Dustin Jeffrey took a sharp angled shot at the net, followed by Ruslan Fedotenko charging hard to the net for the first rebound, and Sykora was there to follow the second rebound into the open net. Jeffery’s assist was his first NHL point.
The Penguins got a power play chance of their own at the end of the period, looking to increase their lead. The Pens were able to register a few shots, and had a few chances at some rebounds, but were unable to cash-in. After 20 minutes, both teams looked strong, with little room for error.
Just as the Pens began to gain some momentum, Brooks Orpik took an interference penalty, creating the third power play on the night for the Bruins. Again, you cannot allow the Bruins to have numerous power play opportunities because they will find a way to score. They did just that on a shot from Zdeno Chara, evening the score at one goal a piece.
The penalty mistakes continued for the Penguins, after Max Talbot and Phil Kessel both took minors for roughing, Evgeni Malkin was called for a very questionable hooking penalty, giving the Bruins a lot of open ice for a 4-on-3. The Bruins did not waste time, as Marc Savard scored on a shot that found a tight six-inch gap above Fleury’s left shoulder and the post.
Later in the second, Sidney Crosby created a Boston turnover in the offensive zone, and Sid found Pascal Dupuis wide open for a quick slapshot that went flying past Tim Thomas. The Penguins had found life again, and tied the game at two.
Only 90 seconds later, the Bruins created a turnover of their own. Fleury made the initial save on Savard, but Phil Kessel found himself with an open rebound, and regained the Bruins’ one goal lead.
Just as the Penguins got an opportunity of their own on the power play, the Bruins created a 3-on-1 shorthanded chance and scored to increase their lead to two.
Seconds after a Penguins’ penalty expired, the Bruins managed to expand their lead on a shot from the point, making the score 5-2 Boston. The goal is listed as even strength, but was clearly a result of the Bruins’ seventh power play.
The game would end with that score.
Late in the game, Tim Wallace showed all of his guts as he drew gloves with the fierce Milan Lucic. Wallace may not have won the fight, but he showed he was ready for a long-term role with the Penguins. I have personally loved to watch Wallace play; he continually hustles, and makes good decisions. And to have your first NHL fight against someone like Lucic shows his guts.
The Penguins played extremely well tonight, especially for the first 50 minutes, but as we stated in our preview post, we expected they could play well and still lose. We also mentioned the Penguins would need to stay out of the penalty box, but they gave the Bruins eight power play chances. The Boston Bruins are for real, and the Penguins will need to avoid losing two in a row to the Bruins Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden.
Hal Gill made his return to the lineup tonight and made his presence felt. Gill showed a strong defensive effort, and was especially effective on the penalty kill. It is unsure how long the Penguins will keep seven defensemen until Kris Letang or Tyler Kennedy returns, but Philippe Boucher continues to be unimpressive. Hopefully we can see Tanger or TK return within the next week, and I imagine Boucher would be on the short list to scratch.
Dan | PPT