The Penguins were at it again this afternoon, hoping to go 2-for-2 in the second of their back-to-back afternoon home games. And, for the second time this week, Pittsburgh welcomed the Boston Bruins to the Consol Energy Center. When last these two teams met, this past Tuesday, Pittsburgh took the “W” with a thrilling third period comeback whereby they scored three unanswered goals in the final six minutes of the period. Riding an eight-game win streak, the Pens were looking to make it 9 while Boston was looking to secure a third consecutive win.
Sidney Crosby would start the scoring for the Penguins, his goal coming with twelve minutes off the clock. After having been denied on a breakaway moments before, Crosby was able to pick up a pass from linemate Chris Kunitz through traffic after Pascal Dupuis had stolen the puck from Bruins’ captain Zdeno Chara behind the net. All Crosby had to do was tip it in with a wrist shot and the Pens were up by one. Four and a half minutes later, Boston responded with a goal of their own, the tally credited to Tyler Seguin. Johnny Boychuk’s slap shot would bounce off Patrice Bergeron and right to Seguin’s stick and while net-minder Tomas Vokoun threw his glove out desperately to make the save, it just wasn’t enough. With three and a half minutes left in the first, the game was tied. Before the period came to a close, Joe Vitale would give Pittsburgh the go-ahead goal with just thirty-one seconds left on the clock. After twenty minutes of play, the board would read 2 to 1 in favour of the Penguins despite having been outshot 11 to 10.
Boston would hold the momentum through the second but, unfortunately for the Bruins, it wouldn’t translate into a goal. While Vokoun was tested, he remained strong. With 5:42 left to play in the second, Crosby was whistled for a high-stick, sending the penalty kill to work. Boston couldn’t capitalize and apparently that frustrated Milan Lucic who engaged in a heated debate with James Neal before punching him in the face. Both sides would come together but no penalties would be assigned. With just over two and a half minutes left to play in the period, Patrice Bergeron was whistled for a face-off violation, giving the Pittsburgh the man advantage. The Pens couldn’t convert but would head into the third with the lead.
Neither team would be able to bank another goal through the third, nor would either team be assigned any penalty minutes. Tyler Seguin came close to tying it with six minutes left on the clock, but his wraparound attempt would skid through the crease without going over the goal line. In a last minute attempt to send the game into overtime, Bruins net-minder Tuuka Rask was pulled but to no avail. The Penguins would earn their ninth straight victory with a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins. The win gave the Pens points 43 and 44, placing them atop the Eastern Conference (two points ahead of Montreal) while putting them second in the League overall.
Penguins defenceman Kris Letang left the game during the first period following a collision with Boston’s Brad Marchand. After the game, it was announced Letang had suffered a lower-body injury although there were no specifics given. If Letang is sidelined, that means the team will be without one of the top scoring defencemen in the league. Evgeni Malkin, listed out as indefinitely with an upperbody injury, skated prior to the game but there is still no word as to when the NHL’s reigning MVP will return.
With Letang out, Paul Martin led the team in ice time with 30:02 of playing time. Brooks Orpik followed with 23:58. Pascal Dupuis recorded three shots on goal while Chris Kunitz, Brandon Sutter and Sidney Crosby each contributed two to the Penguins 18 shots. Tomas Vokoun faced 27 shot from Boston. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis each added one point to their tallies, as did Joe Vitale, Craig Adams and Brooks Orpik.
The Penguins will wrap up their three-day home stint Tuesday when the Washington Capitals roll into town. Game time is 7:30pm.