Hockey doesn't always offer a fair result. The Pittsburgh Penguins put 39 shots on Tuukka Rask tonight. Several more they rang off posts. What's it with the posts always being unkind for the Pens against the Boston Bruins, anyways?
Mostly because Boston finds a way to always hang in the games. And no more so than their captain Zdeno Chara. The 37-year old has looked his age this season, and did early tonight when Evgeni Malkin teamed up with Beau Bennett for the first goal of the game. Chara got sucked up into a play that he would have easily made in years gone by. But he got it back for the B's late in the first, blasting a slap-shot by a screened Marc-Andre Fleury to knot the game at 1 in time for the first intermission.
The second period was where the Pens could have put their stamp on the game, but failed to do so. They out-shot Boston 14-6, but the Pens power play went 0-for-2. One of those six Boston shots was Patrice Bergeron who collected a Fleury poke-check and threw it by the Pens goalie to give Boston the lead.
Thanks to Malkin, the Pens would roar out of the gate in the third. Malkin blasted a slap shot over Rask to tie the game just 14 seconds into the period, in a move that really set the tone for the period where again Pittsburgh flatly dominated play, but were unable to score again.
The game's next and last goal would come with some controversy in over-time when Bergeron (and/or Simon Despres ) appeared to touch a puck up high, with Bergeron coming dangerously close to the cross-bar level that would have been a no-goal. The refs and war room didn't see it that way and let the goal stand.
It wouldn't be fair but the Pens go home with just 1 point tonight.
A few more thoughts:
- The Bruins late goal standing stings more being as the refs disallowed what should have been a goal by Craig Adams earlier. They said incidental contact between Zach Sill and the goalie, but failed to realize the contact was only because Adam McQuaid pushed Sill into Rask. Sometimes it's just not your night, and rare enough when Adams scores but when the ref takes that away?...Not a good sign.
- Malkin was the best player on the ice. Pairing him with Bennett paid instant dividends, the two were making plays to each other all over the offensive zone. Hopefully more of that. The third wheel on the line, Nick Spaling , actually looked like a great fit too winning battles and putting pucks on the net. Encouraging signs for all, they absolutely tilted the ice to the Pens benefit and generated the only two goals that were allowed to stand.
- Sidney Crosby had one of the aforementioned post shots, on the PP no less, which would have been a huge, huge goal. Alas, not to be.
- 5 shots on goal for newcomer David Perron who has a really heavy shot. Love the way the puck jumps off his stick with his release. Going to take some time for him to get use to the passes that he is receiving, but it will come with time. Nice to see Perron look willing and eager to pull the trigger on the PP too, that unit needs more of that.
- Interesting to see youngster Derrick Pouliot a healthy scratch against the big bad Bruins and a guy like Robert Bortuzzo get a shirt tonight. Can't say that's a bad move for the circumstances. With Paul Martin back and Olli Maatta on the mend, gotta wonder if/when Pouliot will join Scott Harrington back in Wilkes-Barre.
- Hits leader on the night for those big bad Bruins? Torey Krug . Hopefully that's the statkeeper pulling a troll move, even though no one really cares to steep that deep into the details.
- If it's better to be lucky than good, Tuukka Rask doesn't need the help. He's already pretty good but always seems to get all the luck against the Pens. Hopefully it's running out here soon.
The best thing about that game is over, and no one seemed to get hurt. Now a few more days off before heading to Montreal for an always marquee Saturday night Hockey Night In Canada matchup. Go Pens.