The first two games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins took place in back-to-back games in December resulting in losses of 3-0 and 6-2 for the Penguins. Those losses came as the Penguins were still going through learning a learning curve under Mike Sullivan.
Fast forward two months later, not much changed in the result column as the defensive-minded Bruins took advantage of their opportunities early and exploded late to a 5-1 victory in Boston.
Boston opened the scoring in the first period as the result of a David Pastrnak penalty-shot goal at 16:00 of the first period. The play started in the Boston zone as Sidney Crosby got abused with multiple cross-checks by Bruins defensemen that went uncalled and then somehow Derrick Pouliot got whistled for the penalty-shot.
In the second period, Pastrnak picked up his second goal of the game thanks to a brutal turnover by Olli Maatta behind his goal line trying to make a play with the puck on his backhand that went directly to Pastrnak, who easily worked his way to net and around Marc-Andre Fleury for the goal.
Less than a minute later, Oskar Sundqvist skating down the left-wing sent a good wrist on Tuukka Rask that laid there for a hard-charging Tom Kuhnhackl that tried to slow down and stop but the momentum allowed him to knock the puck into the goal and after video replay, call on the ice stood. It was the first NHL point for Sundqvist.
Fleury struggled handling the puck all game long like this one in the first period. During the NBC Sports Network telecast, Pierre McGuire asked Sullivan about Fleury's struggles and he didn't avoid the issue saying they needed to get better but did say Fleury has done well this year.
But not all was bad for Fleury on this night as he did what he always does, he stood on his head and made a number of quality saves to keep the team into the game through two periods.
Under 10 to play, Pens had a chance with Chris Kunitz on left-wing but he had the puck blocked by Adam McQuaid behind the goal, then lost possession to Hayes who started the transition up the ice. It was like skating through Swiss cheese for Ryan Spooner as he was able to fly up the ice without much of a defense by Pouliot. This allowed Spooner to feed an easy pass by Pouliot for Hayes' tap-in behind Fleury.
This opened up the flood gates with 5:34 to play as Landon Ferraro scored on a breakaway to make it 4-1 and seal the game away to lead the Bruins to a season series sweep of the Penguins, outscoring them 14-3.
But the Bruins weren't done as they went up 5-1 just a minute later on a Brad Marchand goal. It was his 31st goal of the season.
Rask finished with season high 41 saves but most were average shot quality.
1. Once again the power play couldn't get it done without Evgeni Malkin in the lineup. It is now 1 for 23 (4.3%). Malkin's return on Saturday couldn't come any sooner.
2. The WBS 'kids' have scored 5 goals and 5 assists in the last four games.
3. Scott Wilson and Landon Ferraro dropped the gloves for a quick fight in the second period. It was only the Penguins 6th fighting major this season, Wilson's second for the team lead.
4. The tear Sidney Crosby wasn't going to last forever but the team needs more from him as the team has gotten help from the younger players. In Crosby's last 7 games, he has 1 goal, 2 assists, and 12 shots.