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Penguins vs. Bruins Recap: Pittsburgh ends Boston’s long point streak with 4-2 victory

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The Pens bounce back from last night’s loss with a big win. Jared McCann scores 2 goals in the 4-2 decision over the Boston Bruins

NHL: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lineups

Same as last night for the Penguins, which means Matt Murray is picking up both ends of the back-to-back and getting his eight straight game in the net.

First period

The game start great for Pittsburgh. Murray makes a big pad save on Bruins’ leading scorer Brad Marchand and the play goes the other way. Dominik Simon makes a nice, typically subtle play to dispossess Lee Stempniak from the puck. Patric Hornqvist keeps it in the zone and fires a shot on goal. Jaroslav Halak makes the initial save but the rebound is sitting on the doorstep for Nick Bjugstad to deposit in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead just 1:33 into the game.

The Bruins take a penalty for too many men on the ice, but Pittsburgh’s power play can’t do anything with the opportunity.

The Pens’ third line goes back to work and draws another penalty for the game’s second power play. This time Marchand almost scores again.

Boston gets their first power play when Justin Schultz shoots the puck over the glass. But it’s the Pens who score. Teddy Blueger intercepts the puck, Jared McCann takes off and Blueger bumps the puck up for him to have a breakaway. McCann speeds up the ice, and uses some fancy edgework to throw on the breaks as he dekes backhand, totally beating Halak for the whole side of the net. 2-0.

Boston takes Marcus Pettersson down and another penalty, but it’s negated when Evgeni Malkin takes a penalty of his own.

McCann is the next to go to the box for interference when he clears out a misplaced stick with about 30 seconds left.

Shots end up 15-8 for the Pens in an emphatically great period.

Second period

The Pens kill off the carryover penalty.

2:19 in Matt Grzelcyk seems to suffer a major injury when he gets hit by Patric Hornqvist. Grzelcyk’s arm is extended and that’s where Hornqvist ends up checking him. Looks like just bad luck and positioning to have an exposed arm take the brunt of a routine play. B’s are down to five defensemen in the game.

Boston gets their fourth power play of the game as the parade of penalties continue, Zach Trotman gets the gate for slashing. Murray makes two more big saves but leaves a rebound and after a pass, David Krejci is there to collect the puck and slide it in. 2-1 game.

Bergeron goes to the box for puck over the glass for Pittsburgh’s fourth power play, but they again come up empty handed.

As good as the first was for Pittsburgh, they’re unable to stop Boston much. Shots at one point are 13-4 Boston in the second.

But another nice move by Blueger forces Brandon Carlo to take him down. The Pens get a fifth power play, and finally score a goal. Boston jumps three players up on the rush and old man Zdeno Chara can’t quite get back in time after stepping up a little too far. Sidney Crosby rushes down the left wing and then Jake Guentzel jumps into the open space vacated by Chara. Crosby naturally hits him with a great pass, Guentzel goes to his forehand and lifts a shot over Halak’s shoulder. 3-1 Pens.

Shots in the second period end up 14-8 Boston, 23-22 Pittsburgh overall in the game.

Third period

No Zach Aston-Reese on the bench for the third, not sure what happened to him. Blueger double shifts on the Malkin line.

Trotman takes his second penalty of the game knocking over Chris Wagner about 4:30 into the third but the Pens kill it off.

The Pens keep the clock moving, Murray makes another great save on a Charlie McAvoy shot.

Malkin splits the defense and gets a good shot looking for career point #999 but Halak has the answer on this one.

Guentzel gets another great chance and he fires on a 2-on-1. Halak saves.

Bruins pull their goalie, Crosby just misses an empty net. That proves slightly painful when defenseman John Moore takes advantage of all the traffic in front and fires a goal in with 1:01 left to make it 3-2. The Bruins have been known for their furious late comebacks and hooo baby they’re buzzing now.

But the comeback won’t happen and the Bruins long point streak will die in Pittsburgh. McCann scores his second of the game into the empty net to make it 4-2 and remove all doubt.

Some thoughts

  • Mike Sullivan almost always 99/100 times will start the Crosby line for beginning of periods when at home. He played Malkin line because Boston was using the Bergeron line. Always interesting to watch the little cat and mouse games to try and free up Sid from Bergeron.
  • Special teams were a big part and turning point in this game with 10 minor penalties in the game, split down the middle with each team having 5 power plays. The Pens did well enough while down a man, they gave up one goal to the Boston power play, but that was cancelled out by McCann’s short handed goal. Then the Pittsburgh power play found the mark late in the second period for a key goal.
  • Interesting to see the personnel shift on the power play that generated the goal too. It was Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist with Pettersson and Schultz with them. Not sure if the Malkin/Kessel line was just winded from a shift but after giving up another shot attempt against, Sullivan went back to 3F/2D. Using Guentzel+Crosby together at this point makes too much sense.
  • The first two periods were completely opposite. Give the Pens credit, they started very fast, got to a 2-0 lead, looked like a stronger team. Boston woke up a bit after the first intermission and it was Pittsburgh left in the dust a bit and unable to keep up as Boston made it 2-1 and piled up a ton of shots in the first part of the second period.
  • By now it’s pretty evident coach Mike Sullivan is going to ride Murray until the wheels fall off, and at this point, why not? Murray was sharp again even in a b-2-b situation and his overall games played on the season are relatively low. Given his history, it’s reasonable to wonder if they’re exposing him to more injury possibility with more games, but at the same time, like Sullivan said, the team needs to play their best goalie now.
  • Murray was tremendous in this game too. The Pens defense, as expected with weak overall personnel are struggling to clear the zone and again gave up 41 shots against. They need the goalie to be the best player, no way around it. Luckily for them he’s been very sharp as of late.
  • Breaking the Bruins’ 20 game streak without a regulation loss is a nice feather for the cap.
  • We’ll have to see what happened to Aston-Reese. Didn’t look like anything obvious but missing the rest of the game obviously isn’t a good sign. The Pens don’t currently have any extra forwards scratched, so if ZAR is out for Tuesday they’ll need to call up a player from “Wilkes” as the players say.

Well, one streak busted tonight, and the Pens will be looking to break another streak on Tuesday, as the first place Capitals come to town riding a seven game win streak.