clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Penguins/Bruins Game Recap: Pens blow three goal lead, fall in OT

The Penguins were up 5-2 but snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and end up losing to Boston 6-5

Boston Bruins v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images


Kris Letang’s current Penguin ironman streak is over at 83 games due to an illness. Ironically, second place’s Jeff Carter is done too due to injury. Three new defense pairs get shaken up as a result of losing the top dog and Drew O’Connor makes his season debut.

First period

It doesn’t take long for the Penguins to get out to a lead. Sidney Crosby follows up the rebound of another shot and scores on Linus Ullmark just 30 seconds into the game.

A comedy of errors defensively leads to Boston’s first goal a few minutes later. O’Connor and Jeff Petry have some miscommunication with O’Connor poking a puck over to Petry that he is unprepared for. The Bruins shift to attack and AJ Greer takes it to the net. Tristan Jarry can’t cover it, and though the puck is rolling, Brian Dumoulin makes just a sad, sad failed attempt to clear it and also sees his momentum take him out from defending Charlie Coyle in front. Coyle is able to jam the loose puck past Jarry before the goalie can cover it. Not great all around, 1-1.

Boston takes the lead a bit later. The Pens lose the puck and Rickard Rakell loses his stick, which gets in Chad Ruhwedel’s way. Ruhwedel compounds the mistake by leaving his feet to block the passing lane. He fails to do so as Nick Foligno picks the wide open trailing Jakub Lako for the pass. With the lateral pass, Lako has a full net to score his first NHL goal with ease.

The Pens get the game’s first power play but nothing comes on it. Right as it expires, Marcus Pettersson loses a puck and ties up his player, sending Boston to their first power play. David Pastrnak gets pushed into Jarry but gives and extra shove to the goalie as the parade of penalties continues. Boston’s excellent PK takes care of the residual power play time and the period ends.

Shots in the first are 14-12 Boston.

Second period

The Pens start out strong again, Brock McGinn passes out from the corner and somehow it slides all the way to the far point for P.O Joseph. Joseph steps into a shot/pass that finds Evgeni Malkin to tap into the net and tie the game at 2 just 1:47 into the second.

Pittsburgh gets the lead back with the feisty fourth line getting on the board. Their energy pays off with Josh Archibald one timing a pass from Brock McGinn past Ullmark and the score is 3-2.

The Pens stay on the throttle and Bryan Rust makes it a 4-2 game. Dumoulin does well to get the shot from the point and Rust steers the rebound in.

Bing, bang, boom a third goal for the Pens in 1:54 and just 20 seconds after the Rust goal. Rakell unleashes his heavy wrister to the top of the net and that will end the night of Ullmark as he gets pulled for backup Jeremy Swayman.

The chewing out from coach Jim Montgomery pays off, the Bruins wake up, swarm the net and captain Patrice Bergeron knocks a puck from beside the net and into the goal.

But wait - that’s Mike Sullivan’s music. Bergeron’s skate contacted Jarry in the crease and helped to spin the goalie around. The Pens challenge for goalie interference. After review, the refs agree and the score remains a 5-2 Pittsburgh lead with 7:57 remaining in the frantic period.

Less than a game minute later, Boston makes it 5-3 for real this time. It’s another power play goal given up by the Pens. Ryan Poehling loses the d-zone draw and Pittsburgh doesn’t touch the puck again until it’s in their net, courtesy of a Brad Marchand goal.

Shots in the second end up 15-13 PIT, and 27 a piece for the game after 40 minutes.

Third period

The Pens draw a power play and on it, Bergeron crashes into Swayman with the goalie already in the splits and that stops the game. Now Ullmark has to re-enter the game due to injury, for another odd wrinkle in a chaotic game.

With 8:01 left, the Bruins draw within one goal and make it 5-4. Hampus Lindholm shoots from the point and Jan Rutta can’t neutralize the stick of Pavel Zacha who tips the puck and the Bruins keep hanging tough.

Boston pulls their goalie and ties the game with 1:17 to go. Taylor Hall spins and knocks the puck down and swings the puck into the net to complete the comeback.

Shots in the third are 11-8 Boston as they find two goals to force OT.


The Bruins control the puck for most of the first shift, Malkin gets on the ice and takes the puck to the net and is tripped, leading to a 4v3 power play. The Pens can’t score on it as the Bruins’ PK does the job again.

Back at 3v3, Boston rushes up the ice and wins the game with Lindholm skating almost the whole length of the ice and firing a shot clean past Jarry. 6-5 final.

Some thoughts

  • Mike Sullivan passed franchise icon Eddie Johnston for first place in team history in career games coached tonight at 517.
  • Per ESPN, Crosby’s opening minute goal was the 14th of his career and passes Mark Messier for most all-time in league history.
  • For all the talk of Brian Dumoulin’s decline, his play on the first Boston goal will haunt me for a while. Yes, O’Connor made an ill-advised decision to start the sequence. But 10 times out of 10 that is a play that 2016-2020ish Dumoulin erases with ease and bails the rookie out. Not anymore. Events like that have been far too frequent for what once was such a reliable defender.
  • Always hate when a defender slides too, except for the most desperate of circumstances. If you’re not Rob Scuderi and you’re not defending down low on the PK- just stay up right. Opens up way more options and availability on the play.
  • When Josh Archibald isn’t taking penalties, he’s drawing them. Tonight was his fifth drawn on the season.
  • Great game from that fourth line, and it was evident Mike Sullivan thought so too. Sullivan put them out for the second shift of the second period, just after the Crosby group and the pressure resulted in Malkin changing and scoring with some of that line on. Then McGinn had a nice scoring chance of his own, followed by his setup for Archibald’s goal (where Ryan Poehling would have drawn a penalty had the Pens not scored). Lots of energy and mayhem from that trio tonight.
  • With the game at 2-2, there was an under the radar but important statement made by Crosby. Ullmark squeezed a Rust shot under his arm, and well after the echo of the whistle Crosby made it a point to go out of his way to get in the Bruins’ goalie’s face. It wasn’t aggressive but it was a sure meaning after Pastrnak an AJ Greer had bowled into Jarry. Not long after, the goals started going in for the Pens.
  • Pittsburgh scored five ES goals, so special teams should not have been the difference in this game. But...special teams made a pretty big differences in the game. The Pens’ PP went 0-for-4 against the great Boston PK (including the chance for the OT dagger). Boston’s power play struck in the second to stem the tide of a game getting out of control and made a 5-2 score feel a lot closer for them to chip away once Marchand made it 5-3 right after the avalanche of Penguin goals.
  • Score effects bit the Pens too much, in a microcosm of the season so far the goals came in bunches, but were surrounded by plenty of sloppy play and mistakes that are finding a way to end up in the back of their net.

It’ll be a quick turnaround yet again, with Pittsburgh embarking on the second half of a third back-to-back of the season already tomorrow night in Buffalo.