The Boston Bruins hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at the TD Garden this afternoon. It was the third time they’ve played each other and the first here in Boston. Both games in Pittsburgh, it was the Penguins jumping out to big leads only to have the Bruins come back to steal victories from the Pens.
With the exception of the result, today was no different. Chris Kunitz’s first period goal combined with Pascal Dupuis’ early, first minute, second period tally put the Bruins in a two goal hole. The game was deceptive from a Bruins perspective. During the first period, the B’s were outshooting the Penguins by a 7-2 margin because they were benefitting of a couple power plays. As soon as the second power play ended, Bruin ‘hero’ and all around good guy, Matt Cooke, stepped out of the penalty box and led a rush down the right wing. Cooke’s cross ice pass to Jordan Stall was immediately touched back to the slot for an easy tap in by Chris Kunitz. It was called a goal on the ice but it was reviewed because the puck did go off of Kunitz’s skate but he definitely did not kick the puck in.
Tuukka Rask had his issues in that first period with rebounds and the goal. His rebound control was sloppy, leaving juicy morsels all over the ice but fortunately no Penguin ever got to the loose pucks. On the Kunitz goal, Rask was three feet outside the crease over-committing to Jordan Staal and once he made the pass to the slot, the Bruins were doomed on the play.
The line of Staal, Kunitz and Cooke was the best unit for the Penguins. They scored two of the three Pens goals and were in the Bruins collective grill all afternoon.
Pascal Dupuis scored 41 seconds into the second period doubling the Pens lead. Tough break for the Bruins. Zbynek Michalek broke his stick on a shot from the point and the puck somehow trickled through the maze of players in front. Dupuis picked up the puck behind the net, turned and banked the puck off of Rask.
For the most part, the Bruins offense was a paper tiger today. They were outshooting the Penguins but until Dennis Seidenberg’s cannon blast with 8:32 left in the second period, they never really threatened the visitors. His shot found the way through a double screen and Marc-Andre Fleury had no chance on the shot.
Just 13 seconds later Michael Ryder tied the game and Dan Bylsma had seen the Bruins come back on his team too many times this season. “…we had played some good hockey. We made a couple mistakes that led to their first goal and in it’s transition we don’t have a great gap and they score the second one and at that point, now they’ve totally erased the first 30 minutes of the game. So we just wanted to get back focused on playing the way we want to play and get to the offensive zone and try to wear them down with some good offensive zone shifts and that was really the focus.”
So after half the game in which the Pens controlled the play, the Bruins had a good 15 seconds of actual game time and they were all tied up against a team that they have had two come from behind wins. They had them right where they wanted them. HA!
Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke combined in the third period for the game winner. It wasn’t pretty as Stall knocked a backhander past Rask but the play was made be Cooke. His blind, backhand pass to Stall was a beauty. The Bruins didn’t lie down in that third period. They brought 20 shots on goal in the final period and 46 shots for the game.
The Bruins lost Steve Kampfer with a broken nose today. In a play down in the corner, Zdeno Chara got his stick up on Pascal Dupuis and Kampfer shattering his nose. It was a weird scene at the Garden because after Kampfer went down, Pittsburgh had control of the puck and once the Bruins touched it, then the whistle blew. Only to have Pascal Dupuis from Pittsburgh go to the box with a double minor for high sticking. Jordan Staal gave me his thoughts on the call, “We knew it was a tough call. The ref came back and admitted he made a mistake. Our team did a good job of digging in and killing off what we had there. We didn’t complain we just went out and worked hard.”
Marc Savard was tagged midway through the third period. With his history against these Penguins, the sight of seeing him flat on the ice was a bit nerve racking. Afterwards, Savvy had a couple thoughts about the hit and how he was feeling. “A little woozy, to be honest with you. But we’ll see how I feel the rest of the day here tonight and stuff…”
For someone coming off the concussion he had, this is not good news. His progression has been slow at best and now a potential shot like this can’t possibly bring good news.
Now the Bruins have two critical games back to back. On Monday, the Carolina Hurricanes come to town for another matinee and Tuesday it’s onto North Carolina for the back end of the home and home.
Tomorrow is a big day for the Patriots. Be sure to get both sides of the “arguement” from the NFL guys here at Prosportsblogging. For the Patriots, check out David Reid’s thoughts from the “good guy” side and please do check out Gabe Hidalgo’s response from the blowhard Jets here.
As always – Go B’s and DEFINITELY GO PATRIOTS TOMORROW!!!
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Written by Jim Mulligan