It was disappointing to see the winning streak come to an end tonight. Maybe it was the road finally catching up with the team? Or the fact that tonight’s game was their fifth in eight days?
How about the fact that the Penguins were better for most of the night. As Claude Julien said after the game, the Bruins “played probably half a game.” With the Penguins playing last night and getting to Boston late, the Bruins were able to jump out and take the early advantage over the visitors. Michael Ryder, in particular, had a strong first period and if not for a great pad save by Marc-Andre Fleury the Ryder and the Bruins could have had a lead two minutes into the game. I’d say it was right around the 12:00 mark of the first when the Pens began to take control.
With the Penguin forecheck hampering the Bruins into the second period the B’s actually broke the ice in this one. Zdeno Chara’s cross ice pass to Milan Lucic started the attack. Looch led David Krejci over the blue line and he slowed the play down at the line. A deft backhand pass to Chara in the slot and the big captain faked the slapshot and picked the corner on Fleury. Fleury had no chance on the goal as Milan Lucic made his way to the top of the blue paint after finding Krejci. Chara used the big screen to his benefit and a 1-0 lead.
The Pens followed up the Chara goal with a strong shift and less than three minutes later, the game was tied. With the Bruins pressing for a second goal, Michael Ryder and Johnny Boychuck both had good chances to score. Boychuck had two point shots that were stopped but his third time was not a charm. He took too much of a risk at the center of the blueline and whiffed on his shot leading to a Pens two on one breakout. Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy traded passes until Stall was left with an open net to tie the game. I thought Chara played the odd man rush badly. He didn’t completely take the pass away so while Tim Thomas played Kennedy as the shooter, once his pass connected with Staal, all he had was 24 square feet of net to shoot at. Just 1:10 later, off a series of short passes in the offensive zone, Dustin Jeffery beat Thomas and the Pens doubled their lead.
The Bruins played with more desperation in the third period than they did in the first two combined. Even still, it wasn’t enough until the final minute when Thomas came off the ice for an extra attacker. What a series of events that led to the Bruins game tying goal. Ulf Samuels…..uh, Matt Cooke (same thing to Bruin fans) carried the puck over the left wing and fired on the open Bruin net but Tomas Kaberle closed the pads and sent the puck up ice. With the puck in the Pens zone, Nathan Horton fought through the forecheck forcing a bad clearing pass. The B’s kept the puck in the zone and dumped into the right wing corner where Mark Recchi chipped the puck a little deeper. Milan Lucic passed the puck behind the net to Nathan Horton wohimmediately found Krejci in the slot. Krejci picked the top corner with 32.5 seconds left in the game to send the game into OT.
It didn’t end well for the B’s. A couple minutes into the OT period, Dennis Seidenberg’s pass to Michael Ryder was picked off by Dustin Jeffrey. His speed caught Seidenberg flat footed and he blew past him, shifted the puck to his forehand and chipped the game winner over Thomas’s pad but under his armpit.
Patrice Bergeron missed tonight’s game for personal reasons. He is expected to return to practice on Monday morning to prepare for Tuesday night’s test with the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Matt Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, played his third NHL game of the season and his career, all against his hometown Penguins. Bartkowski was called up to replace Steve Kampfer who is out at least a week with a concussion.
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Written by Jim Mulligan