Bruins

Bruins fall to Penguins in overtime, 6-5

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Bruins fall to Penguins in overtime, 6-5

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan believes the bye week has arrived at a perfect time for his up-and-down team.

Pittsburgh took an early two-goal lead before the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions were forced to rally from a two-goal hole with the final three goals of the game against Boston. Evgeni Malkin's second goal of the game at 2:51 of overtime capped the rally, as the Penguins beat the Bruins 6-5 Sunday night.

"It will be both a mental and physical break for everybody and it should serve us well," Sullivan said of the team's mandatory five-day break. "I don't think it's a bad thing for us to get away from the game a little bit and recharge the batteries, so when we all come back we should be excited to play."

The Penguins, coming off a 4-0 win at the New York Islanders on Friday, got consecutive victories for the first time since Dec. 1-2 when they defeated Buffalo twice by a combined score of 9-1. The Penguins, who have just six wins in their last 11 games, moved into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, but are one point ahead of three teams tied for last place in the Metropolitan Division.

"To get results at this time of year is critically important because you can see how tight the league and our division is," Sullivan said. "There was a lot of adversity tonight, but I thought our guys stayed with it."

Phil Kessel set up Malkin, who one-timed a shot over Tuukka Rask's pad during a 2-on-1 for the game-winner. Malkin and Kessel scored power-play goals in regulation, while Kris Letang, Jamie Oleksiak and Riley Sheahan also scored for Pittsburgh.

Matt Murray stopped all six shots he faced in relief of Tristan Jarry, who made 14 saves on 19 shots before he was pulled after the Bruins' fifth goal.

Sidney Crosby had three assists after getting a season-high four points against the Islanders. Crosby, with points in five straight against Boston, had four points in 11 games before the last two.

"We were down, but we felt like we did some good things," Crosby said. "I think we've been resilient. They capitalized on some mistakes, but we stuck with it. We're starting to play with some speed and purpose out there."

Brad MarchandDavid PastrnakDavid BackesNoel Acciari and Ryan Spponer all scored in regulation for Boston. The Bruins lost, but earned a point for the 11th straight game (8-0-3). Boston has now totaled 22 goals in its last four games.

Rask, who hasn't lost in regulation since Nov. 26, stopped 29 shots for Boston.

Patrice Bergeron, who scored four goals one night earlier during a win against Carolina, briefly left in the first period after blocking a shot, but he returned. Bergeron, who played 18:12, said X-rays on his right foot were negative, but he needed stitches.

That didn't take away the sting of the loss.

"We got the start we wanted, but then we got away from our game and they took it to us," Bergeron said. "There are some breakdowns that are uncharacteristic of us, but we stuck with it and we got a point out of it. Obviously, we know that we can be a lot better."

Both teams let two-goal leads slip away.

Pittsburgh held a 3-1 advantage in the first period on goals by Oleksiak, Kessel and Letang. But Boston rallied with the next four goals from Marchand, Acciari, Pastrnak and Backes to open a 5-3 lead.

Malkin's power-play tally with 3.6 seconds to play in the second period pulled Pittsburgh within one and Sheahan's short-side goal off the rush 2:54 into the third period tied the score.

Murray stopped Marchand's penalty shot with 1:01 to play in regulation to force overtime, setting the stage for Malkin to end it.

"It's hard when you're up by two goals and then you end up being down the way we were," Sullivan said. "Just our ability to stay in it and respond is a great indicator of our team leadership."

NOTES: Penguins D Brian Dumoulin played after missing the previous two games with a concussion. ... Penguins D Chad Ruhwedel missed his sixth game with an upper-body injury. ... The Penguins scratched D Ian Cole and F Carter Rowney. Boston sat F Frank Vatrano and D Paul Postma. ... Pittsburgh reassigned D Frank Corrado to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Will take a mandatory five-day bye week before visiting Montreal on Saturday

Penguins: Will also take a mandatory five-day bye week before hosting Detroit on Saturday

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Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

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Bruins' Bjork out for season after undergoing shoulder surgery

TORONTO -- Anders Bjork's up-and-down rookie season has come to an end, as the Bruins' left wing underwent left shoulder surgery this week that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the next six months. 

Bjork was knocked out of a Jan. 30 loss to the Anaheim Ducks when Francois Beauchemin caught him with a cross-check to the left arm, but it’s unclear whether he was already playing through some level of shoulder injury prior to that collision. According to the B’s release, the 21-year-old winger “underwent successful left shoulder arthroscopy and labral repair on Tuesday” at Mass General Hospital. Bjork had been spotted around the Garden in recent weeks wearing his left arm in a sling, but it was difficult to guess the severity of the injury based on what looked like a fairly run-of-the-mill hit from Beauchemin. 

The injury and season-ending surgery ends a bit of a lost year for Bjork, who cracked the Opening Night roster and finished with 4r goals and 12 points in 30 games.

He showed the speed and skill required to be a top-6 forward at the NHL level, but also appeared to need more development time when it comes to battle level and adjusting to the physicality level in the pro game. The former Notre Dame star never seemed to fully bounce back from getting steamrolled in the neutral zone by Matt Martin in the middle of November, and ended up spending time in Providence as well prior to his season-ending injury. 

Bjork’s injury certainly doesn’t rule him out completely as a trade asset ahead of Monday afternoon’s trade deadline, but it probably makes him less attractive to NHL teams looking for young, NHL-ready talent that can step into their lineups right now. With Bjork headed for the long-term injured list and Frank Vatrano traded to the Florida Panthers for a third-round pick, that certainly opens the door for both a) a deal to bring on a veteran rental winger ahead of the trade deadline and B) a spot to be opened up in the Bruins organization for Ryan Donato when the Harvard University star, currently at the Olympics, is ready to sign.

Those are both very good things despite the downer news about Bjork, who watched fellow rookies Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen live up to the expectations many had for him.

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Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

Bruins trade Vatrano to Florida for third-round pick

TORONTO – The Bruins are making more moves well ahead of the Monday trade deadline as they shipped injured winger Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick. 

The trade somewhat eases a crowded roster, essentially gives the B’s a replacement for the third-rounder they sent to the New York Rangers for Nick Holden earlier this week and gives them a solid return on an undrafted college hockey free agent that had fallen a bit this season on the B’s organizational depth chart.

Vatrano had two goals and a minus-3 rating in 25 games with the Bruins this season, but had typically been either a healthy scratch or strictly a bottom-six winger when he had been in the lineup this season. Vatrano, the East Longmeadow, Mass., native who turns 24 next month, had fallen behind Anders Bjork, Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen on the depth chart as two of the aforementioned three had locked down top-nine roles.

In that respect, it wasn’t much of a surprise to hear Vatrano getting moved as he’d hit a wall in his development with the Bruins after scoring 20 goals in his first 108 career NHL games and lighting up the AHL as a goal-per-game player. Now, Vatrano will get a chance to rekindle that goal-scoring ability with the Panthers and prove that he’s more than the one-dimensional player he appeared to be in three seasons with the B’s.

There was some thinking Vatrano might have served as a trade asset to be utilized in one of the potential deals that the Bruins have cooking for a rental wingers Patrick Maroon, Michael Grabner, Rick Nash or Thomas Vanek. Instead, general manager Don Sweeney scoops up a solid draft pick asset for a player that was sitting on the bench for the Black and Gold. That's a solid piece of asset management in a trade deadline period that so far is going very well for the GM.

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