GOLD STAR: Sidney Crosby didn’t score any of the six goals for the Penguins in the overtime win, but he finished with three assists and was involved in the most important play of the game. It was Crosby that made a quick, brilliant pass from below the goal line to a wide open Evgeni Malkin for a power play one-timer strike that got the Penguins to within a single goal with just three seconds to go in the second period. In all though, Crosby brought some of that “refuse to lose” spirit to a Penguins team that badly needed the points, and he wouldn’t allow them to give in even after blowing an early 3-1 lead. Crosby finished with the three helpers in 22:38 of ice time, had four takeaways and won 16-of-27 face-offs during a strong all-around game.
BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask simply wasn’t good for the Bruins in his biggest game in over a month. He gave up a pair of goals in the first period on 55-60 foot long distance shots that he was able to get a good look at, but somehow reacted late to before failing to stop. Then he gave up another soft goal in the third period on a game-tying score from the Penguins when he was off his angle, and that gave room on the short side for Riley Sheahan to shoot at. Rask did make 16 saves in the third period when the Bruins were clearly tiring on the second night of back-to-backs, and the Penguins starting goalie was even worse before getting pulled in favor of Matt Murray. Rask ended up stopping 29 of 35 shots in the game and helped the Bruins get a point, but the only reason Boston had to score five goals to get there was because the Bruins No. 1 was way off his game vs. Pittsburgh.
TURNING POINT: The turning point for the Bruins earning a point was the effort they showed in fighting their way back into the game in the second period. Down 3-1 after 20 minutes and in their final game before the five-day bye week starts for them, it would have been very easy for the Bruins to cut their losses, turn their heads to vacation and basically mail in the final 40 minutes. In fact we might have seen that out of this Bruins team just a couple of years ago. But these Bruins fight, scratch and compete down to the bitter end, and that means they are never truly out of any game they’re playing. The Bruins scored four goals in the second period, took control of the game and did enough to overcome a really rough first period. The fact they also did on the second night of back-to-back just makes it all the more impressive.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand finished with a goal and two points, a plus-1 rating and five shot attempts in 19:11 of ice time. Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak were all very good early in the game while generating offense and doing some fine work on the power play, and Marchand kept it going throughout. It was Marchand that had a penalty shot in the third period that could have iced the game when his breakaway chance was broken up by a nasty Jamie Oleksiak slash to his hand. Matt Murray ended up shutting the door on Marchand’s penalty shot attempt when he closed down the five-hole quickly, and that set up the overtime where Pittsburgh finally took home the game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of hits for both Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly, who continued to bring the blue collar fourth line game that helped draw a penalty and eventually set up a goal for fellow linemate Noel Acciari.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We should have been able to put it away. We pride ourselves on that. We didn’t. Give them credit. They can score goals and they can attack.” –Bruce Cassidy to reporters, on the B’s inability to close out a 5-3 lead before setting for a point in the overtime loss.