Last night the Boston Bruins took on the Pittsburgh Penguins for one of their last three games of the regular season. Coming off of a hard fought victory over the New York Rangers Sunday night, it was expected that the Bruins would be roaring and ready to go, with the mind set of playoff hockey. With an atmosphere mirroring what they can expect to see in the weeks to come from their home town crowd.
The two teams met up for their fourth and final time this season, Pittsburgh holding a 2-1 edge with Malkin scoring a goal and 3 assists for the Penguins, as Crosby had been out since their December 5th match-up with concussion-like symptoms. The Bruins gave Marty Turco the nod in net with Providence call-up Anton Khudobin as the back up, giving veteran Tim Thomas, a days rest. It would mark Turco’s fifth game starting in net. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh would get on the board first with star Sidney Crosby snapping a shot past Turco, just 7:41 in. Though there was a lot of back and forth action in the first, the Bruins didn’t show as much tempo and aggression as they had against the Rangers, the wear and tear showing in the way they carried themselves. The Penguins would go on to score again at 14:58 with Tyler Kennedy sneaking one just over the red line that Turco was unable to stop, and just as the period was about to end, good ole Benoit Pouliot crafted a nifty backhander on Johnson to cut the Pens lead to one.
As the second period began, the Bruins came out with the speed and aggression they lacked in the first, like a completely different team. Just 18 seconds in Milan Lucic sniped one top shelf on Johnson, tying the game at two. Unfortunately, referees began to come into play as the aggression between the two teams rose, so did the penalties, resulting in a five on three advantage for the Penguins, providing them with two power play goals, giving them a 4-2 edge heading into the third period.
Being a typical Bruins fan, it was expected that the Bruins would come out of the locker room surging with energy, ready to wipe the ice with the Pens as Andrew Ference tried to build momentum at the end of the second by taking on James Neal in a lengthy bout. Sadly, this only lead to more heartbreak as Crosby went on to score another goal on Turco, only to be greeted with a Mike Milbury approved “Crosby Sucks” chant from the crowd. The most exciting part of the third period came from the Lucic-Krejci-Peverley line as David Krejci threw the puck up ice to Lucic who threw a nice backhand, cross0ice pass to Rich Peverley, beating Johnson stick-side high. While there may not have been any fights in the third period, the physicality was still very much a factor as defenseman Johnny Boychuk went down hard to the ice and would need help getting back up off of a collision in the neutral zone. For Pittsburgh it would be Joe Vitale who would get in the way of a Chara blast, taking the puck right to the face.
The Bruins lost to the Penguins 5-3 in regulation, by the two goals the referees gave to the Penguins in the second period with a five-on-three advantage, stemming from a bogus tripping call. The Bruins provided a good effort against the Penguins, but didn’t play a full sixty from every player. There were shining moments that came few and far between that ended up hurting them in the end. While the Bergeron-Marchand-Seguin line had a few good opportunities, the Penguins shut them down with ease. As they head into the playoffs, they are going to need to find their legs and get a full, solid effort from all twenty guys on the ice. They are en route to Ottawa to take on the Senators with veterans Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas staying home, along with Johnny Boychuk who is getting an MRI on his left leg this afternoon, though thoughts remain hopeful for the defenseman. Lane MacDermid, Anton Khudobin and newcomer Torey Krug all get their chance in the spot light as Julien rests his key players for what is hoped to be a lengthy playoff run.