Thursday saw the Pittsburgh Penguins invade TD Garden. The defending Stanley Cup Champions left on the short end of an 8-4 scoreline. Make no mistake about it, this was a statement win from the Bruins. The past few weeks the red hot pace the team was playing at had cooled a bit, which is to be expected in an 82 game season. This past Saturday, the Bruins lost a in heartbreaking fashion to Toronto, which saw the leafs take over second place in the Atlantic Division. The very next day saw the Buffalo Sabres crush the B’s 4-1. Reeling a bit, the Bruins gutted out a 4-3 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Last night saw the Bruins return to their dominant form.
Earlier in the week the Bruins were dealt a dose of bad news. Number 1 center, Patrice Bergeron was sidelined with a fractured foot. He will miss 2 weeks minimum, and this has opened the door for some new faces. Last night against Pittsburgh two players made their Bruins debut.
Nick Holden skated in his first action as a Bruin playing on the third D pair with Kevan Miller. Holden slotted in for Rookie, Matt Grzelyck who took the game in from the 9th floor as a healthy scratch.
Veteran forward Brian Gionta made his Bruins debut in place of Danton Heinen, who needed to take a game in from the 9th floor as well. Gionta is coming straight from the Olympics, where he impressed enough to earn a pro contract win the Bruins.
It was the Penguins who struck first in this one, Olli Maatta fired a slapshot past Tuukka Rask just .35 seconds into the game.
Brutal start from the Bruins for fucks sake. Four guys caught staring at Evgeni Geno Malkin, who dished a cross-slot feed for Maatta to bury. The warning signs were all there that this would be a long night for the Bruins.
Luckily this years team doesn’t quit, or fall into a funk. The Bruins immediately put the pressure on the Penguins. Just 1:45 into the game Rick Nash stormed down the right wing, and slipped a backhand pass for David Krejci. Krejci was able to get his stick on the puck as he crashed into Pens goalie Casey DeSmith.
This is when the barrage began. David Pastrnak’s one-timer deflected off a casserole nonsense in front of DeSmith. The puck slowly trickled in to make it 2-1. (Boy does DeSmith blow). Riley Nash would be credited with the goal later on.
Just two and a half minutes later Rick Nash deflected a centering pass over the shoulder of DeSmith to make it 3-1. DeSmith was yanked from the game having only played a shade over 5 minutes.
After the Bruins quickly built a 2 goal cushion, Phil Kessel buried a short side goal on Tuukka Rask. Kessel got the puck below the goal line, fired off the back of Rask’s legs, and into the net. Brutal from Rask, who wasn’t covering his post properly.
A few minutes later, Brian Gionta fed David Backes on the Right Wing hashmarks. Backes took the feed and ripped a snap-shot top shelf. 4-2 Bruins with less than half the period remaining.
Tory Krug added a 5th goal with just over 2 minutes left to play in the first. Just when you thought the Bruins were going to get out of the period up 3, Riley Sheahan fired a slap-shot past Tuukka Rask with just 3 seconds remaining in the first. Pathetic goal to give up by Rask. Sheahan is a fourth line center, and should have no business firing a slapped past Rask if he can see it cleanly.
The start of the second period saw the Bruins take over. Bruins newcomer, Nick Holden fed David Krejci in front of the net with a beautiful pass, and Krejci slotted home his second of the night. Later on the power play ole’ yeller, Brian Gionta had the puck in front of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry (who?). Gionta drew both Penguin defenders, and slid a backhanded no-look pass to a wide-open Krejci, who completed his hat trick.
David Pastrnak and Olli Maatta each added another goal making the score 8-4 Bruins.
In what was a spirited affair the Bruins put a beat down on the Penguins in a statement win. The biggest moment of the game wasn’t any of the barrage of goals scored by the black and gold. The game had gotten a bit chippy in the second period, and the Bruins were on the penalty kill. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for all 2 minutes of the kill, and played an additional 1:05 minutes when Jamie Oleksiak challenged him to a fight:
This is why Zdeno Chara still wears the “C” for the Boston Bruins. At 40 years old he played 3:05 minutes in a row, and tuned up a 6’7, 255 pound Oleksiak. Big Z can still play.
Overall, it was a massive victory for the Bruins, who still need to show they belong at the top of the standings. The additions Sweeney has made are fitting in beautiful. It should be an awesome stretch run. Let’s go Bruins!