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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Boston Bruins can't close out a great week with another win over Pittsburgh Penguins, oh well
After coming back to beat the Penguins on Monday, blowing out the Senators on Wednesday and taking an epic meeting with the Flyers on Thursday, the Bruins were due for a letdown at some point.
They actually played decent as they hosted Pittsburgh (28-14-4) yesterday afternoon at the TD Garden but they fell 3-2 as the Bs (24-13-7) couldn't find the net in the third period despite putting 20 shots on Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (44 saves).
Sidney Crosby was out again (his fifth straight game) with the lingering effects of a concussion and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the best player in the NHL elevates his team from pretty good to Stanley Cup contender.
Chris Kunitz (from Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke) gave Pittsburgh an early 1-0 lead at 10:57 of the first period.
Gregory Campbell and Craig Adams fought a few minutes later in a solid lightweight bout.
Pascal Dupuis made it 2-0 41 seconds into the second period from Zbynek Michalek and Evgeni Malkin. It's funny to see the Penguins up close after having gotten to know them much more deeply in the excellent HBO series 24/7 featuring them and the Washington Capitals.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (33 saves) had another uneven start; he played well in stretches and Boston didn't lose because of him but when it was over he accumulated yet another loss.
Rookie defenseman Steven Kampfer had his nose broken by either a Dupuis or Zdeno Chara high stick so his day was over early in the second period. That was a factor as the Bruins' defensemen are already short-handed with Marc Stuart and Andrew Ference out.
Boston's power play is atrocious and not surprisingly, they went 0-for-4 and generated few real opportunities. I can't put my finger on why it's so bad since they can score plenty during even-strength. Strange.
Dennis Seidenberg got Boston on the board at 11:28 of the second period with a screened shot that found it's way past Fleury. Shawn Thornton and Campbell assisted. 13 seconds later Michael Ryder tied it up with an absolute snipe that went top shelf, from Marc Savard and Seidenberg.
Staal was the unlikely hero as he scored at 3:25 of the third period, giving the Penguins the game-winning goal with help from Cooke and Tyler Kennedy. Like the other two Pittsburgh goals, it wasn't a thing of beauty but rather hustle and effort from a team that can be scrappy when it has to be.
Boston dominated the third period with a million great chances that did everything but go in. The loss was disappointing but with 46 shots (that weren't all blasts from the point), I can't complain.
The Bs host the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow afternoon in a Martin Luther King Day matinee. I guarantee that Tim Thomas will be in net so Boston needs to take care of a team that's not particularly good but always seems to give them problems.