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Sunday, March 6, 2011

All good things must come to an end, Bruins style

As much as I might dream about it, the Boston Bruins were bound to lose a game at some point after they had won seven straight entering last night vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The fact that they lost 3-2 to the scrappy Penguins (38-21-8) wasn't surprising in the least bit. However, it's the Bruins (38-19-8) so they have to remind you that they do losing like nobody else.

With goaltender Tim Thomas (36 saves; 29-8-7) pulled for an extra attacker, David Krejci tied it up with 33 seconds left in regulation to send it to overtime. It was Krejci's 10th of the season and it was the result of beautiful triangular passing from Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton.

All that joy was quickly curtailed as Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had an unforgivable giveaway in his own zone that led to Dustin Jeffrey's second goal of the game, unassisted and 1:52 into overtime.

The Bruins still got a point out of the game but they didn't really deserve it. With the Flyers loss yesterday, Boston had a chance to pull within one point of Philly.

Yet there seemed to be no urgency from the Black and Gold as they were continually pushed around by the Penguins who are without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. The best way to describe Pittsburgh is that they're annoying to play against. They win all the one-on-one battles, they play with an edge and they seem content to do whatever it takes to win since they know they're missing their top-end talent at the moment.

Zdeno Chara gave the Bs a 1-0 lead in the second period, assists to Krejci and Lucic on the captain's 11th of the season. It came at 7:26 as he took a nifty backhand feed from Krejci, stepped into a soft part of the Pens' defense and snapped a shot over Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury's (29 saves) shoulder.

The Penguins quickly responded as Jordan Staal tied it up at 10:09 with assists from Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke. The play started since Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk got caught too far up ice when he tried to keep the puck in Pittsburgh's zone.

Jeffrey made it 2-1 at 11:19 of the second period when his quick release got under Thomas' leg pads. Maxime Talbot and Zbynek Michalek had the assists.

Patrice Bergeron was home in Canada dealing with some family issues and his two-way game was missed although Rich Peverley looked solid in his spot. Steve Kampfer is expected out at least for the next week as he gets over his mild concussion and Andrew Ference is still shelved with a lower body injury. Matt Bartkowski got his third call up of the season, ironically all against his hometown Penguins. Haven't seen enough of him yet to form much of an opinion.

The Bruins will need to regroup ahead of what's always an emotional game: at Montreal on Tuesday. Last time those teams met, it was the 8-6 bonkers win for Boston. Who knows what will happen next with the ancient rivals?

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