The Boston Bruins were determined to avenge their 5-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that occurred earlier in the week. The Bruins came out strong, but the Penguins were able to match their energy and eventually took an early 2-0 lead.
In the second period, the Bruins stepped up their physical play and were able to claw their way back into the game. With big hits and scoring chances being generated on every shift, the two clubs put on an entertaining tilt that had the fans in attendance on their feet for most of the third period.
The opening minutes of the first period saw the Bruins controlling the pace of the game with solid pressure on the Penguins, forcing the visitors to ice the puck on a few occasions. By applying pressure to the Penguins’ defense, the Bruins were able to generate two excellent scoring chances early.
On the first opportunity, Bruins forward David Krejci stepped in the slot and rang a shot off the crossbar. The second scoring chance belonged to Brad Marchand on a point-blank shot, but Matt Murray was able to make a big stop to keep the game scoreless.
The Penguins were able to open the scoring at the 12:23 mark of the frame. Justin Schultz attempted to make a centering pass to Conor Sheary, but the puck found the stick Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, and he accidentally knocked the puck into his net.
One shift after putting the puck in his net, Carlo took a cross-checking penalty, and the Penguins potent power-play wasted no time opening their lead to two. Sidney Crosby sent a pass across the offensive zone to former Bruin Phil Kessel and buried a one-timer for his 15th goal of the year.
The Bruins received two power play opportunities of their own but were unable to score on four total shots with the man advantage. By the end of the period, both teams had 13 shots on goal.
From the first shift to the last shift, the second period was very eventful. The period started with a power play for the Penguins after an Adam McQuaid penalty in the opening minute. It looked like the visitors were going to add to their lead until Marchand got a breakaway and recorded his 20th goal and third shorthanded tally of the season.
About five minutes after netting his first goal, Marchand struck again for his second goal of the period after David Pastrnak took a shot off a faceoff and the rebound popped out to Marchand’s stick. The goal tied the game at two with a little more than 13 minutes remaining in the frame.
The fans at the TD Garden got the chance to cheer again about halfway through the frame when Riley Nash tipped Torey Krug’s shot past Murray to give the Bruins their first lead of the contest. The goal came during 4-on-4 play after Trevor Daley and David Backes squared off in front of the Bruins’ bench.
After Backes and Daley got together, the physical play from both clubs stepped up as emotions ran high. A few shifts after serving his penalty, Backes laid a big hit on Kessel which resulted in all 10 skaters on the ice gathering along the boards. In the closing minutes, Penguins forward Scott Wilson challenged Colin Miller to a fight to try and bring momentum back the Penguins way.
At the conclusion of the second frame, the Bruins were up 3-2 and leading on the shot board 29-17 as well.
The Bruins opened the final period on the power play and were able to take advantage of the opportunity as Patrice Bergeron roofed a puck past Murray during a hectic play in front of the net. Bergeron’s 11th tally of the season gave the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
Following the goal, the Bruins controlled the game and were building momentum over the Penguins by generating a lot of offensive zone time and remaining very physical. They would end up losing Carlo to a lower-body injury and had to play the rest of the game with five defensemen.
With the Bruins’ offense surging, the Penguins had to find a way to get back in the game, and Patric Hornqvist delivered the much-needed boost the visitors needed. Chris Kunitz stripped a puck from Zdeno Chara behind the Bruins’ net and found Hornqvist wide-open for an easy tap-in to cut the lead to one with nine minutes left.
A flurry of penalties with under five minutes remaining set up a wild end to the contest. Bruins forward Matt Beleskey went to the box first after being found guilty of a delay-of-game penalty. On the ensuing power play, goaltender Tuukka Rask made a huge pad save on a Kessel one-timer and immediately after Kunitz rang a shot off the post, but the puck stayed out of the net.
The Bruins were able to kill off Beleskey’s penalty and then found themselves on the power play after Daley was sent off for hooking. However, the power-play did not last long as Pastrnak was penalized for tripping with 1:16 left on the clock.
Coach Mike Sullivan elected to pull his goalie for the remaining 1:16 to give the Penguins an eventual 6-on-4 power-play. The Penguins were unable to cash in as the Bruins held on to take the 4-3 victory.
PIT-Justin Schultz (8) Unassisted
PIT-Phil Kessel PP (15) assisted by Sidney Crosby (27) and Justin Schultz (27)
BOS-Brad Marchand SH (20) assisted by Patrice Bergeron (13) and Kevan Miller (4)
BOS-Brad Marchand (21) assisted by David Pastrnak (17) and Brandon Carlo (8)
BOS-Riley Nash (3) assisted by Torey Krug (27) and Dominic Moore (7)
BOS-Patrice Bergeron PP (11) assisted by David Pastrnak (18) and Ryan Spooner (17)
PIT-Patrick Hornqvist (12) assisted by Chris Kunitz (15)
THW THREE STARS
First: Brad Marchand (two goals)
Second: Patrice Bergeron (GWG and one assist)
Third: Justin Schultz (two assists)
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Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.