Third period, 17:57, Penguins 3-2: Dennis Seidenberg, who has been playing an amazing game so far, just made a huge mistake.
Seidenberg makes a poor pass from his own goal line, and Brandon Sutter steps in front of the intended recipient, walks in and beats Anton Khudobin with a wicked wrist shot to give the Pens a 3-2 lead.
Third period, 14:33, 2-2: It looks like fatigue is finally starting to catch up with the Bruins.
The B’s looked like they were in good position defensively, but the Penguins just did a great job of moving the puck into the Boston zone, and Brandon Sutter just scored on a gorgeous wrist shot from the left wing to tie the game 2-2.
Third period, 13:42, Bruins 2-1: The Penguins are finally on the board.
Chris Kunitz has been one of the best offensive players in the game this season, and he continues that here. He just scored his 18th goal of the season, and the Pens are back within one.
Third period, 12:20, Bruins 2-0: If the Bruins are going to hold on to this lead, it’s probably going to be a white-knuckled experience.
The Penguins continue to come with pressure late in the third period, and the B’s are doing all they can to fend them off, but you’re battling the law of averages at this point.
Dennis Seidenberg is having a man’s game, by the way. He’s logged more than 22 minutes so far and he has three hits to go along with seven blocked shots.
Third period, 7:53, Bruins 2-0: Boston wasn’t able to score on the ensuing power play, but you have to think they’ll live with the last three or four minutes.
The Bruins came up absolutely huge on the penalty kill, killing off more than a minute of 5-on-3 against the league’s best power play and best offense.
They did get a little bit lucky, though. James Neal hit a post late in the 5-on-3, but you’ve got to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good.
Third period, 5:48, Bruins 2-0: What. A. Kill.
The Bruins somehow kill off the 5-on-3, and they’re helped along by a Pittsburgh penalty late in the second kill. Chris Kunitz tripped Johnny Boychuk behind the Boston net, and that ends the Pittsburgh power play. It will also give the B’s a pretty good chance to score on the power play once the Boston penalty is up.
Third period, 4:04, Bruins 2-0: Well, now the Bruins are really up against.
Anton Khudobin gets called for the rare high-sticking penalty, and Gregory Campbell will serve it. That means it’s 5-on-3 for 1:05.
Good luck with that.
Third period, 3:09, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are really about to get tested.
Patrice Bergeron just tripped Sidney Crosby, which means the B’s will have to kill off another penalty, this time without arguably their best penalty killer.
Third period, 0:01, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins open the third period with the two-goal lead, and they will be tested here on the back end of the back-to-back after finishing off the Senators just 24 hours ago.
Second period reaction: The Bruins don’t have much business being up 2-0 through two periods, but they will definitely take it right now.
You have to give credit for Anton Khudobin, who has stepped in and really shut down the Penguins so far. However, the B’s may be playing with fire right now. The Bruins were outshot 11-7 in the second period, and it felt a little more lopsided than that. The B’s got a late push where they evened things out a little bit.
The Boston penalty kill remains a big weapon for the B’s. They have killed off two power plays against the top-ranked power play unit in the league, thanks to an aggressive style of play. Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley have been fantastic on the penalty kill, and the Boston PK defensemen are also doing a fine job. Of course, much of that comes from Zdeno Chara, who is doing all he can to limit Sidney Crosby on the power play.
The Bruins aren’t necessarily known as a club that will block a ton of shots, but they have been doing that through two periods. They’ve already blocked 17 shots, including a game-high five blocks from Johnny Boychuk.
The Bruins are also once again dominating in the faceoff circle. They have a 24-15 edge in that department thanks to Peverley (7-for-8) and Bergeron (10-for-14).
End second period: The second period comes to an end with the Bruins clinging to a two-goal lead. It’s weird. It should feel like the Bruins have control of this game, but the Penguins definitely got the better of that period, but they weren’t able to get on the board.
We’ll have more in a couple of minutes.
Second period, 17:19, Bruins 2-0: We just had a good four or five minutes without a whistle, as the pace is starting to favor the Penguins.
The two teams are going up and down the ice, with the majority of the time being spent in the Boston end, though. The Penguins are starting to establish some possession in the Bruins’ zone, but the B’s are doing a good job of blocking shots and getting saves from Anton Khudobin.
The B’s probably can’t sustain this sort of pressure from the Penguins without giving up something at some point.
Second period, 9:42, Bruins 2-0: In the showdown between the top penalty kill and the top power play, the Bruins are winning the battle thus far.
They were able to kill off the second power play of the evening, allowing just one shot on the PK. Full marks go to Rich Peverley who did a nice job, including clearing the puck late in the kill. Patrice Bergeron also used his strength on his stick to clear a puck late in the kill as well to make sure the game stays as is.
Second period, 7:02, Bruins 2-0: Anton Khudobin is bringing his A-game in this one, and he’s the reason the Penguins are still looking for their first goal.
Khudobin has turned away 17 shots so far, six here in the first seven minutes of the second period. He’s about to get another test, though, as Brad Marchand gets called for tripping and goes off for the second Pittsburgh power play.
Second period, 0:38, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are looking to add to their lead, as they open up the second period with a two-goal cushion.
They killed the penalty to start the period as well.
Second period reaction: The Bruins played a tremendous first period, all things considered. It would be understandable if the B’s came out flat in the first period, especially given the fact they had the quick turnaround after playing Monday night in Ottawa.
Getting on the board early is huge, especially against a dynamic Penguins offense. Pittsburgh can put up goals in a heartbeat, and the best way to slow them down is to get at them first.
The Penguins are actually outshooting the Bruins, but it really hasn’t felt that way. Pittsburgh came on strong late in the period and they started to tilt the ice, but that was after the B’s controlled the tempo for much of the period. It’s no secret that the Pens want to get the puck and go through the neutral zone especially. They weren’t able to do that very often in the first period, which is obviously a testament to Boston’s defensive play so far.
Anton Khudobin, who wasn’t supposed to even play in this one, has been fantastic. He made a couple of big saves, especially a glove save on James Neal late in the period after a Dougie Hamilton turnover.
End second period, Bruins 2-0: The first period horn sounds, and the Bruins take the 2-0 lead to the room. They will, however, have to kill off 35 seconds of the Andrew Ference penalty.
A couple of quick things I failed to mention. The Penguins started to come with a greater intensity late in the period. Dennis Seidenberg came up huge, however, with a big save on a James Neal shot. Neal picked up the rebound and put it on net, but Seidenberg came sliding through the crease behind Anton Khudobin and made the stick save. A few minutes later, Dougie Hamilton got sloppy with the puck behind his own net and turned it over. Once again, it was Neal who picked it up, but the sniper was robbed in front by Khudobin with a beautiful glove save.
First period, 18:35, Bruins 2-0: The Penguins have started to turn it on, and now they get their vaunted power play on the ice.
Andrew Ference goes off for clearing the puck over the glass, and he gets the Bruins’ first penalty.
First period, 13:30, Bruins 2-0: I just spoke about a strong shift form the first line, and they just converted on their continued chances.
This time it was Tyler Seguin who beat Marc-Andre Fleury, and he did so with a beautiful goal. The young forward took a pass in the slot from Patrice Bergeron as the center came around the net and centered it to Seguin. From there, Seguin started to fall down but not before scoring on a wrist shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s right shoulder.
First period, 11:17, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins nearly made it 2-0 midway through the first, but Marc-Andre Fleury was having none of it.
Patrice Bergeron was able to stay strong on the puck and make a pass back to Brad Marchand on the slot. The Boston forward one-timed the shot on net, but Fleury made a shoulder save. Count that as another strong shift from that line, though.
First period, 7:29, Bruins 1-0: So far, so good for the Bruins, who have not only been able to get the game’s first goal, but they have also been able to slow down the Penguins’ offense so far.
The Penguins brought some good pressure in the first couple of minutes, but the B’s have withstood that and they’re now dictating the pace in the early going.
First period, 4:45, Bruins 1-0: We just mentioned that the Penguins have had some issues on the penalty kill this season, and the Bruins just took full advantage of that.
The B’s get the game’s first goal on a blast from the right point off the stick off Zdeno Chara for the power-play goal. That’s a big goal in the early going, especially given Boston’s quick turnaround.
First period, 3:03, 0-0: The Bruins will go to work against one of the worst penalty kills in the league after the Penguins make a mistake.
Pittsburgh was just whistled for too many men on the ice, and they’ll get the night’s first power plays.
First period, 0:30, 0-0: The Bruins and Penguins are under way in another highly anticipated matchup.
7:23 p.m.: This Pittsburgh team is all about offense this season, and as we mentioned earlier, we’ll see that in full force tonight.
While the Penguins are without Evgeni Malkin for the time being, they still boast four other players in the top 30 in points.
Crosby obvioulsy leads the way with 12-33-45 totals, but he’s had some help, too. One of those who has benefited from Crosby’s wonderful play has been Chris Kunitz. The veteran forward is pouring it on this season with 17 goals and 19 assists, and he is a plus-21. Not bad, huh?
7:10 p.m.: Anton Khudobin will make the start in goal for the Bruins on Tuesday evening in Pittsburgh.
According to Bruins radio play-by-play announcer Dave Goucher, the B’s had originally planned on giving the start to Tuukka Rask, but the No. 1 goalie is under the weather, according to Goucher.
It also looks like Jay Pandolfo will be reinserted into the lineup in place of Chris Kelly, who is out with that leg injury he suffered Monday night.
4:44 p.m.: Cam Neely just made his weekly radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and as always, he had a couple of good nuggets.
He gave a quick update on Chris Kelly.
“He’s doing OK,” Neely said. “We’ll find out more later. He hasn’t had a full evaluation by our doctors yet, but he seems to be OK right now.”
Neely said that the B’s will wait for the swelling to go down, and then he will be evaluated by the team doctors with an MRI included. However, if there’s really bad news regarding Kelly, Neely did a tremendous job of hiding it. He sounded at least a little bit optimistic, which would fall in line with reports from Monday night which indicated there was probably no structural damage.
“I’m as optimistic as I can be without knowing what’s going on,” Neely added.
4 p.m.: This is shaping up to be a classic matchup of offense versus defense. No one in the NHL has allowed fewer goals this season than the Bruins, and it’s not really even that close. The B’s have allowed 50 goals this season, which is eight fewer than the second-place clubs. The Bruins do have a few games in hand, but they’re still incredibly impressive defensively of course.
On the other side of the coin, no one even comes close to matching the offensive production of the Penguins. The Pens enter this game having scored a staggering 97 goals in 26 games. The next closest teams are Tampa Bay, Chicago and Anaheim in a three-way tie for second place with 85 goals. And only the Lightning have played fewer games than Pittsburgh of those teams, and it’s one fewer game. So unless the Bolts score 12 goals in their next game, the Pens’ lead is safe.
2:10 p.m.: We learned a little more about the Penguins’ lineup following the team’s morning skate.
Head coach Dan Bylsma revealed that Marc-Andre Fleury will be the Pens’ starting goalie. Fleury has been shaky to say the least as of late. The former No. 1 draft pick has allowed 11 goals in his last three appearances, and he’s allowed at least three goals in nine of his 18 games this season.
10:15 a.m. ET: So far, so good on the week from hell for the Bruins, but they’ll get another big-time test on Tuesday night.
The B’s continue their stretch of five games in seven days with a trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins. It marks the second leg of a back-to-back after Boston beat Ottawa 3-2 in a shootout Monday night. The Bruins are now 3-0-0 in the first half of back-to-back games, but they are only 1-1-0 in the back half of those instances so far this season.
As expected, the Penguins are among the NHL’s elite teams this season, entering Tuesday’s game in third place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind the Bruins. The Pens are also red-hot as of late having won five in a row.
They’re doing it for the most part recently without one of the best players in the world. Evgeni Malkin missed some time recently with a concussion. He returned briefly, but is out again with what’s being called an upper-body injury. Sidney Crosby once again looks like a Hart Trophy candidate, especially given his play in Malkin’s absence. The forward enters Tuesday on an eight-game point streak with 19 points in those eight games.
For the Bruins, it will be interesting to keep an eye on a couple of things. Tuukka Rask looked very good Monday night in Ottawa, but you have to wonder if he’ll make the start on back-to-back nights. This is obviously a pretty big one, so maybe Claude Julien throws his No. 1 back in there. We’ll also monitor what goes on with the Chris Kelly situation. As of right now, there’s no update on the forward after he left Monday’s game with an apparent leg injury.
Puck drop for this potential playoff preview in Pittsburgh is set for 7:30 p.m.
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