The defending Stanley Cup champs limped into Boston chock full of injuries and struggling through their worst stretch of the young season, but Tim Thomas and the Bruins weren?t about to give the Penguins any sympathy.
Thomas kicked aside all 27 Penguins shots en route to a 3-0 B’s win and his second shutout of the season. It was also the first time this season that the Bruins have won back-to-back games.
Zdeno Chara won the battle between the game?s best defenseman and the league’s top forward as the Bruins captain notched over 25 minutes of ice time and kept superstar Sidney Crosby at bay.
Bruins 3, Penguins 0
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Nov. 10, 2009
Headliner: Thomas broke a four-game personal winless streak as he stopped all 27 shots he faced, including 13 in the second period alone. It was Thomas? first victory in more than two weeks, his first since a 4-3 win over the Senators back on Oct. 24 in Ottawa.
Thomas almost lost the shutout thanks to an odd bounce off the boards with just under six minutes to go. After a Pens attacker dumped it in and Thomas skated behind the net to play it, the puck caromed off the boards and bounced straight toward the empty Bruins net. The puck hit the inside of the post before a diving Thomas was able to knock it away as Pittsburgh’s Michael Rupp attempted to poke it in.
Grinder: Matt Hunwick?s individual effort got the B?s on the board in the second with the eventual game-winner. The young defender was denied on his initial stuff attempt on the near side of Marc-Andre Fleury‘s net, but Hunwick circled around and was able to pick up his rebound on the other side of the net before finding the top shelf for the first tally of the game. The goal was initially waived off and play continued for well over a minute before the next whistle. That?s when the officials were able to review the play and overturn the call to give Hunwick his fourth tally of the season and his first point in eight games.
Veteran winger Mark Recchi picked up his 900th career assist on a beautiful feed to a breaking Daniel Paille, who buried the second goal of the game and his first as a member of the B?s. Steve Begin picked up a pair of assists on the night including a helper on Patrice Bergeron‘s shorthanded empty-net tally from inside his own blue line.
Weak Link: Sidney Crosby extended his career-long pointless streak to five games as Chara and the Bruins defensive unit shut him out.
Prior to his current drought, Crosby was riding a six-game point streak during which he had five goals and six assists. During this funk, Crosby has a minus-5 rating and 13 penalty minutes to go with nine total shots. Pens head coach Dan Bylsma attempted to shake things up for Sid the Kid by pairing him with Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko, but the switch went all for naught in the shutout loss. Pittsburgh has now lost three in a row and four of its last five games.
Key Moment: With the Pens already playing with a depleted defensive corps, Bruins’ resident caveman Mark Stuart smashed Pens defender Brooks Orpik with a body check behind the net in the first period. Orpik was unable to return for the second period, forcing the Pens? blue-liners to play even more shorthanded.
What’s Next: The Bruins are going from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows as they host the punchless Panthers on Thursday.
Florida is stuck in the basement of the East with just 11 points through its first 15 games played, although they have shown some promise on the road, posting three wins and one overtime loss in eight contests. Despite their 5-9-1 record, the Panthers have popped more goals (40) than the Bruins (38) in one fewer game played.
Leading the way for the Panthers has been Steven Reinprecht with nine goals and five helpers for a team-best 14 points. Nathan Horton leads the team with seven assists to go with his four goals. The 24-year-old winger also has a team-high 20 penalty minutes.
Thomas Vokoun has managed to keep a 2.99 GAA through 11 starts, but he is stuck with a 3-8-1 record. Former Boston College Eagle Scott Clemmensen appears solid in his backup role with a 2-1 record but has an ugly 5.14 GAA in four spot starts.