The Boston Bruins dominated nearly every column on the score sheet Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the score.
Boston netted four tallies and outshot the Penguins 33-20, yet the B’s only beat Pittsburgh by one goal, highlighting how costly unforced errors can be.
Although the Bruins on Friday seemingly sorted out the issues that have hurt them at times this season, some others reared their ugly heads. As a result, Pittsburgh should have been down and out heading into the third frame, but they instead were tied at three.
Based on statistics alone, some likely will point the finger of blame at Anton Khudobin, as he let in three of the 20 shots he faced. But Khudobin actually was the reason the B’s weren’t trailing after the Pens’ three-goal second period.
The 31-year-old continued his hot streak, providing a solid last line of defense — and the Bruins by and large stood strong in front of him. In the few instances when they slipped up, however, they paid the price.
After a power play goal started off the scoring for Pittsburgh, for example, Boston had a turnover near the blue line as they were trying to break out of the zone. With everybody out of position and scrambling to get back, the Penguins moved the puck with ease, finding Phil Kessel who buried his ninth goal of the season.
With goals from four players, as opposed to their average of two tallies per night, the Bruins clearly weren’t hampered by a lack of scoring as they have been in the past. What’s more, Khudobin’s performance as of late has been good enough to warrant head coach Bruce Cassidy relegating Tuukka Rask to the bench.
Despite that, Boston narrowly won a game in which it served half as many penalty minutes, blocked more shots, put more shots on goal and was more successful in the face-off circle than its opponent. So until the Bruins can relentlessly pressure teams for a full 60 minutes, without making costly turnovers, they will be forcing themselves to do more work than they have to in order to pick up a W.
The Bruins will be at TD Garden again Sunday to try and get their fifth consecutive victory against the Edmonton Oilers. Puck drop is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.
Here are some other notes from Bruins-Penguins:
— Boston native Matt Grzelcyk put on a show for his family as he scored his first NHL goal in just his second game since being called up from Providence.
— Charlie McAvoy showed once again why people are comparing him to Torey Krug. The defenseman carried the puck deep in the offensive zone to set up the Bruins’ second goal of the night.
— Production from the Bruins young guns played a big role in Friday’s win. The average age of Boston’s four goal scorers — Matt Grzelcyk, David Krejci, David Pastrnak, Sean Kuraly — is just under 25 years old.
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