Boston 7 – Pittsburgh 4
Summary: A goaltending battle between statistically two of the Eastern Conference’s best goaltenders, turned into a high scoring affair Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh blew a 4-2 third period lead, surrendering five unanswered goals and losing the Boston Bruins 7-4 on Wednesday night at the Consol Energy Center.
It was an epic third period collapse from the Penguins who had control of the game.
Leading 4-2, the Penguins were rattled in the third period as Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara scored 15 seconds apart to tie the game at 4-4 less than 5 minutes into the game and past the mid-way mark of the period, Shawn Thornton and Blake Wheeler added third period goals, embarrassing the Penguins on home ice.
Milan Lucic added an empty net goal with 36 seconds left to finish off a 5 goal third period by the Bruins.
Boston pounced on the Penguins breakdowns turning Penguins turnovers into goals, in what was a total team effort from the Bruins. 15 Bruins skaters recorded atleast a point and Marc Recchi led all Bruins scorers with a goal and 2 assists.
Pittsburgh outshot Boston 46-to-33 in the game. Tim Thomas made 42 saves to improve to 8-0-0 in the game.
Brent Johnson fell to 6-2-1 on the season and the honeymoon might be over with Johnson. Johnson made 26 saves in the loss and has given up 11 goals in his last two starts.
Johnson did not play well and neither did his team in front of him. Head coach Dan Bylsma was critical of the errors his team made.
“We made some critical errors and critical reads in situations where we know the situation and we know the play to make and we didn’t make the play tonight, and left our goaltender in a difficult spot on a couple of those and we have to be better in those areas to be successful, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said in his post-game comments.
Sidney Crosby had a 3 point night for Pittsburgh, scoring a goal and adding 2 assists. Evgeni Malkin had a strong game, tallying 2 assists and was a force at both ends of the ice.
Kris Letang had two assists, joining Crosby and Malkin with multi-point games.
Arron Asham, Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh. Asham and Orpik both netted their first goals of the season.
The game was filled with fights early on as Eric Godard battled Shawn Thornton just minutes into the game, and at the 6:35 mark of the first period, Max Talbot squared off with Gregory Campbell.
Arron Asham who played a physical game, dropped the gloves with Adam McQuaid in the second period.
Pittsburgh host the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday night at home.
Dan Bylsma on his team’s mindset in the 3rd: “The talk in our dressing room and going out for the third, was managing the puck, playing the right way and making sure with our plays and where we played the game and making sure we came back. I didn’t feel that. Certainly they starting coming hard and taking advantage of some opportunites and miscues on our part”
Crosby Emerging in Points Race: Sidney Crosby’s three point night has elevated him to second in the league in points with 22. Crosby is two points behind Steven Stamkos for the league lead.
Malkin’s stellar play against Boston: Malkin continued his strong play against the Bruins. Malkin’s 2 assist effort gives him 10 goals and 8 assists in 15 career games against Boston.
Plus/Minus Report: Pascal Dupuis, Ben Lovejoy and Mark Letestu were all a team-worst minus-3 in the game.
Scratches: There were no surprises in the lineup as Chris Conner and Mike Comrie were scratched upfront and Deryk Engelland was a healthy scratch on the blueline.