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Insider Only Post-Game Buzz: Letang’s excellent ‘center drive’ that drove Bruins back, key play on OT winner

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ON PENGUINS 3-2 OVERTIME WIN
The Penguins starting Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby together in overtime paid off as Malkin scored his second goal of the game, 32 seconds into overtime, leading the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night.
Pittsburgh opened up the OT session with Malkin, Crosby upfront and Kris Letang, Paul Martin on D, while the Bruins countered with three forwards and one defenseman, Patrice Bergeron, Riley Smith, Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg.

Marchand and Smith got caught deep behind the Penguins net and Pittsburgh went the other way as a 2-on-2 turned into a 3-on-2 with Kris Letang driving to the net and Sidney Crosby feeding Malkin for a cross-ice goal.
With Bergeron, an excellent defensive forward and Seidenberg back, the key play on the goal was Letang with the center drive as he drove Seidenberg back and a few steps over to the right side giving Crosby a free passing lane to Malkin to bury the one-timer.
“We tried it a couple games ago and I really liked them together,” Johnston said of playing Crosby, Malkin together. “I was hesitant earlier in the year, I wanted to get a little bit of balance, but I thought, ‘Geez, they had some great chemistry when they are out there with 4-on-4.’ And they’re dangerous on the rushes you saw. It was a great play from Sid to [Malkin].”
With no Zdeno Chara, the Penguins core had a strong night against the shorthanded Bruins with two goals from Malkin and Sidney Crosby scoring a first period goal.
Marc Andre Fleury made 27 saves on 29 shots, becoming the third fastest goaltender to 300 wins (547 games). Fleury was strong in the third period and got a few needed bounces earning his 12th win.
For the Bruins this was a game they have to feel good about themselves. Even playing shorthanded without Chara, Krejci, Kelly, McQuaid, they played the Penguins very well and gave up just one 5 v 5 goal.
This was a game that easily could have went either way and the Bruins were effective at creating offense at the cycle and Fleury came up with timely saves in the third period on a few defensive breakdowns from the Penguins.
What did the Penguins do differently, though, than in years past?

According to Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, he noticed a Pittsburgh team crashing the net more. Many pundits feel players have fed off Patric Hornqvist’s net-front presence and Rask hinted at that in quotes from the Boston Globe. “He’s that type of player,” Rask said of Hornqvist. “He crashes the net. I think their whole team did today. I think that’s a little different than in the past with them. We knew that was going to happen. They had a lot of opportunities because of that. Hornqvist is one of those guys that really brings that.”

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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