UPDATED (10:40 P.M.)
One thing teams will learn against the Pittsburgh Penguins (19-8-0, 38 pts) is to not sit back.
The Boston Bruins (17-4-3, 37 pts) in control of the game, led 2-0 with under seven minutes in the third period but in back to back situations and a backup goaltender in goal, the Bruins were playing with fire as the Penguins were coming and erupted for three third period goals in a 4:15 span, en route to a 3-2 win over the Bruins on Tuesday night at the Consol Energy Center.
“We sat back too much on our lead,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said. “Nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Trailing 2-0, Chris Kunitz (18) scored a beautiful one-timer goal at 13:42 of the third period that got the Penguins rolling to cut the Bruins lead to 2-1, and Brandon Sutter (7, 8) would soon take over. Sutter would score 51 seconds later taking a James Neal pass off the rush and beating Anton Khudobin low glove side at 14:33 to tie the game at 2-2. Sutter then struck again scoring the game winner with 2:03 left in the third to cap off the thrilling comeback.
“I think in second and third we got to our game,” Sidney Crosby said. “Took a while but we stuck with it and it was nice to get rewarded.”
The Penguins outshot the Bruins 34-16 and wore down the Bruins as the game progressed. “Knew they played last night and wanted to keep going,” Crosby said. “That’s a big win for us.”
The Bruins had complete control of the game in the first period, scoring two first period goals, and were effective at clogging the neutral zone as the Penguins struggled to sustain consistent offensive pressure. Once the Penguins figured out to stop making stretch passes through the neutral zone to try to break the Bruins trap, they started getting to their game by getting pucks deep and pressuring more effectively on the forecheck.
“I felt really good about way we were playing,” head coach Dan Bylsma said prior to the Penguins erupting for three goals. “Second period we were pushing. Had a few scoring chances but weren’t able to break through. “We got that great goal from Kunitz, and team felt like we were going to get another goal,” Bylsma said.
“I liked the fact that our team kept playing,” Bylsma said. “Trying to get to the offensive zone and getting behind their defense. We didn’t give up a lot and kept pushing and kept playing.”
One player who was extremely effective at getting in on the forecheck and being physical with the Bruins big bodied defenders was Pascal Dupuis who had a team-high six hits and was targeting Zdeno Chara often on the forecheck.
Pittsburgh’s winning streak is now at six games and defenseman Brooks Orpik called tonight’s win the most exciting win of the season.
Player Notes
C Brandon Sutter – 2 Goals, +1, 3 SOG, 15:16 TOI 60% (9W-6L)
LW Chris Kunitz – 1 Goal, +1, 3 Hits, 21:18 TOI
D Kris Letang – 1 Assist, 8 SOG, 3 Hits, 27:49 TOI
D Deryk Engelland – 1 Assists, 2 Hits, 11:58 TOI
RW James Neal – 1 Assist, +2, 3 SOG, 2 Hits, 18:19 TOI
LW Beau Bennett – 1 Assist, +1, 2 SOG, 14:17 TOI
RW Pascal Dupuis – +1, 5 SOG, 6 Hits
C Sidney Crosby – +2, 3 SOG, 23:15 TOI, 40.7% (11W-16L)