The Boston Bruins headed into last night’s game in Pittsburgh without a regulation loss since being beat in Montreal on October 29 (13-0-1). If anyone was end the Bruins streak it was to be the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Why is that you ask? Well it’s simple. The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference, have some of the best players the National Hockey League has to offer in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and are a team who can beat you in more ways than one — seems like a pretty good recipe to take down the Bruins, right?
When Tim Thomas is on top of his game, it’s hard to find any recipe to beat the two-time Vezina winner. Thomas made 45 saves for the Bruins in their 3-1 victory which helped his team move within a point of the Penguins for the lead in the Eastern Conference. Thomas absolutely stood on his head, but Crosby feels his club made it easy for Thomas.
“He made some good saves,” said Crosby, who registered five shots on goal in 21:03 of ice time. “We didn’t make it as difficult as we would like, but he definitely made some good saves when he needed to. Give him credit he made some good ones there, especially on that five-on-three.”
That five-on-three Crosby spoke of was one of two five-on-three power plays the Penguins failed to score on, something Bruins head coach Claude Julien knew made a big difference in the game.
“Our [penalty kill] guys did great and our goalie made the big save when we needed it,” said Claude Julien. “At the stage of the game where we killed off the 5-on-3 we could have easily let them back into it. We positioned ourselves well and didn’t make it easy for them.”
After a scoreless first period, Gregory Campbell somehow snuck one past Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury giving the Bruins the 1-0 lead.
Beniot Pouliot would double the lead for the Bruins not too long after Campbell’s second of the year. Pouliot sniped a beauty past the glove of Fleury, but he was very quick to give the credit to his linemates on that one.
“Nice pass there, And Marc-Andre [Fleury] is so good, you’ve got to get it off fast. I’m feeling better, yeah, but I have to thank my linemates [Peverley and Chris Kelly], they make it easy for me out there.”
Tyler Seguin’s power play goal, his 13th goal of the season extended the Bruins lead yet again; the goal came after a beauty of a deke and tape-to-tape pass from Patrice Bergeron.
Bruins villain Matt Cooke (just 10 penalty minutes all season) would beat Thomas giving the Penguins their only tally of the night, but the late strike for the Pens was too little too late.
A Bruins victory tonight and the B’s sit atop the Eastern Conference all by themselves, not bad for a team that started the season 3-7.