Monday, December 5, 2011
Bruins Win 3-1 In Pittsburgh, Close To Within One Point Of Penguins Atop East
There are times as a Boston sports fan when you truly have to pinch yourself to realize how lucky we are and have been in the last decade. This happens all the time with the greatness of Tom Brady but lately, Tim Thomas has entered this same special Parthenon.
Thomas is unquestionably the greatest goaltender currently plying his trade in the world and he proved it again tonight with a season-high 45 saves in Boston's 3-1 win in Pittsburgh. It also extended his career-best winning streak to 10 games.
The Bruins (17-7-1) pulled within one point of the Penguins (16-8-4) atop the Eastern Conference thanks to the playoff-like victory. That makes Boston 14-0-1 in its last 15 games, not a bad stretch huh?
Pittsburgh outshot Boston 46-27 but honestly, that is skewed by the Penguins pair of two-man advantages, neither of which were successful. Probably the turning point of the game was when the B's killed off the second one which was a full two minutes since Rich Peverley (hooking) and Benoit Pouliot (goaltender interference) received penalties at the same time. No worries though even if Peverley's penalty was shady at best.
After a scoreless first period, the Bruins got on the board in the second with a goal from the fourth line and a goal from the third line.
Gregory Campbell (2nd of the season) batted one past Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves) on his second opportunity at 2:57. Daniel Paille created the play by winning the puck behind the net. Shawn Thornton also assisted on the quintessential Fribble Crew tally.
Pouliot (4th of the season) doubled the lead with an absolute snipe at 7:18 from Peverley (2 assists). As noted by Ryan the other day, Pouliot got off to a slow start (like most of his teammates) but he's definitely found a home in Boston and obvious chemistry with Peverley and Chris Kelly on the third line.
Brad Marchand and Matt Niskanen fought in a sort of lightweight bout between Boston's goals.
Jordan Staal was called for interference to end the second period and it cost his team dearly as Tyler Seguin (13th of the season) scored a power-play goal at 1:07 in the third from Patrice Bergeron and Peverley. Bergeron made a slick move to get around a defenseman then he put it right on Seguin's stick for a money one-timer, Fleury had no shot to stop it.
Noted scumbag Matt Cooke got the Penguins on the board at 10:54, on a one-timer assisted by former Northeastern Husky Joe Vitale. Vitale was one of the few players that showed any heart on Pittsburgh, he fought Campbell shortly after Cooke's goal.
If you're wondering what happened to Evgeni Malkin (9 shots) and Sidney Crosby (5 shots), they piled up the empty shot totals but they didn't have much of an impact on the game. Their most notable accomplishments were when Chris Kunitz ran into Crosby and Malkin tried to line up Paille but Geno ended up taking the worst of it. Stick to scoring goals buddy.
The good news is that this was the first of four regular season battles between these two great teams and who knows what the playoffs will hold? The Penguins will visit TD Garden on Sat. Feb. 4 in the next meeting.
Boston has its second back-to-back so far this season tomorrow night and strangely once again, it is against the Winnipeg Jets. The B's beat the Jets 4-2 on Nov. 26 at the Garden. Expect a tighter one this time with Tuukka Rask likely getting the nod between the pipes.