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Monday, November 24, 2014

Penguins Beat Bruins 3-2 In Overtime On Malkin's 2nd Goal of the Game

It is a cold reality but I guess we should be somewhat content that the shorthanded B's were able to take a point against the juggernaut Penguins tonight at TD Garden. Playing with what feels like half a team that rightfully belongs in Providence, Pittsburgh (14-4-2) beat Boston (13-9-1) 3-2 in overtime at TD Garden on Evgeni Malkin's goal just 32 seconds in.

Brad Marchand returned after missing three games with an undisclosed injury but David Krejci and Chris Kelly remained out. Boston made the curious decision to send Seth Griffith back to Providence this afternoon while Matt Fraser was a healthy scratch. That meant that their first-round pick from this past draft, David Pastrnak, made his NHL debut at the ripe old age of 18 (he's the youngest player to appear in the NHL this season). He only ended up playing 7:53 so his contributions were understandably limited. Furthermore, it's hard to say what they wanted out of Jordan Caron (3:35) and Alex Khokhlachev (2:53) when they each played five total shifts in the entire contest.

You can only keep Sidney Crosby and Malkin in check for so long, even in the best of times, which made it utterly predictable that Crosby opened the scoring at 3:33 with a backhander on a rebound from Tuukka Rask (30 saves). Harvard's Craig Adams and Kris Letang had the assists on Crosby's ninth goal of the season.

Pittsburgh led 1-0 after the first period but Boston tied it early in the second on Milan Lucic's tap-in from Loui Eriksson and Carl Soderberg at 1:43. Lucic has been lost without Krejci so it was nice to see him pick up his fourth goal of the season on Eriksson's slick pass. The Bruins took the lead only 28 seconds later as rookie Joe Morrow scored his first career NHL goal. Marc-Andre Fleury (27 saves) was screened while Dougie Hamilton and Simon Gagne were credited with the assists on Morrow's wrister from the point.

The B's had not one but two possible goals called off upon replay this evening. In the first period, Patrice Bergeron hit the puck in with what was determined to be a high stick. That seemed like the right call but the second one was much more shaky. In the following frame, the puck deflected in off Soderberg's body before Lucic knocked the net off of its mooring. The refs ruled that Soderberg used his glove which was not obvious at all.

Malkin and Crosby took over even further as Malkin tied it at two. His low but hard shot beat Rask to the nearside at 9:42 of the second period on the power play for his ninth goal of the season. Letang and Crosby had the assists on that tally. After the scoreless third period, where the Penguins outshot the Bruins 12-4, all Pittsburgh needed was one rush in overtime to end it. Crosby went blazing up the left wing before firing a one-timer over to Malkin who caught Rask in scramble mode going side-to-side (who could blame him?).

Boston is now off until Friday (7, NESN) when they host Winnipeg (10-9-3). The trend for the Bruins so far this season has been to beat the bad and average teams and then to lose against the good ones. However, it's tough to see them topping many teams in their current state of disarray with all the injuries and underachieving individuals. The scary part is that after that they go to the West Coast for four games in six days including the dreaded California trio of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.

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