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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bruins Celebrate Being Halfway Done w/Reg. Season by Winning 3-2 in OT at Penguins

We are living in the movie Groundhog Day: for the fourth straight game, the Bruins went to overtime. The key difference tonight at CONSOL Energy Center is that unlike the previous three contests, where they fell in either overtime or a shootout, Boston (20-15-6) decided to get the two points as Patrice Bergeron tipped in Milan Lucic's shot at 2:43 for a thrilling 3-2 win over the Penguins. What's more, that victory put the Bruins in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

Even though they seem to usually match up well with them, the Penguins (24-10-6) are one of the top teams in the East. That's what made this Boston's best win of 2014-15 (this was Game 41 of 82). You can't logically argue against the fact that Pittsburgh deserved better as they outshot Boston 39-24 (although B's owned overtime, 5-2) and saw Beau Bennett hit the post earlier in the extra session.

Bergeron's 10th goal of the season (and 2nd of the game) took a while to review since at first glance he appeared to tip the puck with a high stick. However, it was called a goal on the ice and thankfully it remained that way with Torey Krug picking up the second assist.

The alarming trend continued for the B's of poor starts that lack any kind of emotion. Bennett scored 3:37 into the game as he put in a sneaky pass from Evgeni Malkin that caught everyone including Tuukka Rask (37 saves) by surprise and out of position. Simon Despres had the other assist on Bennett's second goal of the season.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara has been playing like he is in quicksand (apparently he's human too) but he still managed to tie it at 17:57 of the first period with a blast from the point that beat Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves). It was the captain's third goal of the season with assists to Reilly Smith and David Krejci.

It was a good sign that in such an important game, Boston's best players stepped it up a notch. Bergeron made it 2-1 at 15:37 of the second period with a snipe that went over Fleury's shoulder. Daniel Paille and Lucic had the assists. Boston kept the lead after two periods but Malkin quickly erased it with a laser that whizzed by Rask 14 seconds into the third. That was Geno's 18th goal of the season, assisted by Christian Ehrhoff.

The B's are 1-5-1 in the second legs of back-to-backs so far this season but they'll have as good a chance as ever to change that tomorrow night (7, NESN) as they host the Devils at TD Garden. New Jersey (15-20-7) was off tonight but they are bad and going nowhere this season so if Boston wants to make the playoffs, they need to win against that type of overmatched opposition. If all else fails, they should kidnap Jaromir Jagr while he's in the building and get him back on the Bruins.

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