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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bruins Use Strong 3rd Period (3-0) to Demolish the Penguins 5-1 & Sweep the 3-Game Season Series



One of the major storylines for the Bruins this season has been the stunted development of second-year right wing David Pastrnak. After getting injured early in the season, going to the World Junior Championships again with Czech Republic and rehabbing in Providence, he finally seems to be settling in. Tonight, he scored two goals as Boston (33-22-6) beat Pittsburgh (30-21-8) 5-1 at TD Garden. Thanks to the win, the B's swept the season series (3-0) with the Pens and outscored them 14-3.

It was the Pasta Show early on as he was awarded a penalty shot with four minutes left in the first period and used a stop and start move to throw off Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (24 saves). Boston led 1-0 after the first period and Landon Ferraro dropped the gloves with UMass-Lowell alum Scott Wilson 1:42 into the second period. Shortly after that, Pastrnak doubled the Bruins' advantage after Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maata pulled a Kevan Miller and handed the puck right to him in front of the Penguins' net. Pastrnak waited until Fleury went down and put the puck around him for his eighth goal of the season at 3:12. He has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games and it was his third career two-goal game.

Tuukka Rask (41 saves; 23-17-5) probably deserved a shutout as the only "shot" that beat him came off the skate of Penguins winger Tom Kuhnhackl. Rask kicked out a big rebound of rookie Oskar Sundqvist's shot and Kuhnhackl made a hockey stop directly into the puck at 4:07 of the second period. It was reviewed but the call stood since the referees felt like it didn't constitute a distinct kicking motion. Boston's buzzard's luck when it comes to reviews and coach's challenges this season has been unbelievably poor. Kuhnhackl's second goal of the season was also assisted by Trevor Daley.

With Boston up 2-1 after two periods, it appeared to be another white-knuckle finish at the Garden (where they improved to 13-15-3 this season) until the Bruins finished with a flourish of three goals in 4:53. Jimmy Hayes tapped-in a pretty feed from Ryan Spooner at 10:34. The former BC star's 13th goal of the season was also assisted by Adam McQuaid (game-high 4 blocked shots). For once, Boston made the other team crumble in crunch time as Ferraro scored on a breakaway at 14:26 from Dennis Seidenberg. His fourth goal of the season was his first point in 26 games (an assist vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 18). Finally, Brad Marchand knocked in a rebound 1:01 after Ferraro's goal for his team-leading 31st goal of the season. Amazingly enough, he's tied with former Bruin Tyler Seguin for the fourth most goals in the NHL. Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron had the last helpers.

The Bruins dads were in the locker room after the game as they will head to Carolina (28-23-10) along with their sons for Friday's contest (7, NESN). It's a cool little perk for the team during an arduous season and surely something that the fathers look forward to every year. The B's are 20-7-3 on the road but the Hurricanes have been surprisingly decent in 2015-16 so that is no gimmee although Carolina is at Toronto on Thursday so they'll be in the second leg of a back-to-back. Two more points there would be nice for the Black and Gold who return home for a rare Sunday night (6:30, NBCSN) meeting with Tampa Bay (34-22-4) who is currently tied with Boston (although they own the tiebreaker with a game in hand).


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