|Don’t Blame Brad Stevens for Celtics’ Late-Game Woes||Not So Fast: Cespedes to Play CF or RF?||Patriots vs Packers Provides Possible Super Bowl Preview||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 13|
The Bruins have had a terrific season thus far, entering Saturday afternoon’s matinee with the Pittsburgh Penguins only three points out of first place in the Eastern Conference. But recently their play hasn’t been up to that level, the roar of the seemingly unstoppable Bruins had seemingly hit a wall, they are only 4-4-1 in their last nine games, and were humiliated in a 3-0 loss to the last place Carolina Hurricanes and a stellar Cam Ward. Things didn’t get much better as they lost 2-1 to Pittsburgh.
Things started off slow for both sides, Boston and Pittsburgh trying to develop their respective offenses. The B’s managed that first, gaining a few early opportunities which turned into a good amount of pressure against Marc-Andre Fleury in net for the Penguins. In fact the majority of the first period was lackluster until a late penalty shifted any momentum to Pittsburgh.
Rich Peverley was called for slashing, though there may have been a good amount of acting by Evgeni Malkin, either way leaving the Bruins shorthanded at 19:16. Sure enough, the Penguins capitalized on the opportunity, as Malkin scored off of a rebound past Tim Thomas with just 8.1 seconds left in the period.
A trend for the Bruins lately had been sloppy play in the second period, and things didn’t significantly change on Saturday. They played well in the first period despite the late goal, but failed to get on the board in the second either. They had early opportunities again that they wasted though their defense stood strong.
The Penguins got their second power play of the day when Beniot Pouliot was called for hooking a play in which he ended up down on the ice. The Bruins managed to kill off the penalty though, and then gained their own power play when Tyler Seguin was the victim of a high-sticking that spilled blood. The Bruins offensively dominated the four-minute double minor but failed to score, and the period closed with them trailing 1-0.
Old friend Matt Cooke dealt some serious damage to the Bruins, scoring off of a rebound to give the Penguins a commanding 2-0 lead early in the third period. Cooke was infamously involved in landing the hit against Marc Savard that left him seriously concussed in 2010. The Bruins were in trouble, needing a substantial third period rally to escape another defeat.
After six minutes without a shot entering the third period, Joe Corvo took the first for the Bruins and it reached the back of the net. His goal cut the Penguins lead to 2-1, giving Boston some hope. He led another attack moments following the goal but was denied by Fleury who maintained the Pittsburgh lead.
In the final minute, the Bruins missed a chance at the tie when the Penguins gave up the puck in front of their own goal. Fleury stopped a steal by Brad Marchand the Bruins fate was sealed as time expired on another disappointing loss, falling 2-1 to Pittsburgh in a game with a good number of wasted opportunities. On the upside the Bruins did play well enough to win, but they instead continue to struggle as of late.
Boston will waste no time following the loss though, as they travel to Washington where they will face the Capitals tomorrow afternoon.