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The Bruins continued their winning ways on Monday against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but they didn’t do so in the most thrilling fashion possible. After needing overtime to beat the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, Boston once again needed extra time to take down the always potent Penguins.
The start of the game didn’t look promising as the Penguins were skating circles around the Bruins. Tuuka Rask was getting peppered with shots and Pittsburgh even seemed more physical as they took an early lead in hits. The only silver lining was when Boston successfully killed a penalty against one of the top power play units in the NHL.
About half way through the first period the Bruins finally started to play their style of hockey and level the playing field. At the 12:27 mark the Bruins got on the board first when Loui Eriksson scored on a feed from Carl Soderberg.
This bode well for the Bruins as the Penguins have a losing record when their opponent scores first. Boston didn’t wait long to strike again. A little over three minutes later the Bruins were on the power play and made Pittsburgh pay. Soderberg sent a pass in deep to Eriksson who quickly sent it across the front of the net to Reilly Smith who snapped a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Bruins who have had trouble closing out periods with a lead got some heat late in the period from Pittsburgh but were able to keep them off the scoreboard. The start of the second period was a different story. Pittsburgh picked up where they left off in the first and it paid off when James Neal cut the lead in half at a mere 37 seconds into the period. After the early goal the Bruins were able to lock the Penguins down and carry their one goal lead into the third.
The third period played like a one goal game between two bitter rivals. There was a lot of back and forth between the two teams as fans at the T.D. Garden waited nervously for the Bruins to open up their lead or for the deflating tying goal. Finally, 11 minutes in Neal once again scored to tie the game at two apiece.
Boston refused to be denied and continued to press the Penguins until Zdeno Chara fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line to put Boston back in the driver seat with just over five minutes left to play.
Boston appeared to have the win in hand until late in the third when their aforementioned late period troubles reared its ugly head. After pulling their goalie and skating six against five the Penguins put on a late rush and were rewarded when Sydney Crosby scored with .2 seconds left in the game. The play was so close that the Bruins initially thought they won until the officials went to the review and declared it a goal.
Not to be deterred, Boston came out of the gates hot in overtime and got the puck in the offensive zone early. Defenseman Torey Krug pinched down the boards on a loose puck and skated freely to the top of the circle before firing a slap shot on net that easily beat Fleury and got Boston the win only 34 seconds into overtime.
After three tough overtime games, in which they went 2-1, the Bruins get ready to travel to Detroit on Wednesday night for what will surely be another hard fought division matchup.