The Bruins scored five unanswered goals in the third period to claw back from two goals down to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 7-4 in a wild one on Wednesday night at the Consol Energy Center. After being down 4-2 after two periods and the Penguins completely controlling the play in the second period, the Bruins looked like they were out of this one, but the Black & Gold (the REAL Black & Gold) mounted an impressive comeback.
It looked like it was going to be a long night for the B's after the Penguins jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:05 into the game. Aaron Asham camped out at the top of the crease (while a statue-esque Mark Stuart stood just an arms length away), got the puck in the slot, and fired a turn-around shot that beat a scrambling Tim Thomas for the early lead. Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin picked up assists on the play.
Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Eric Goodard 6:33 into the game after Thornton took exception to a hit that Goodard laid on Daniel Paille earlier in the shift. The lengthy bout saw both combatants landing several shots, but neither man went down to the ice. After letting them go for a while, the linesmen jumped in with both fighters still on their skates.
On the ensuing face-off, Gregory Campbell and Maxime Talbot decided to dance. This was no grabbling match. Both fighters came out swinging wildly. Campbell seemed to ge in control of the scrap, but reached way back on a haymaker and lost his balance on the follow-through and tumbled to the ice.
The Bruins knotted up at 1-1 at 8:31 of the first period on a goal by Mark Recchi. Tyler Seguin threaded a cross ice pass to Recchi at the right circle. Recchi's first shot was stopped by Brent Johnson's pad, but the puck rebounded right back to Recchi's stick and the veteran winger roofed the puck over Johnson for his firstt goal of the season.
Brad Marchand's second NHL goal gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 3:36 left in the opening period. Marchand gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone, skated into the attacking zone, and fired a hard wrister from the slot that beat Brent Johnson up high. The pretty snipe by Marchand was unassisted.
The Bruins lead did not last for long. Pittsburgh tied the game up at 2-2 just 34 seconds after Marchand's goal with a goal by former BC Eagle Brooks Orpik. Evgeni Malkin drove hard to the net and his shot from in close caromed off Thomas and out to Orpik at the left circle. Orpik's quick shot beat Thomas just inside of the near post with Andrew Ference and Chris Kunitz's battling in front of the net. Sidney Crosby picked up a helper on Orpik's first of the season.
The rough stuff continued in the second period. Adam McQuaid squared off against Aaron Asham 6:21 into the middle frame in another long bout that included several landed haymakers by both fighters.
Chris Kunitz regained the lead for Pittsburgh at 3-2 with 4:16 left in the second period when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot and hammered it home. Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby were credited with the assists on the Pens' third goal of the night.
The Pens extended their lead to 4-2 with 23 seconds left in the middle period. With Jordan Caron in the box for hooking late in the period, Sidney Crosby had the puck on the left wing and tried to feed a pass across the goalmouth to Evgeni Malkin at the right post. As the puck was coming across Tim Thomas' crease, Mark Stuart got his stick into the passing lane and inadvertently tipped the puck into the net. Crosby was given credit for the goal.
Nathan Horton pulled the B's to within one at 4-3 3:49 into the third period. Dennis Seidenberg had the puck in the right wing corner and sent a pass behind the net to Horton in the opposite corner. Horton controlled the pass and skated out to the left wing circle. Seeing that he had an open shot, he got off a quick snap shot that beat Johnson up high with plenty of traffic in front. Matt Hunwick picked up the secondary assist on Horton's team-leading 7th goal.
Zdeno Chara tied it up for the B's just 15 seconds later. Jordan Caron's pass from the left wing found Big Z in the slot and Chara let a one-timer rip. The shot may have deflected off of a Pittsburgh defender before finding the back of the net for Chara's third tally of the season.
Shawn Thornton gave the Bruins a 5-4 lead with 7:20 left in the third period. Thornton carried the puck in on the right wing and fired a wrist shot from the right circle that sailed over Brent Johnson's left shoulder into the back of the net for what proved to be the game-winner. Gregory Campbell and Adam McQuaid recorded the helpers on Thornton's third goal of the season.
Blake Wheeler's second goal of the season gave the Bruins an insurance goal and a 2-goal lead at 6-4 with 4:47 left in the third period. Mark Recchi came flying in on the forecheck and nailed Zbynek Michalek behind the Pittsburgh goal and took possession of the puck. Wheeler went to the front of the net and Rechi delivered a perefect pass to Wheeler at the doorstep. Michael Ryder picked up a secondary assist on the goal.
Milan Lucic added an empty net goal with 25 seconds left in the game to account for the final score. Bergeron and Horton padded their stats with assists on the goal to finish the game with multi-point nights.
Emotions were still running high after the final buzzer as a scrum developed, but cooler heads quickly prevailed and both teams filed off the ice to the dressing rooms.
- 15 different Bruins recorded a point in the 7-goal offensive explosion for the B's with 3 players recording multi-point nights (Mark Recchi: 1 goal, 2 assists; Nathan Horton: 1 goal, 1 assist; and Patrice Bergeron: 2 assists).
- It is good to see Wheeler finally going to the front of the net.
- Patrice Bergeron rang the crossbar and the post tonight, but could not find the back of the net.
- How about Shawn Thornton? He is clearly fueled by Cornelius Hardenbergh's comments calling him "not a real hockey player". Who am I kidding? Nobody reads Corny's stuff. The goal scoring machine, Shawn Thornton will be on Toucher & Rich tomorrow morning at 8:20.
- Brad Marchand easily had his best game with the big club tonight. He was all over the place, forcing turnovers (3 take-aways), scoring a goal, and just being a pain in the ass.
- Tim Thomas saw a lot of rubber tonight. The Penguins outshot the Bruins 46-33.
- While this game will look like a romp in the boxscore, this was fair from a complete game for the B's. They were flat-out out-played for most of this game, but they were able put together a great third period. It is good to see that this team has some fight and can battle back.
- The B's were out-hit 35-17. Home team scorers tend to inflate hitting stats, so it was probably closer than that but the Pens were definitely the more physical team.
- One guy that struggled tonight was Mark Stuart. Stuart can take part of the blame for two of the Penguins' four goals. On the first goal, Stuart left Aaron Asham get behind him and camp out untouched right at the top of the crease. On Crosby's goal, the scoring should read "goal by Mark Stuart from Sidney Crosby". Stuart was one of three Boston skaters not to record a point tonight. He finished -1, while logging 18:32 of ice time.
- Did someone get a good scoring report on Brent Johnson? Every shot that beat him was up high.
- The Bruins return home to take on the rival Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night.
- For more on tonight's game, see what Hooks Orpik and the gang over at PensBurgh have to say.