It very well could have been after three Penguins streaked down the middle of the ice, no black sweaters separating the oncoming attackers from Tuukka Rask.
Rask, who had grimaced in pain and grabbed at his leg with his blocker-hand after seemingly hurting his leg in the third period, was up to the task. A disheartened attack was thwarted by Rask’s poke-check, who stood on his head several times during the night. He challenged shooters, was solid on his angles, and made the stops when his team needed him most.
Minutes later, the Bruins learned their lessoned. Craig Smith and David Krejci cruised into the Penguins’ zone on their own two-on-zero rush, but learned from their opposition’s shortcomings. Krejci quickly shuffled the puck back to Smith, who beat an out of position Tristan Jarry to end the game with 11 seconds remaining in overtime.
“Just kind of tried to get the goalie moving a little bit,” said David Krejci postgame, on his assist in overtime. “Smitty (Craig Smith) made the right read there...it snuck in and we’ll take that win.”
Holding onto a two goal lead entering the third period, the Penguins got on the scoreboard during the play when Rask seemingly hurt himself. To make matters worse, the Bruins’ skaters on the ice were exhausted after a long shift killing off a Nick Ritchie penalty. With just over three minutes remaining in the period, Kasperi Kapanen scored his first goal with the Penguins, as he received a pass in the neutral zone, sped past McAvoy on the rush, and beat Rask. At the time, the goal felt damning.
However, no one could have known what was ensuing in overtime.
The last 4:49 of three-on-three play was not indicative of the Bruins’ overall solid effort in all phases. It was a turnstile of chaos, as untimely turnovers lead to irreverence for situational defense in the two teams’ war of attrition.
In other musings from tonight’s contest...
The Bruins’ penalty killing was exceptional tonight:
The Penguins were on the power play for 10:57 of ice time tonight.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) January 27, 2021
Boston outscored them, 1-0, and were even in shots (6-6) during that stretch.
Brad Marchand scored his team-leading 28th career shorthanded goal. The Bruins did a nice job shutting off the center of the ice while the Penguins were transitioning through the neutral zone, a turnover at the Bruins’ blue line afforded Charlie McAvoy the opportunity to complete a quick-up to Marchand. Marchand charged into the offensive zone, stepped by Kris Letang and fired a puck past Jarry’s glove-side, as the Penguins’ goaltender overcommitted to Marchand’s drive to the middle.
The Bruins’ power play also added a goal, as Ritchie continued his stellar start to the season by punching home a Marchand feed in front to capitalize on a five-on-three advantage.
In other news from the contest, Jake DeBrusk left the game with a lower-body injury after playing only playing 3:30. Bruce Cassidy said in the postgame press conference that DeBrusk is considered day-to-day. David Pastrnak is not on track to return for Thursday’s game, which means that the Bruins will need to make a roster move.