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Recap: Bruins come back to beat Penguins, 2-1, in Winter Classic

Jake DeBrusk’s two third-period goals propelled the Bruins to win at Fenway Park.

2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic - Pittsburgh Penguins v Boston Bruins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

Two goals from Jake DeBrusk in the third period led the Boston Bruins to a comeback win over the Pittsburgh Penguins this afternoon at Fenway Park in the 2023 Winter Classic.

Linus Ullmark also made 26 saves today in the win to improve his record to 21-1-1.

“You dream of scoring in the Winter Classic,” DeBrusk said postgame. “I was lucky to get bounces tonight and Linus (Ullmark) kept us in it.”

Here are the highlights!

First period:


Second period:

The Penguins opened the scoring at 8:40 of the second period.

Jeff Carter forced Connor Clifton to turn over the puck at the end boards. Danton Heinen picked up the puck to slide a backhander to Kasperi Kapanen out front for a one-timer top-shelf past Ullmark’s glove. 1-0 Penguins.

Third period:

The Bruins tied the game at 7:46 of the third period.

Brad Marchand found DeBrusk at the goal line where he brought it to the top of the paint to put a shot past Casey DeSmith’s five-hole. 1-1 game.

The Bruins took the lead at 17:36 of the third period.

Hampus Lindholm started a rush up ice to hit David Krejci with a pass in the neutral zone. Skating into the offensive zone, Krejci found Taylor Hall inside the left-wing circle. Hall skate to the slot to put a backhander on DeSmith. DeBrusk picked up the rebound and netted his second goal of the night. Final score: 2-1 Bruins.

Game notes:

  • The Bruins managed to yet again find a way to win in a game at times before the third period that maybe they might not even score at all.
  • It was a really low shooting Winter Classic for the first two periods — second in particular — for both teams. In the second period, the Bruins struggled to throw anything really on net. It wasn’t until the period was nearing it’s end that they ended up with nine shots on net to actually outshoot the Penguins 9-6 that period. For most of that period, the Bruins only had three shots on net and slowly added a few more at a time.
  • The Bruins have trended to open games lately not as great as they did at the beginning of the season, but they’ve closed out games and gone on a roll — like today’s third-period effort.
  • Head Coach Jim Montgomery spoke after the game and mentioned how during the second intermission, he told his team that “they’ve been the best third period team in the league for a reason.” He felt they needed to execute the middle of the ice better and wear out the back of the next to create turnovers. “In the third period, this team finds ways to raise their levels and take over a game,” Montgomery said.
  • He also talked about how his veterans delivered messages to the team in between periods and reassured him when he starts to get frustrated. Today, that was Nick Foligno between a period and Patrice Bergeron letting Montgomery know things were going to be okay.
  • Because of that, there were less than a handful of goals compared to other Winter Classics. There’s also credit due to both goaltenders for keeping it a tight game. For the Bruins, Ullmark made 26 saves. His glove was hot and it was a cool moment to see him make some gloves saves in what would be Fenway’s infield during a ball game. Ullmark was also strong against shooters in the slot all afternoon.
  • Ullmark is now 12-0-1 in his last 13 games. He hasn’t lost since falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 5, 2022.
  • DeSmith also performed well for his Penguins, coming in as back-up after Tristan Jarry left during the first period due to injury. It also gave way to making a special memory for whoever ended up being the Pens’ emergency back-up goalie for the day who got to dress in this marquee NHL game.
  • DeBrusk was the Bruins best skater today for the full 60 minutes. Before his third-period heroics, he was setting up plays out front and crashing the net. DeBrusk had some of the best looks on DeSmith, and Jarry in the first. He positioned himself in good spots to pick up rebounds or try to sneak one backdoor. Neither team was able to capitalize on their power plays, but DeBrusk made a quick decision and smart play on the B’s tying goal.
  • Pre-game fun: Both the Bruins and Pittsburgh players dressed as their respectively hometown baseball teams in wayyyyy throwback uniforms. Ullmark loved the look so much he showed up to the postgame interview dawning the look, complete with 1950s cleats he acquired.
  • The Bruins hit the road on Thursday for a three-game road trip out West where they will first face the LA Kings at 10:30 p.m.