In what could be a preview of the Conference Finals the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Boston Bruins Sunday afternoon for first place in the Eastern Conference. The two teams are very evenly matched. Both teams have great scoring power, they get great goal tending, the only difference between the two might be that the Bruins are better on the defense side of things. But don’t tell the Penguins that as the last time the two teams met they struck for three late goals to win the game.
The Bruins received the first power play opportunity of the day as Brooks Orpik made a poor decision in his own defensive zone. Under no pressure from the Bruins, Orpik lifted the puck from his own zone over the glass and into the crowd causing a delay of game penalty. Fortunately for the Orpik the Penguins were up for the challenge and killed the penalty keeping the score at zero.After being denied on a breakaway where it looked like he was hooked and there was no call, it didn’t take long for Crosby to retaliate. In fact it was the next face off where Crosby was able to put the Penguins up 1-0. The goal was Crosby’s 13th of the season. Being down 1-0 did not bother the Bruins as they continued to work and were able to tie the game on a goal by Tyler Seguin, his 10th of the season.
In a game with two equal teams it is often the team that makes the less mistakes and is able to capitalize on the mistakes by the opposing team that win. The Penguins were able to do that late in the first period. With thirty seconds left to go Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask wasn’t able to glove an easy shot by Craig Adams leading to a second opportunity by Joe Vitale. Vitale was able to lift the puck up and into the net for his first goal of the season. Giving the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
The pace really slowed down in the second period. Each team playing more cautious, especially the Penguins as they were a man down. Kris Letang did not join his team in the second period making the Penguins play with a man down for the rest of the game. It was unsure of what was wrong with him.
However, the Penguins had a great opportunity to increase their lead when they received their first power play opportunity with 2:40 left in the second period. It is hard to blame the Penguins for not scoring on the power play as the Bruins are the top penalty killing team in the league having a success rate of 90%. The last time the Bruins gave up a power play goal was March 3rd. Since then they are 22 for 22 in killing off penalties.
In the third period the Bruins really came on strong doing everything they could to get the tying goal. They out shot the Penguins 12-3 in the third period but just could not get one pass goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 31 of 32 shots. After losing Letang in the first it appeared the Penguins really sat back not trying to push the action but to protect the lead, keeping the Bruins to the outside.
With the win the Penguins moved into first place and are on a roll with their ninth straight victory. They will look to make it ten straight victories Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.