Bruins snap skid against Pens with 4-3 OT win
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal (18) loses his edge while chasing the puck against Boston Bruins right wing Reilly Smith (18) in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Pittsburgh Penguins center Joe Vitale (46) grapples for position with Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (47) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Boston Bruins right wing Reilly Smith (18) dives in an attempt to control the puck against Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland (5), center Brian Gibbons (49) and center Brandon Sutter (16) in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
BOSTON – The surging Boston Bruins said they weren’t fazed by Sidney Crosby’s last-second goal. They proved it in overtime.
Torey Krug scored 34 seconds into OT and the Bruins beat Pittsburgh, 4-3, last night, snapping a seven-game, regular-season losing streak to the Penguins in a matchup of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.
Pittsburgh captain Crosby had scored with 0.3 seconds left in regulation to tie it.
But the Bruins responded quickly. Playing with three forwards and one defenseman, they went right at the Penguins.
“We were okay,” Boston Coach Claude Julien said of the late goal. “For some teams, sometimes it can be demoralizing. But I think this may have made us more hungry to go and try to win it.”
Krug won it with a slap shot from the left circle that beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury past his left arm.
Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith scored first-period goals, and Zdeno Chara made it 3-2 with 5:15 left in regulation for the conference-leading Bruins, who are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for Boston, which beat the Penguins for the first time since December 2011.
Boston also improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine home games, with both losses coming in shootouts.
“It’s tough,” Krug said of the tying goal, “but we’ve got the guys and leadership where we’re not going to get down.”
Pittsburgh salvaged a point after pulling Fleury for an extra skater. Chris Kunitz fired a desperation backhander on net, and Crosby – at the edge of the crease – deflected the puck across the goal line behind Rask just as the green light went on.
A video review clearly showed that the puck went in before time ran out.
“Just hanging around the crease, hoping the puck would end there,” Crosby said.
Rask said it didn’t distract him or his teammates for very long.
“You’re always kind of mad about that, but we didn’t let it bother us,” he said. “We went out in overtime and took the puck to their zone and then scored a goal I think that’s the sign of a good team that you don’t get down on yourself after a goal like that.”
James Neal scored the first two goals for Pittsburgh, and Fleury made 20 saves. The Penguins, playing their third game in five days, lost for the sixth time in 10 games.
“I liked the way, against this tough team, we stayed with the game plan and did come out with a tie after regulation,” Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma said.
It was the first meeting in Boston since the Bruins completed a sweep of the Penguins in last season’s conference finals.
Krug, skating in on the left wing, just wanted to get a hard shot on net.
“A couple of times earlier I missed the net when I had good scoring chances,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure he’d have to make a save with his hands.”
Neal lifted the Penguins into a 2-2 tie with a rising wrist shot from the left circle that beat Rask under the crossbar with 8:51 left in the third.
Despite being outshot 10-1 in the opening nine minutes of the game, Boston held a 2-0 lead after the first period. Both goals were set up by Carl Soderberg.
Eriksson’s goal was a highlight play by the winger. He took a pass from Soderberg that was a little behind him near the Penguins blue line. He pushed the puck between his legs to his forehand, broke in alone, and tucked a backhander between Fleury’s pads.
Smith’s power play goal made it 2-0 just 3:16 later. The Penguins hadn’t allowed a power-play goal in six games, but Smith, cutting to the net, one-timed a pass out of the right corner from Soderberg nine seconds after Pascal Dupuis was sent off for hooking.
After Smith’s score, the crowd broke into chants of “Fleury! Fleury!”
Pittsburgh cut it to 2-1 just 37 seconds into the second period when Neal fired a wrist shot from the slot that beat Rask stick side.
∎ Former Penguins star Mario Lemieux was at the game.
∎ Pittsburgh beat Boston, 3-2, at home on Oct. 30. The teams will meet one more time this season – on Dec. 7 in Boston.
∎ The Bruins played highlights of New England’s comeback win Sunday night over the Denver Broncos before showing Patriots WR Julian Edelman, who watched the game from a luxury box, on the screen.
∎ Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid (8th straight) and Dennis Seidenberg (3rd) were out with lower-body injuries.
∎ The Bruins scored first for the eighth time in 10 games.
∎ Penguins C Evgeni Malkin entered the game tied for the NHL lead in assists with San Jose’s Joe Thornton. He earned his 23rd on Neal’s goal.