Boston, Ma-The Boston Bruins completed a 4-0 TD Garden homestand after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on the strength of two Patrice Bergeron goals. Jaroslav Halak turned back 16 of 17 shots to bolster the Bruins backline and improve his record to 2-0-1. The Bruins overall are 5-1-1 while Pittsburgh falls to 4-3-1.
Pittsburgh defenseman Kevin Czuczman had his clearing attempt in front of the Penguins goal go right to the stick of a wide-open Chris Wagner. Wagner buried the puck for the early Bruins lead at 6:10.
Penguins defenseman Cody Ceci beat Halak at 15:03, tying the game 1-1. Ceci corralled a Jeremy Lauzon clearing attempt along the boards, drove towards the Bruins goal, and fired a wrist shot past Halak for his first of the year. Bryan Rust and Teddy Blueger assisted.
Boston forward Sean Kuraly regained the lead for the Bruins at 18:53 when he deflected an Anders Bjork pass through the legs of Jarry. Bjork kept the puck in at the blue line, put a move on Penguins forward Branden Tanev, and then lifted the puck over Blueger and past a falling Czuzcman, where it bounced into the goal off of Kuraly’s leg.
After the game, Bjork joked about the play with Kuraly.
“It was an ugly one (the goal), so I don’t even know if I wanted to take credit for that one,” said Bjork.
Bergeron made it 3-1 Boston at 8:13 of the second period. The 35-year-old backhanded a Matt Grzelcyk dish past Jarry at the top of the Penguins crease. Charlie Coyle also assisted on Bergeron’s goal.
Penguins defenseman John Marino was called for Interference just fifty-five seconds into the third. Bergeron and the Bruins wasted little time in extending their lead to 4-1 on the power-play. Bergeron’s goals were his fourth and fifth of the year. Bergeron one-timed a slapshot from the slot high glove side on Jarry. Brad Marchand and Chalie McAvoy assisted on Bergeron’s fifth goal of the year.
Boston held Pittsburgh center Sidney Crosby (-4) pointless through the two-game set.
“We all know what kind of player Crosby is,” said Kuraly when asked what the effect of holding the former scoring champ pointless has in the Bruins locker room. “He drives their team. When we can keep him off the scoresheet, there’s no question it’s going to help our team.”
Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin felt Boston was the better team from the Penguins side of things the last few nights.
“We played against a good team tonight,” said the Russian superstar. “Boston was faster; they were hungry. They won every battle in the corner.”
“We need to play simple and just work, work, work,” added Malkin.
With the win, the Bruins move into a tie atop the MassMutual East Division with the Washington Capitals (11 points each). The Bruins travel to D.C. to take on the Caps on Saturday and Monday. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has two against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on the same days. All four games are at 7:00 pm.
Patrice Bergeron photo appears courtesy of Brian Fluharty @ InsideHockey.com