Crosby's power-play goal in 3rd sends Penguins to win over Bruins
Crosby’s goal at 11:19 broke a 5-all deadlock and halted a four-game winning streak for the first-place Bruins, who rallied from three down to tie it. The Penguins also got goals from Drew O’Connor, Ryan Graves, Jake Guentzel, Lars Eller and Jeff Carter. Alex Nedeljkovic made 24 saves.
“We were probably a little hesitant and allowing them to come at us, but I thought we did a good job staying on our toes for the most part. That’s what got us the lead in the first place,” Crosby said after Pittsburgh won for the fourth time in five games.
“We were getting plenty of offense. We didn’t have to force it. Unfortunately, our game management cost us the game,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “We believed we would come back to win. You want to have that spirit, but we need more players to rise up to the occasion.”
The game started with a back-and-forth flourish as the teams combined for five goals in the first eight minutes. Boston opened the scoring 41 seconds in as Marchand won a 1-on-1 battle in front of Nedeljkovic after Pastrnak fired a wrist shot.
The Penguins got the next two goals from O’Connor and Graves before Pastrnak collected his second point of the period on his 23rd goal of the season.
Guentzel capped the wild start by putting Pittsburgh back in front. The forward converted a long pass from Kris Letang, with Crosby credited for his second assist of the first period.
“Weird start, but some games happen like that. You’ve got to be able to handle it,” Crosby said. “The momentum swung a couple of times. It was one of those games where the last goal is going to win and we got the last one.”
After eight scoreless minutes, the Penguins grabbed a two-goal advantage at 15:58 when Eller sizzled one past Swayman from a tough angle.
Despite allowing four goals on 16 shots in the first, Swayman was back in net at the onset of the second period. He allowed another point-blank rebound goal to Carter that increased Pittsburgh’s lead to three at 6:38.
Boston got one back as Pastrnak’s 30th assist of the season saw him zip a pass to Geekie, who waited for the lane to open up before beating Nedeljkovic.
“We definitely had our chances. Couple of bad bounces, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Geekie said after Pittsburgh outshot Boston 35-29.
From the high slot, Jake DeBrusk added to the scoring spree and trimmed Boston’s deficit to a single goal entering the final period. Marchand’s second goal was Boston’s first short-handed this season as he fired one past the blocker to tie the game at 5 early in the third.
“There was some good and some bad. I liked our intensity and the way we battled back,” Marchand said. “Obviously, there are some plays we need to clean up and be better at.”
Before the game, the NHL announced that Crosby and Pastrnak will represent their Eastern Conference teams at next month’s All-Star Game in Toronto. It’s the 10th career honor of Crosby’s brilliant career, while Pastrnak earned his fourth selection.
Penguins: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
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