March 11, 2012

Insult and injury abound in Bruins loss to Penguins

By Jesse Connolly

Final: Pittsburgh 5, Boston 2

Recap: Another matinee, another miserable showing for the Black and Gold. Goals from Aaron Asham, Matt Niskanen and James Neal in the opening frame staked the Penguins to a 3-0 lead heading into the second period.

Marty Turco replaced Tim Thomas in net and Boston played considerably better in the second. The B's got two goals from David Krejci in the stanza, but they were sandwiched around a tally by Chris Kunitz.

In the third, Krejci nearly had the hat trick, but a sprawling glove stop by Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Bruins from cutting the lead to one. With 3:53 left, Pascal Dupuis closed out the scoring with his 18th of the season.

Records: Pittsburgh 42-21-5, 89 points; Boston 40-25-3, 83 points

Key Play of the Game: On a shift that typified the afternoon for Boston, Brian Rolston was wide open but couldn't corral the puck in the slot, play went the other way, Adam McQuaid injured himself checking James Neal and Niskanen tallied to put Pittsburgh up by two in the first period.

Connolly's Commendations: Hats off to the first line, as the trio of Krejci, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin were the only reason the Bruins had any chance in today's tilt. Krejci tallied twice, with Lucic and Seguin picking up the assists on each of his strikes. The three accounted for 12 of Boston's 36 shots.

Marty Turco also deserves a pat on the back. Coming in cold in the middle frame, the veteran went on to stop 20-of-22 in his Bruins debut.

Connolly's Critiques: Someone get Thomas some rest, pronto. The B's netminder coughed up three goals on ten shots after a rough outing (26-of-30) against the Capitals the day prior.

The fourth line did zilch to aid the B's efforts in this one. The trio of Greg Campbell, Lane MacDermid and Shawn Thornton were all on the ice for both of Pittsburgh's first two goals. They finished with a combined rating of minus-6. Campbell won just 3-of-10 faceoffs.

Sunday's contest was one captain Zdeno Chara would quickly like to forget about. The 6-foot-9 blueliner finished with a game-worst rating of minus-3 and got hit hard all afternoon by the Pens.

Notes: As if losing by three wasn't bad enough, Boston lost three separate players to injury. McQuaid left early with an apparent upper-body ailment, Max Sauve departed his NHL debut and Patrice Bergeron tried to come back after sustaining a lower-body injury after blocking a shot but eventually left for good in the third. Johnny Boychuk also briefly went down the tunnel after being boarded by Evgeni Malkin (three assists in the win), but wasn't gone for long.

Final Thoughts: The tired, injury-riddled Bruins turned in yet another dud in day games, slipping to 4-8-2 on the year in afternoon tilts. It's safe to say Game No. 68 of the season was rock bottom for the Black and Gold.

Next: Boston will now fly south to Tampa Bay, where they'll take on the Lightning on Tuesday night.