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McAvoy’s three-assists help Bruins, beat Pens, 3-2, in OT

Craig Smith scored the game-winning goal in overtime Tuesday night for the Boston Bruins as Charlie McAvoy had a three-point night (all assists) in Boston’s, 3-2, overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Tuukka Rask (3-1-0, 2.14 goals against average, .905 save percentage in four games played) made 28 saves on 30 shots against for a .933 SV% in the overtime win for the Bruins.

Penguins goaltender, Tristan Jarry (2-2-1, 3.92 GAA, .868 SV% in five games played), stopped 33 out of 36 shots faced for a .917 SV% in the overtime loss.

Boston improved to 4-1-1 (nine points) on the season and jumped into 2nd place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while Pittsburgh fell to 4-2-1 (nine points) on the season and 4th place in the division.

Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made no changes to his lineup from Saturday night’s, 6-1, win against the Philadelphia Flyers to Tuesday night’s meeting with the Penguins.

Once more, David Pastrnak (hip) missed his sixth game this season and has yet to make his 2020-21 debut, but returned to practice in a regular full-contact jersey on Monday. He will likely be able to make a return to the lineup on Saturday at the earliest.

Ondrej Kase (upper body) missed his fourth game due to an injury sustained on Jan. 16th in New Jersey, while Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) also remained out of the lineup for the second time this season after being injured on Jan. 21st against Philadelphia.

Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Dan Vladar and Karson Kuhlman remained on the taxi squad and/or were healthy scratches on Tuesday.

Connor Clifton was penalized for cross checking and presented the Penguins with the first power play of the night at 7:18 of the first period.

Pittsburgh’s power play was powerless on the resulting skater advantage, however.

In the meantime, Boston’s penalty kill went to work and notched another shorthanded goal this season as McAvoy scooped up a loose puck that deflected off fo Jared McCann in the neutral zone before sending Brad Marchand (4) into the attacking zone for the shot that beat Jarry’s glove side.

Marchand’s goal gave the Bruins a, 1-0, lead and was his 28th career shorthanded goal (the most in B’s franchise history). McAvoy (2) had the only assist on the tally at 7:41 of the first period.

Late in the period, Chris Wagner cut a rut to the penalty box for interference at 18:03, but the Pens failed to convert on the ensuing power play.

Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 11-6, in shots on goal.

The B’s also held the advantage in hits (11-10) and faceoff win percentage (67-33), while the Penguins led in takeaways (3-0) and giveaways (6-3) after 20 minutes.

Both teams had three blocked shots aside, while Pittsburgh was 0/2 on the power play after one period. Boston had yet to see time on the skater advantage.

Early in the middle frame, Patrice Bergeron hooked Mark Jankowski and was assessed a minor infraction at 2:55 of the second period.

Pittsburgh did not convert on the resulting power play.

Moments later, Chad Ruhwedel hooked Trent Frederic and presented Boston with their first power play of the night at 6:15 of the second period.

The Bruins shortly found themselves on a two-skater advantage when Brandon Tanev tripped Marchand at 6:52.

While on the abbreviated 5-on-3 power play, the B’s established zone time with possession before McAvoy worked the puck to Marchand, who promptly sent a pass to Nick Ritchie (3) for the redirection goal on the doorstep at 7:58 of the second period.

Marchand (5) and McAvoy (3) notched the assists on Ritchie’s power-play goal as the Bruins pulled ahead, 2-0.

Through the two-skater advantage had come to a successful end, Boston’s resulting 5-on-4 advantage did not yield a change on the scoreboard.

Just past the midpoint of the middle frame– with 9:55 remaining in the second after a stoppage– the Bruins tweeted that Jake DeBrusk (lower body) would not return to the night’s action.

Moments later, Smith slashed Bryan Rust and was sent to the sin bin at 12:00.

Once again, the Penguins couldn’t muster anything on the power play.

The Pens had yet another chance at 17:45, when Jakub Zboril tripped Jake Guentzel, but Pittsburgh’s ensuing advantage was cut short when Kris Letang tripped Wagner at 18:52 of the second period.

The two clubs had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 action before Boston finished the special teams play with an abbreviated power play.

Through 40 minutes of action on Tuesday night, the Bruins led, 2-0, on the scoreboard, as well as, 26-23, in shots on goal, despite being outshot by Pittsburgh, 17-15, in the second period alone.

Boston held the advantage in blocked shots (6-3), hits (16-14) and faceoff win% (63-38) after two periods, while the Penguins led in giveaways (10-5).

Both teams had five takeaways each after two periods of play.

The Pens were 0/5 on the power play, while the B’s were 1/3 on the skater advantage heading into the final frame of regulation.

Ritchie kicked things off in the final frame of regulation with a tripping penalty at 7:39 of the third period after he got his stick under the legs of Pierre-Olivier Joseph and took out the Penguins skater.

Pittsburgh’s ensuing power play was the best it looked all night, but the Pens weren’t successful until the vulnerable minute after special teams action, when a scramble in front of the net led to Rask overexerting himself.

While Rask was down and clutching his right thigh, Jason Zucker (1) shot the puck into the twine past Rask’s glove to cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.

McCann (3) and Drew O’Connor (1) tallied the assists on Zucker’s goal at 9:47 of the third period. O’Connor’s secondary assist was the first point of his NHL career as the Penguins pulled to within one.

Pittsburgh’s onslaught continued, despite both teams only firing six shots on goal each in the third period.

After a break that went wrong when Marchand had the puck knocked off his stick by John Marino, Evgeni Malkin worked it to Kasperi Kapanen as the Penguins winger broke into the attacking zone with speed.

Kapanen (1) slipped the puck under Rask’s right leg pad as the Bruins goaltender tried unsuccessfully to poke the puck free from Kapanen’s reach.

Pittsburgh tied it, 2-2, at 16:44.

Malkin (2) and Zucker (2) had the assists on Kapanen’s first goal as a Penguin.

The 24-year-old native of Kuopio, Finland made his Penguins debut this season after he was re-acquired by the team over the summer after originally being drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Kapanen was part of the Phil Kessel trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs and broke into the league in the 2015-16 season with the Leafs prior to being sent back to Pittsburgh on Aug. 25th.

After 60 minutes of action, the game remained tied, 2-2, and thus required overtime.

The Bruins outshot the Penguins, 32-29, through regulation and held the advantage in blocked shots (9-6), takeaways (7-5) and faceoff win% (68-32).

Pittsburgh led in giveaways (14-7) and hits (26-24) heading into the extra frame.

As there were no penalties called in overtime, the Pens finished the night 0/6 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 1/3 on the power play.

Penguins head coach, Mike Sullivan, started Sidney Crosby, Guentzel and Letang in overtime.

Cassidy countered with Bergeron, Marchand and McAvoy.

The two teams swapped chances, but struggled to find the net.

Clifton misplayed the puck with about 3:37 remaining in the overtime period, which led to a breakaway opportunity for Malkin, but No. 71 on the Penguins sent a shot over Rask’s glove, off the crossbar and out of play.

Shortly thereafter, Pittsburgh nearly capitalized on yet another defensive breakdown by Boston as the Penguins entered the attacking zone with a 3-on-0 in overtime.

Malkin tossed the puck to Letang, who sent it back to Malkin for the setup on what looked to be a surefire game-winning one-timer opportunity for Pittsburgh.

Just as Malkin let go of the rubber biscuit for the last pass to Letang, Rask broke the play up with a pokecheck that shutdown the passing lane.

It was a 3-on-0 in overtime and the Penguins didn’t even record a shot on net on the scoring chance.

With less than a minute remaining in the overtime period, the Bruins were once again looking to get out of their own zone.

Boston got a break when Marino looked like he was going for a line change, then botched the play as the puck neared the bench and turned it over to McAvoy.

The Bruins defender hit Smith with a pass that led to a 2-on-0 for Boston as Smith sent the puck over to David Krejci as the B’s duo neared the Pittsburgh crease.

Krejci setup Smith (2) for the game-winning goal through Jarry’s five-hole as the Bruins succeeded where the Penguins could not.

Boston capitalized on a chance without an opposing defense.

Krejci (5) and McAvoy (4) topped off the night with assists on Smith’s game-winning goal at 4:49 of the overtime period.

The Bruins downed the Penguins, 3-2, and extended their winning streak to three games while ending Pittsburgh’s at four games.

Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 36-30, including a, 4-1, advantage in overtime alone.

The B’s also finished Tuesday night leading in blocked shots (11-7) and faceoff win% (70-30), while the Pens left the building with the advantage in giveaways (14-7) and hits (29-26).

The Bruins improved to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) this season, while the Penguins fell to 1-1 in overtime (3-1 past regulation overall) so far in 2020-21.

Boston improved to 3-0-0 when leading after the first period, 3-0-0 when leading after the second period and 3-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this season.

The Bruins wrap up their four-game homestand (3-0-0) against the Penguins on Thursday before hitting the road for a four-game road trip in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

Boston takes on their former captain, Zdeno Chara, and the Washington Capitals on Jan. 30th and Feb. 1st before venturing to the “City of Brotherly Love” to face the Flyers on Feb. 3rd and Feb. 5th.