After being shutout, 1-0, on Sunday by the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena, the Boston Bruins got split their two games in the “Steel City” with a, 3-1, win on Tuesday night.
Tuukka Rask (12-4-2, 2.29 goals-against average, .915 save percentage in 20 games played) made 25 saves on 26 shots faced in the win for Boston.
Pittsburgh netminder, Tristan Jarry (21-9-3, 2.71 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in 34 games played) made 28 saves on 31 shots against in the loss.
The Bruins are now 28-14-6 (62 points) on the season and remain in command of 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Penguins fell to 32-15-3 (67 points) overall and dropped to 2nd place in the division.
Boston won the regular season series against Pittsburgh (5-3-0) in 2020-21’s 56-game schedule due to the ongoing global pandemic.
The Bruins were without the services of Ondrej Kase (upper body), John Moore (hip) and Brandon Carlo (upper body) on Tuesday, while Trent Frederic returned to the lineup for the first time in 11 games after recovering from a non-COVID protocol related illness.
Frederic joined the fourth line alongside Curtis Lazar at center and Chris Wagner on right wing, while Sean Kuraly was promoted to the third line center with Charlie Coyle moved to the right wing and Jake DeBrusk serving as a healthy scratch.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, also re-inserted Connor Clifton o the blue line in place of Steven Kampfer, while Jaroslav Halak served as Rask’s backup with Jeremy Swayman earning the night off.
Boston’s long list of healthy scratches, taxi squad members and injured players included Swayman, Greg McKegg, Carlo, Moore, Kase, Kampfer, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Callum Booth, DeBrusk, Anton Blidh, Karson Kuhlman and Jarred Tinordi.
Mike Reilly cut a rut to the penalty box early in the action on Tuesday night as he was assessed a minor infraction for holding the stick while falling near the endboards in a tangle with Jared McCann at 1:32 of the first period.
Pittsburgh’s ensuing power play was powerless, however, as Boston’s penalty kill stood tall.
Midway through the opening frame, the Bruins had too many skaters on the ice resulting in a bench minor at 10:18.
Taylor Hall served the penalty in the box while the B’s penalty kill successfully held the Penguins off the scoreboard during the special teams action.
After one period of play on Tuesday, the Bruins and Penguins were tied, 0-0, on the scoreboard, despite Boston holding a, 14-11, advantage in shots on goal.
The B’s led in blocked shots (10-4), takeaways (4-1), hits (14-7) and faceoff win percentage (80-20), while the Pens held the advantage in giveaways (3-1).
Pittsburgh was 0/2 on the power play, while Boston had yet to see any time on the skater advantage heading into the middle frame.
Kevan Miller slashed Jason Zucker and went to the box at 5:13 of the second period, presenting the Penguins with a power play as a result.
Once more, however, Boston’s penalty kill managed to kill the minor with ease.
Late in the period, the Bruins’ power play units got their first shift of the night as Evan Rodrigues went to the box for roughing at 15:41.
Despite not scoring on the power play, Boston caught Pittsburgh in the vulnerable minute afterward, whereby Charlie McAvoy worked a roughly 200-foot effort down the ice to David Krejci (7) for a backhand shot over Jarry’s pad, but under the Pens goaltender’s glove to make it, 1-0, for the B’s.
McAvoy (22) and Rask (2) had the assists on Krejci’s goal at 18:10 of the second period.
Through 40 minutes of play on Tuesday, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard and, 22-17, in shots on goal, including an, 8-6, advantage in the second period alone.
The Bruins also held the advantage in blocked shots (16-5), hits (32-19) and faceoff win% (72-28), while the Penguins led in takeaways (9-5) and giveaways (5-2).
Pittsburgh was 0/3 and Boston was 0/1 on the power play heading into the second intermission.
Early in the final frame, Jeremy Lauzon and Teddy Blueger exchanged fisticuffs and received fighting majors at 6:38 of the third period as a result.
It was the 13th fight of the season for Boston and the first since Miller fought Tage Thompson on April 13th vs. Buffalo.
Moments later, Brad Marchand (26) buried a rebound to give the Bruins a two-goal lead.
David Pastrnak (24) had the initial shot that forced a rebound to Marchand for the goal, while Curtis Lazar (6) had the secondary assist as the B’s took a, 2-0, lead at 9:11 of the third period.
About a few minutes later, Hall (6) strolled into the slot after deking past Sidney Crosby and snapped a shot over Jarry’s blocker to make it, 3-0, Boston at 12:18.
Krejci (25) and Reilly (24) tallied the assists on Hall’s goal at 12:18.
Late in the frame, Jeff Carter (11) sent a rocket past Rask’s blocked side to put Pittsburgh on the scoreboard with an old school slap shot from the faceoff dot.
Kris Letang (33) and Kasperi Kapanen (16) had the assists on Carter’s goal as the Penguins trailed the Bruins, 3-1, at 17:39.
With two minutes left in regulation, Pens head coach, Mike Sullivan, pulled Jarry for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail as the B’s shut Pittsburgh’s 6-on-5 advantage down and pulled off the, 3-1, victory at the final horn.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal (31-26), blocked shots (21-7), hits (50-25) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Pittsburgh wrapped up the night with the advantage in giveaways (5-3), while the Penguins went 0/3 and the Bruins went 0/1 on the power play.
The B’s improved to 7-6-2 (4-3-0 on the road) when tied after the first period, 20-5-3 (11-5-1 on the road) when scoring the game’s first goal and 19-0-2 (8-0-0 on the road) when leading after two periods this season.
The Pens fell to 7-3-1 (4-3-1 at home) when tied after one period, 12-11-1 (8-3-0 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal and 4-11-1 (2-2-0 at home) when trailing after the second period in 2020-21.
The Bruins went 3-2-0 on their five-game road trip and head home to finish the month of April and start the month of May with a pair of games against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday and Saturday.