PITTSBURGH -- Skating toward the net down the left side late in a tie game with the world's best player open streaking down the right wing, Brandon Sutter declined a chance to pass.
"It was just a read-and-react," Sutter said. "It happened pretty quick."
Kind of like the Pittsburgh Penguins' improbable, late comeback.
Sutter scored the tying and winning goals 3:24 apart during a three-goal Pittsburgh outburst in the final seven minutes when the Penguins turned what appeared to be a sure defeat into a 3-2 victory against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
Chris Kunitz broke up Anton Khudobin's shutout bid with 6:27 to play, and Sutter sent the 266th consecutive home sellout crowd into a frenzy 51 seconds later when he tied it on a wrister from the left circle off assists from James Neal and Beau Bennett.
Sutter's winner, his eighth goal of the season, came from a similar spot, although it was unassisted off a turnover by Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Sutter saw Crosby as soon as he corralled the puck, but eschewed giving it to the National Hockey League scoring leader -- who had an eight-game point streak on the line.
"The D-man was kind of in the lane -- I think he went right down -- so you either make a really nice pass or just shoot it," Sutter said.
"I think Sid be all right for a day. I don't think he's too worried about it. He's already jabbed me a bit -- but it's a good win for us."
A win that extended the Penguins' winning streak to a season-high six, the longest active run in the NHL. Pittsburgh also has won five in a row at home and has scored at least three goals in 14 straight games.
This win, though, came against a Bruins’ team that has allowed a League-low 53 goals this season -- a unit that stifled the potent Penguins offense (League-best 98 goals) for more than 53 minutes Tuesday before finally relenting.
"That's the thing in this League," Boston winger Milan Lucic said. "You can't take anything for granted -- no matter what kind of lead you have."
Especially against these Penguins, who have scored 29 goals (4.8 per game) during their winning streak.
For the better part of the game, the Bruins shut down the NHL's hottest offense. But although they were badly outplayed in terms of puck possession during the first period, the Penguins gradually gained momentum and were taking play to the Bruins by the time the late stages of the second period arrived.
But when Pittsburgh failed to score during 1:05 of 5-on-3 time against Boston's League-best penalty kill early in the third, it appeared as if the early Bruins goals would stand -- even if they were using a backup goalie. Boston coach Claude Julien gave starter Tuukka Rask the night off after was battling the flu after Monday night's comeback 3-2 shootout victory in Ottawa.
That was the Bruins' first game in a stretch of five in seven days. The Penguins hadn't played since Sunday and hadn't had to travel since Saturday.
"They were the fresh team," Julien said. "And when you go through the second period like we did -- we gave them some hope -- we had to come out in the third a lot stronger, and we didn't. They were just looking for that first goal to get their momentum, and they got it.
"We gave (the game) to them."
Kunitz's goal assured the Penguins wouldn't be shut out for the first time this season and the first time at home in exactly two years. It was Kunitz's 12th goal in his past 10 games and 18th of the season, moving him past Neal and Los Angeles Kings forward Jeff Carter into sole possession of second place in the NHL.
Although Crosby's eight-game point streak came to an end, Kris Letang's assist streak was extended to six games on the play. Neal (nine games), Letang (six) and Kunitz (five) also had home point streaks continue.
The Bruins took a lead 4:45 into the game when Chara's power-play slap shot from right point beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for his fifth goal of the season.
Seguin made it 2-0 less than nine minutes later when he flipped a wrist shot that beat Fleury high to the glove side as he fell to the ice while receiving a pass from Patrice Bergeron. Seguin now has nine goals, six of them in his past seven games.
Forty minutes and 12 seconds of scoreless hockey followed. Then, the floodgates opened up all over the Bruins.
"We just believed if we kept going, we were eventually going to get it in," Crosby said. "It seemed like it took forever."
The Penguins fell behind the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-1, during the first period Thursday in Philadelphia, but tied it before the end of the second and won it on a Kunitz goal 18 seconds into the third.
"Our guys came out to play and kept playing and didn't put their heads down, didn't start slamming doors," coach Dan Bylsma said. "They kept playing and came back in the game, and I think we've done that the last three or four."
It had been two years ago to the day the most recent time Pittsburgh failed to score a goal in a regular-season game at Consol Energy Center: March 12, 2011 against the Montreal Canadiens. The most recent time the Penguins were shut out anywhere was Feb. 1, 2012, at Toronto. Pittsburgh's streaks of not being shut out are 58 games overall and 60 games at home.
"We didn't give (the Bruins) a lot, but they got two, and you knew it was going to be hard to score against that team," Bylsma said.
"But the guys kept coming and kept playing, and I think that's a testament to our guys and the way we're playing and where we're at right now."
|PPG - Zdeno Chara (5) Slapshot - ASST: Dennis Seidenberg (7), Rich Peverley (5)|
1 - 0 BOS
|Tyler Seguin (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Patrice Bergeron (16), Brad Marchand (9)|
2 - 0 BOS
|Chris Kunitz (18) Slapshot - ASST: Kris Letang (24), Deryk Engelland (4)|
2 - 1 BOS
|Brandon Sutter (7) Wrist shot - ASST: James Neal (12), Beau Bennett (5)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Brandon Sutter (8) Snap shot - ASST: NONE|
3 - 2 PIT
|Joe Vitale Too many men/ice - bench|
|Andrew Ference Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Brad Marchand Tripping against Mark Eaton|
|Patrice Bergeron Tripping against Sidney Crosby|
|Anton Khudobin Hi-sticking against Chris Kunitz|
|Chris Kunitz Tripping against Johnny Boychuk|