BOSTON -- From now on, whenever anyone asks the Boston Bruins for evidence they're resilient, they have proof.
Less than a minute after allowing the game-tying goal to the Pittsburgh Penguins with 0.3 seconds left in the third period, Torey Krug's overtime goal earned the Bruins a 4-3 victory Monday in a battle of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference at TD Garden.
Krug beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with a slap shot from the right faceoff dot 34 seconds into extra time. The Bruins (16-6-2) are 7-0-2 in their past nine home games, and they have split the first two games of their season series with the Penguins.
The late Pittsburgh goal didn't fluster the Bruins.
"We were OK. We've been through these kinds of situations before," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "And I think the experience of that has helped us out. … We were calm and we just got ourselves ready for the overtime. To me, when you get scored on like that late, it can be devastating for certain teams. But it just made us probably a little hungrier. We went out there and showed some character, and then ended it early."
For the second straight game, Julien employed three forwards and one defenseman during the 4-on-4 overtime. That alignment paid off with a David Krejci game-winner Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes, and again with Brad Marchand setting up Krug to give Boston the win against the Penguins on Monday.
"I mean, it's great. I like it. You're in attack mode; you're trying to win the game," Krug said. "It shows something to us and to the other team that we're trying to win the game. We're not just sitting back content with a shootout. It definitely can be risky at times, but we have the personnel to able to do that."
James Neal scored twice for the Penguins (15-9-1), extending his point streak to four games. It was his fifth multipoint game. Linemate Evgeni Malkin extended his point streak to five games with an assist. The Penguins trailed 2-0 after the first period. They tied the game 2-2 in the third period, only to fall behind again 3-2. They had one more comeback in them.
The Penguins pulled Fleury and coach Dan Bylsma called a timeout after an icing call against the Bruins late in the third. Pittsburgh put the heat on the Bruins until Sidney Crosby buried the equalizer with less than a second on the clock. Chris Kunitz's blind backhand pass went across the slot to Crosby.
"Yeah, I mean it's a good point, but at the same time, I think we got to keep getting better here," Neal said. "We didn't have the first [period] we wanted and we managed to stick around and battle there and get a couple goals deep, and Sid buried that one with a second left, so that's huge going into OT. We thought we deserved a little better, but we can't keep saying that; we got to do it."
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 28 of 31 shots. Fleury finished with 20 saves.
Zdeno Chara's fifth goal of the season on a wrist shot gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead with 5:15 remaining in regulation. The puck went off Crosby's stick in front before it fluttered past Fleury.
"That wasn't a great play by me to go after it with my stick," Crosby said. "There was nobody in the lane. That's the last thing that the goalie wants you to do, so shouldn't have done that."
Neal had capped the Penguins' comeback from 2-0 down with his second goal of the game at 11:09 of the third period. He one-timed a pass from Jussi Jokinen from the left dot over Rask's shoulder inside the far post.
The Penguins opened the game hot, but had little to show for it. After they failed to score on a power play that started at 4:42 of the first period, they held a commanding 9-1 edge in shots on net. The Bruins, however, outshot the Penguins 4-1 the rest of the way and grabbed a 2-0 lead before the first 20 minutes were over.
Loui Eriksson's first goal in five games put Boston on the scoreboard first. Carl Soderberg rushed the puck blue line to blue line and found Eriksson skating behind Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik. Eriksson gained control of the puck by dragging it between his legs, and then he beat Fleury with a backhand shot through the five-hole at 12:27.
The first power-play goal allowed by Pittsburgh in seven games doubled Boston's lead. Nine seconds after Soderberg drew a hooking call on Pascal Dupuis, the Bruins left wing found Reilly Smith on a backdoor cut that ended with a shot into the top shelf at 15:43.
"Well, I think we were happy about that certainly," Julien said about the early lead. "I think by the end of the first period, we also knew that it wasn't really a 2-0 kind of game and we were fortunate to be up by that many goals. That's not to take the credit away from the goal-scorers, because they were nice goals, but I don't think we came out to a great start in the first half of the first period and then kind of picked up our game a little bit in the second half.
"But overall, it was a tough night. It was a grinding night. Maybe tonight we weren't totally on and we had to work hard to make things happen. Some nights are not as easy as others, and tonight was one of those where we just had to grind it out because the sharpness just didn't seem to be there."
The Penguins went the final 11:33 of the first period without a shot on net. They wasted little time ending that drought, though, and scored on their first shot of the second period at 00:37. Neal got open in the high slot and roofed a wrist shot to cut the Bruins' lead to 2-1.
Pittsburgh had not lost in Boston since Nov. 10, 2009, a stretch of six games. The Bruins and Penguins will meet one more time this season, on Dec. 7 in Boston.
The Bruins are next in action on the road against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. The Penguins will host the Toronto Maple Leafs that same night.
Bylsma announced after the game that Beau Bennett had surgery on his hand and wrist, and the 21-year-old right wing will be out 8-10 weeks, according to the Penguins' Twitter account.
|Loui Eriksson (5) ASST: Carl Soderberg (8)|
1 - 0 BOS
|PPG - Reilly Smith (5) ASST: Carl Soderberg (9), Loui Eriksson (7)|
2 - 0 BOS
|James Neal (5) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (7), Evgeni Malkin (23)|
2 - 1 BOS
|James Neal (6) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (8), Matt Niskanen (10)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Zdeno Chara (5) ASST: David Krejci (14), Milan Lucic (9)|
3 - 2 BOS
|Sidney Crosby (13) ASST: Chris Kunitz (11), James Neal (6)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Torey Krug (7) ASST: Brad Marchand (6), Loui Eriksson (8)|
4 - 3 BOS
|Brad Marchand Hi-sticking against Sidney Crosby|
|Pascal Dupuis Hooking against Carl Soderberg|