The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, Wednesday night at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. It was a shootout victory earned in front of 16,958 Pittsburgh fans who were disappointed, initially, because the Penguins super sophomore Sidney Crosby was not in the lineup due to a groin injury. They were disappointed, finally, when Tim Thomas
shut out the home towners in the shootout contest and sent the Bruins back to Boston, victorious.
One would surmise that the Boston locker room was not broken up over missing a chance to watch the phenom play, especially since the Bruins had physical problems of their own.
P.J. Axelsson was questionable before the game with a foot injury. Marc Sarvard was fighting illness and Tim Thomas
was not at 100%, either, after being upended by the Panthers and performing a face plant versus Florida on Monday in the Bruins 3-2 loss.
Axelsson and Savard would play, and Thomas would sit, to start, but that wasn't the end of the injury report for Boston.
It was a seemingly uneventful first period, as both starting goalies, Brian Finley for Boston and Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh, kept donuts baking on the scoreboard through most of the first stanza.
However, with less than two minutes to go in the opening period, the Pens Mark Recchi put a biscuit top shelf on Finley, who started his first game with the Bruins, with help from former Boston College Eagle, Rob Scuderi at 18:05.
Then, Thomas' day of rest came to a close at the start of the second period as Finley was unable to return to action due to an undisclosed lower body injury that occurred sometime during the first session.
Coming out of the locker room cold, Thomas kept the red light off during the second stanza and Boston's Stanislav Chistov, Marco Sturm and Zdeno Chara
all scored to put the Bruins up 3-1 going into the second break.
But much like the second session was won by the B's, the Pens took the third in spectacular style.
Rookie Evgeni Malkin scored his 10th of the season at 10:02. Then, with starter Marc Andre Fleury on the bench and the Bruins shorthanded, veteran sniper Mark Recchi scored at 19:30 with help from former Boston University Terrier, Ryan Whitney, to tie the game at 3-3.
The game remained tied through the sudden death overtime session despite some frenetic action at both ends of the ice.
Finally, in the shootout, Thomas was the hero, again, stopping all three shots by the Penguins -- including one from Malkin.
Meanwhile, Marco Sturm bested Fleury to give the game to Boston.
Afterward, a relieved looking Coach Lewis said, "They found a way to tie it. But our guys found a way to win the hockey game."
"They have been coming quite often," said Thomas of the shootouts. He added that he was excited to face Malkin again in the penalty shot contest.
"It gave me a chance to redeem myself," said the B's goalie. "He beat me on one during the game on a good shot and fortunately we were able to pull it out."
"They tied the game and we had some good chances in the OT," said Chara. "So did they.
"Malkin was getting a lot of chances. We didn't close the gap…at times.
"But Timmy Thomas was outstanding tonight. He made some unbelievable saves…and in the shootout, he was just awesome," said the B's captain.
There is some rest for the weary Bruins, who have one day before their next contest.
"We're going to have a light skate tomorrow," said Lewis. "We'll have the guys come down, just for a little bit…and then get home to their families for Thanksgiving and get ready for the game."
The next game is in the TD Banknorth Garden on Friday when they square off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes at Noon.
Tickets are available for all home games online by clicking here
, at the TD Banknorth Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 617.624.BEAR.