Boston -- The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-4, at the TD Banknorth Garden on Thursday evening. Evgeni Malkin scored two goals for the Penguins, but it was Phil Kessel who scored the game winner in the shootout to send the Boston crowd home happy.
"I think he is playing with more…composure and determination," said Bruins head coach Dave Lewis of Kessel. "He's doing the little things that are important and he was really effective again today."
Despite Kessel's heroics, it was a tough start to the evening for the Bruins who were down in a hole, 2-0, early.
"We had no legs in the first period," explained Lewis. "We played yesterday, got in (to the Boston area) at a reasonable hour, but still you have to get your legs.
"And I thought we got our legs in the second period."
Pittsburgh's Ryan Malone put the Pens up 1-0 at 10:40 with his sixth marker of the campaign (assists to Sidney Crosby, Mark Recchi). Then, Evgeni Malkin notched his 23rd goal of the season at 18:23 when he beat Boston goalie Hannu Toivonen over the shoulder off a feed from Jordan Staal and former Boston College Eagle Robert Scuderi.
Pittsburgh's goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, made six saves through the first 20-minutes and preserved the two-goal Penguin lead into the first intermission.
If you changed the channel (or left BostonBruins.com) after the first period, you missed an offensive explosion.
With their "legs" intact, the Bruins scored three goals to come back and take the lead, 3-2, but the Penguins scored two more to take over the lead going into the third period.
Murray scored his 22nd to put the B's within one at 1:10 and Marco Sturm (12th, 9:04) and Brad Stuart (7th, 9:41) both scored to put the B's up 3-2.
Unfortunately Malkin (24th, 14:39) and Jordan Staal (14th, 18:12) both notched goals on the man advantage and sent the Bruins to the locker room down 4-3 to the Penguins.
Savard, continuing to make a point about his exclusion from the All-Star team, scored his 18th goal at 13:38 (Phil Kessel, Murray) to knot the game with less than half a period to play.
But neither team gained the advantage in regulation and the contest went to sudden death overtime.
Despite Boston's best efforts, and a penalty to the Penguins, Fleury stoned the B's in the extra session and the game went to penalty shots.
Toivonen stopped Malkin, Crosby and Gonchar in the shootout to set up the game winner by Kessel.
"It's just a breakaway," said Toivonen of the shootout contest. "You go out, try and get a good gap and take their space away.
"You make them make the first move."
On this night, however, with Pittsburgh's phenoms Crosby and Malkin in the building, it was Boston's young star that stole the show -- albeit at the last possible moment.
"He taps you on the back," said Kessel of the moment when Coach Lewis chooses his shooters. "He says you're up."
"I think everyone (watches the shootout) just in case they ever have to shoot.
"(But) I felt confident going out there. I knew what I was going to do, and just went out there and did it," he said.
The Bruins return to action on Saturday versus Ottawa, a 7:00 p.m. start on NESN and WBZ.