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Snapshots: Bruins vs. Penguins

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins (15-6-2) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (15-9-0)

9:41 p.m. - Overtime Snapshots: BOS 4, PIT 3

Making their first appearance in Boston since losing Game 4 of last season's Eastern Conference Final, the Penguins nearly got some revenge and extended their regular season win streak over the Bruins to eight. Sidney Crosby potted an improbable game-tying goal with just 0.3 seconds left, but that wasn't enough to keep Boston from picking up a victory. The Bruins began putting immense pressure on the Penguins at the outset of overtime, and it was defenseman Torey Krug who netted the game-winner on a slapshot from the left faceoff circle. Boston improves to 16-6-2 as it prepares to take on the Red Wings for a Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup in Detroit.

9:35 p.m. - Third Period Snapshots: BOS 3, PIT 3

PITTSBURGH TIES IT WITH 00.3 LEFT: With fewer than one second remaining in regulation and the Bruins on the verge of snapping their seven-game regular season losing streak to the Penguins, Sidney Crosby snuck one past Tuukka Rask and forced overtime. With Marc-Andre Fleury out of his net, Pittsburgh was able to establish control of the puck in Boston's end. With roughly four seconds remaining, James Neal tossed a puck on net from the boards that deflected off of Chris Kunitz and landed right on Crosby's stick on the doorstep of the net. We're now headed for overtime in Boston.

CHARA PUTS B'S BACK IN THE LEAD: The Lucic-Krejci-Iginla line produced its finest shift of the night beginning around the 14:00 mark of the third frame. With help from Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara on the backend, the line generated multiple scoring chances. Then, at 14:45, they finally capitalized and put the Bruins back in front. With Milan Lucic providing traffic in front, Zdeno Chara put a wrist shot on net and snuck it past Marc-Andre Fleury for his fifth goal of the season.

PENGUINS KNOT IT UP AT 2-2: After hitting the crossbar and losing out on a breakaway, James Neal finally beat Tuukka Rask again and tied the game up at 2-2 at the 11:09 mark of the third period. Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk struggled to settle a puck at the blue line in Boston's end, allowing Jussi Jokinen to swoop in and steal it. Jokinen fed Neal in front of the net, and Neal picked a corner and roofed one over Rask's shoulder. Neal now has two goals tonight, while Jokinen picks up his second assist for the game.

RASK ROBS JAMES NEAL: Penguins winger James Neal has been giving the Bruins problems all night and he nearly potted his second goal of the night at the 5:17 mark of the third period. A Penguins defenseman launched a saucer a pass from Pittsburgh's end that landed on Neal's stick at the opposite end of the ice, creating a breakaway. Neal moved in on Tuukka Rask's glove-side but he couldn't best the Bruins goaltender, who has now turned away 24 of 25 shots tonight.

By taking a lead into the third period, the Bruins finds themselves in familiar and comfortable territory. Boston has accrued an 11-2-0 record when leading after two periods. Moreover, the Bruins are 87-8-6 when leading after the second dating back to the 2010-11 season. The Penguins, meanwhile, entered tonight's tilt with a 1-6-0 record when trailing after the second period this season.

8:39 p.m. - Second Period Snapshots: BOS 2, PIT 1

The first two periods of tonight's game are now in the books and the Bruins are holding on to a 2-1 lead entering the final frame. Pittsburgh cut the deficit in half just 37 seconds into the second thanks to a goal from winger James Neal, who later rung a potential game-tying goal off the crossbar. Despite trailing in the shots department by a 20-13 mark, the B's are now only 20 minutes away from securing their second consecutive win.

CHARA FILLS IN FOR RASK: With just under five minutes remaining in the second frame, Evgeni Malkin navigated through the Bruins' defense, swung around the net, and delivered a pass to James Neal at the top of the left face-off circle. Neal crushed a slapshot off the crossbar and Tuukka Rask lost track of the puck. The rebound slid out to defenseman Paul Martin at the point. With Rask out of position, Martin had a wide open net and a chance to knot the game up at 2-2, but Zdeno Chara stepped in front of the shot and blocked it, preserving the Bruins' one-goal lead.

BRUINS NEARLY GET ANOTHER: At the 13:27 mark of the second period, Reilly Smith made a great, heads-up play on the forecheck. Penguins net-minder Marc-Andre Fleury had possession of the puck behind his net waiting for a play to develop. Smith snuck around the boards and pick pocketed Fleury, only to have the puck taken away by Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin in the corner. With five minutes remaining in the period, the Penguins are outshooting the Bruins 20-11, but the B's remain in front on the scoreboard.

MARCHAND-BERGERON-ERIKSSON LINE THRIVING: The Bruins and Penguins have combined to get just nine shots on net through the first half of a quiet second period. However, the Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson line is giving the Penguins problems every time it gets on to the ice. Thus far, the trio has accounted for six of Boston's 10 shots. Eriksson leads the way with three shots, while Bergeron has two and Marchand has one.

Just 37 seconds into the second period, Pittsburgh trimmed Boston's lead to one. Jussi Jokinen set up James Neal in the slot, and the Penguins winger whipped a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask for his fifth goal of the year. Evgeni Malkin, who picked up a secondary assist on the goal, now leads the NHL with 23 helpers.

7:46 p.m. - First Period Snapshots: BOS 2, PIT 0

The Bruins didn't get off to the start they wanted in the first period, as they struggled to generate any offense or prevent the Penguins from firing away on Tuukka Rask. However, the tables quickly turned in the second half of the period when Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith both potted goals to give Boston a 2-0 lead heading into the second frame. This is the 12th consecutive game in which the B's have not trailed following the first period.

Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis was sent to the sin bin for hooking at 15:34, and it took the Bruins just nine seconds to capitalize and take a 2-0 lead. Patrice Bergeron won a draw in the right face-off circle and the B's immediately began cycling the puck to near perfection. The Bruins PP unit worked the puck in deep to Carl Soderberg, who whipped a beautiful pass to Reilly Smith, who was unaccounted for on the opposite end of the offensive zone. Smith registers his fifth goal of the season and is now riding a three-game point streak, while Soderberg picks up his second assist of the night.

The Penguins came out of the gate hot, but the Bruins are the first team on the scoreboard thanks to a beautiful effort by Loui Eriksson. Brooks Orpik whiffed on a slapshot at the point in Boston's end, allowing Carl Soderberg to scoop up a loose puck and race down to the other end. Exhibiting great patience and vision, Soderberg held onto the puck and drew both Penguins defensemen out of position. He then delivered a perfect saucer pass to a streaking Eriksson, who caught the pass between his legs and then went five-hole on Marc Andrew-Fleury at 12:27. This snaps Eriksson's three-game pointless streak and gives him his fifth goal of the season.

Despite playing its third game in five nights, Pittsburgh has shown no signs of fatigue through the first half of the first period. At the 11:07 mark of the first frame, the Penguins are outshooting the Bruins by a 10-3 clip. Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby—Pittsburgh's two leading goal scorers—have both recorded two shots on net already

Bruins winger Brad Marchand was sent to the penalty box for high-sticking at 4:42, giving Pittsburgh's red-hot power play its first opportunity of the game. Both Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby had scoring chances right on the doorstep of the B's net, but Tuukka Rask turned both away. Penguins assistant captain Evgeni Malkin generated Pittsburgh's best look on the man-advantage when he showcased his world-class stick handling and glided through Boston's defense. Rask denied Malkin, however, and the Bruins PK is now 1-for-1 on the night.

On the first shift of tonight's game, the Penguins immediately set up shop in the Bruins' end, maintaining pressure and a physical forecheck. Pens winger Chris Kunitz—who ranks second on the team with 11 goals—had a pair of prime scoring chances in the left face-off circle, but Tuukka Rask made sprawling kick saves with his right leg on both occasions. Four minutes into the first period, Pittsburgh leads Boston in shots by a 2-1 mark.

6:30 p.m. - Pregame Snapshots: BOS vs. PIT

STARTING GOALTENDERS: Rask (12-5-2, 1.62 GAA, .945 Save %) vs. Fleury (13-7-0, 1.95 GAA, .923 Save %). Rask is 1-5-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .903 save % in six career games against Pittsburgh. Fleury is 11-5-2 with a 2.18 GAA and .928 save % and two shutouts in 19 career games against Boston.

BRUINS VS PENGUINS LIFETIME: The Bruins and Penguins are meeting for the 191st time tonight with the Bruins holding a 103-61-21-5 record and a 729-590 scoring advantage overall. The Bruins are 62-22-6-3 against the Penguins in their 93 games played in Boston, with the Black and Gold maintaining a 389-261 scoring edge in those contests. Pittsburgh’s seven-game win streak over Boston is the longest current such streak by a Bruins opponent.

REILLY ROLLING: Bruins forward Reilly Smith recoded his fourth goal of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 23, which set a new career single-season high for the second year pro. Smith currently ranks third on the team in points (15) and second in assists (11), which are also career season-highs. His previous highs with the Dallas Stars were three goals, six assists and nine points, which he accrued in the 2012-13 season in 37 games played.

POWER ZEE: B’s defenseman Zdeno Chara scored his team leading fourth power play goal (leads the team) against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. All of Chara’s four goals this season have come on the man-advantage. The Bruins are 8-0-0 this season when the Captain registers a point in a game and are 4-0-0 when he scores a goal.

STAYING AHEAD: The Bruins have been tied with their opponent following the first period in eight of their last 11 games, have led in three of those games and have not trailed following the first period since Oct. 31 vs. Anaheim, when they trailed 1-0 after the first en route to a 3-2 shootout victory. The Bruins have been leading or been tied with their opponent entering the third period in their last ten games and have not trailed following the second period since Nov. 2 at NY Islanders, when they trailed 3-1, which was also the final score.

SLICE THE ICE HOLIDAY SKATE AT TD GARDEN: The Boston Bruins will host their fourth annual “Slice the Ice” event to benefit the Boston Bruins Foundation on Sunday, December 1. “Slice the Ice” will take place across four hour and a half sessions starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 2:00 p.m. At the event fans will have the opportunity to skate on the TD Garden ice and take pictures on the Bruins bench, at the Bruins goal, in the penalty box, and with the Zamboni® ice resurfacing machine. Fans will then be taken on a tour of the Boston Bruins locker room followed by a photo op with the 2011 Stanley Cup banner. Fans are encouraged to use this event to stage a unique and memorable family holiday photo.

179 AND COUNTING: Following last Saturday’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Bruins have sold out 179 consecutive regular season and playoff games at TD Garden. Their last non-sellout was on December 2, 2009 when they hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning and drew 16,553.

PENGUINS NOTEBOOK: Pittsburgh is playing their third game in five nights… The Penguins have gone six consecutive games without allowing a power play goal, and have allowed only one power play goal in the last 12 games… Centerman Sidney Crosby enters tonight leading the NHL in points with 30 (12-18=30)… Forward Evgeni Malkin is currently riding a four-game points streak with one goal and seven assists during that span. Malkin’s 22 assists are tied for first in the NHL with San Jose’s Joe Thornton… Winger Chris Kunitz leads the Penguins with a +12 rating and is third on the team with 21 points…

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins power play: 11-for-61 (18.0%, 18th NHL), Bruins penalty kill: 60-for-70 (85.7%, 5th NHL)… Penguins power play: 19-for-85 (22.4%, T-5th NHL), Penguins penalty kill: 61-for-70 (87.1%, 2nd NHL).

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