PITTSBURGH -- It wasn’t easy, but the Boston Bruins might have gotten the signature win they’ve been searching for.
Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.
Forward Milan Lucic took a wrist shot toward the net that got through traffic with 2:17 remaining. Bergeron redirected the puck past Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for his second goal of the game. The play was reviewed and it was determined Bergeron’s stick was below the crossbar.
"I thought it was inconclusive and they called it a good goal on the ice, so usually when that's what happens, it's hard to turn back. I was pretty confident it was below the crossbar," Bergeron said. "At some point, it's going to have to go our way, and tonight that was the case. And definitely, it wasn't perfect by all means, but it was definitely a good effort and we found a way to get the big win."
Boston (20-15-6) avoided a fourth consecutive loss and Pittsburgh (24-10-6) finished 2-1-1 on its four-game homestand. The Bruins overtook the Toronto Maple Leafs, who lost 6-2 to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, for eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
"It wasn't a perfect game, but I think the win was really important for us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You talk about 'Where's the confidence?' Well, you have to win some games to get some confidence. So, it feels good to get that win in overtime.
"But by no means do we feel or think we’re out of the woods, but it's a good start."
With the Penguins down 2-1 entering the third period, Evgeni Malkin took 14 seconds to tie it 2-2.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff fed a pass to Malkin that sent him streaking through the neutral zone. Malkin roofed a slap shot over Boston goalie Tuukka Rask’s right shoulder for his Penguins-leading 18th goal and 45th point of the season.
"We deserved two points tonight, but we missed a couple chances," Malkin said. "We hit a couple posts and it was just a little bit of bad luck tonight, but I think we played hard. We shoot the puck and control and it wasn’t enough to win, but a great job both ways."
Pittsburgh continued to press by forcing a holding call on Boston forward Loui Eriksson 55 seconds later. Sidney Crosby nearly gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead with a wrist shot that got by Rask but hit the left post 2:47 into the third.
The Penguins failed to score on four power plays.
"Sid’s not going to score all the time" Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "Maybe it’s [David] Perron who’s going to score. Maybe it's [Steve] Downie who's going to score. We do have to get more secondary scoring, for sure, throughout our lineup, and not to put it all on Sid and his responsibility to score, but our power play has to respond.
"We have to get goals like we were. At the beginning of the year, those goals, they separated from being a tie game to a win."
Bergeron gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead despite being outshot 26-14 through two periods. Lucic carried the puck through the Penguins zone and sent a pass to the front of Pittsburgh's net while being checked by defenseman Robert Bortuzzo.
Fleury poked the puck into the area between the faceoff circles and to Bergeron, who sent a wrist shot past the goalie with 4:23 left in the second period.
Pittsburgh appeared to take a 2-1 lead when forward Craig Adams backhanded a shot into the Bruins goal 3:28 into the second period, but it was ruled forward Zach Sill, who was sent into the crease by Adam McQuaid, interfered with Rask and the goal was disallowed.
After Penguins defenseman Simon Despres sent a slap shot wide, Malkin collected the rebound and circled the net before abruptly changing direction without Rask noticing. Malkin sent a pass to forward Beau Bennett by the right post with Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara stumbling in front of him.
Bennett placed a wrist shot through Chara's legs and past a sliding Rask to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 3:37 into the first period. It was Bennett's first goal since missing 16 games because of a knee injury and the mumps.
Chara scored late in the first period to tie the game 1-1.
Bruins forward Reilly Smith's shot deflected off of Penguins defenseman Paul Martin's skate and to Chara above the right faceoff circle. Chara one-timed a slap shot past a screen by David Krejci and over Fleury's glove into the upper-right corner of the net with 2:03 remaining in the first.
"It's always nice to win, especially right now, we need those points," Chara said. "I felt that we started the game on our heels, and after the first 5-10 minutes we kind of picked it up and played better, more puck-possession game. It was a pretty even game, I think, the whole game.
“We're working really hard and we try to focus on the process and towards the end, I thought we had a little bit more chances we had that we could put it, but finally we did in overtime.”