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Penguins score twice in third, hold off Bruins

by Wes Crosby /

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins' performance Wednesday didn't erase the memory of the Boston Bruins' sweep in last season's Eastern Conference Final.

But it did showcase why the Penguins made it to that conference final.

Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen scored third-period goals to propel the Penguins to a 3-2 win against the Bruins at Consol Energy Center.

Sutter charged through the neutral zone and down the right boards before putting a pinpoint shot into the upper left-hand corner for his first goal of the season to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead with 9:00 remaining.

"It's nice to get that monkey off the back and get the first one," Sutter said.

Jokinen scored the game-winner off of a turnover with 2:02 left when he fired a snap shot past Tuukka Rask.

"I saw a couple of times, our guys were taking the boards, and [Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk] had the puck and he was hitting their centermen all night," Jokinen said. "I was just kind of reading that he was going to hit their centerman and I was able to get the puck there.

"I had lots of time there to get the good shot."

Boston's Jarome Iginla scored on a slap shot with 1:43 remaining in his return to Pittsburgh, but the Bruins could not get another puck past Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 21 of 23 shots.

"We knew they'd come out strong and be skating well," Iginla said. "We were probably a bit not as aggressive as we can play, or going after it the way we can on our forecheck and our zone time. They came out well and skated well and did a lot of good things.

"We know we can be a lot better, and in the third, we were a lot better and were able to get back into it, but just came up short."

David Krejci had a chance to tie the game when he wristed a shot toward Fleury just before time expired, but the goalie made a stop reminiscent of his save on Nicklas Lidstrom in the waning seconds of Game 7 in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It was a different situation and a different side too," Fleury said. "But it was good to make the save and get the win."

After struggling to get anything past Fleury for two periods, Boston's Patrice Bergeron scored 1:05 into the third to tie the game 1-1. Dennis Seidenberg fired a wild shot from the blue line and Bergeron deflected it from in front of Pittsburgh's net.

The intensity remained through the rest of the final period with a few scrums forming after whistles were blown.

"I think the intensity and the atmosphere, I'm not sure it was quite April and May and June," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "But it certainly was a good match for a Wednesday Night Rivalry game in October."

Rask replicated his performance from last season's Eastern Conference Final through much of the first part of the game, but Chris Kunitz scored a power-play goal to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 6:54 into the second period.

Kris Letang deflected Sidney Crosby's shot high off of Kunitz, who backhanded the puck through his legs and past Rask. It was the Penguins' first goal against Rask since their lone goal in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, which was scored 8:51 into the second period.

"I think we were a little soft on that first penalty kill," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We allowed the guy to come in and take that wrist shot when we were supposed to push him down. So we have to be a little better.

"We have to play three periods like we did in the third."

Rask stopped 28 of 31 shots.

"[Rask] was good. Especially in that first period more than the second," Julien said. "He certainly held us in there, and that's what Tuukka's done for us this year."

With Chuck Kobasew (lower body) injured and Matt D'Agostini scratched for Pittsburgh, rookie Jayson Megna played alongside Evgeni Malkin and Jokinen. Malkin's line faced more turnover when Megna temporarily left the game after being hit into the boards on the first shift of his third NHL game.

Craig Adams replaced Megna, and Malkin had one of his more impressive periods of the season by facing Rask 1-on-1 three times after slicing through Boston's defense. Rask made the save each time and continued to deny Malkin and Megna, who led the Penguins with five shot attempts in the first period despite missing a few shifts.

"That was Evgeni's best game, I think, of the year," Bylsma said. "He was dominant. He stripped pucks, got the two great chances in the first period that were breakaways, but he was great down low. He set up Jayson Megna and Jussi about four or five times throughout the game.

"I thought he was exceptional."

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