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Aftermath: Penguins 2, Bruins 1 SO

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

WHAT HAPPENED
 
Pittsburgh defeats the Boston Bruins, 2-1, in a shootout at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. The Penguins finished with a 2-1 advantage in the shootout with scores from Petr Sykora and Evgeni Malkin, while Phil Kessel notch Boston's only shootout goal. The shootout was necessary because both teams played to a 1-1 tie after 65 minutes of play. Miroslav Satan scored the game's first goal after exiting the penalty box and joining a rush late near the end of the first period. The Bruins tied it in the second period with a power-play goal from Kessel on a slapper from the high slot. The player of the night was goaltender Dany Sabourin, who was making his first start of the season. He's a big body in the net and made 35 saves, including a few jaw-droppers.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

  Brooks Orpik and Milan Lucic exchange pleasantries Monday night (photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked: Defensive Responsibilities
Pittsburgh played well in its defensive zone against a very skilled Bruins team. Goligoski shielded Marco Sturm on a one-on-one break, taking the man and forcing a weak shot. Letang stumbled on his skates but recovered in time to reach Scott Thornton and force him wide of the net. Ruslan Fedotenko skated hard on a back-check to interfere with a Bruin player's stick on a cross-ice pass. If not for Fedotenko, Boston would have had an easy putt for the lead. Sidney Crosby raced back to his own zone in the last 20 seconds of regulation to force a turnover on Sturm. Boston had its opportunities but Pittsburgh didn't give up many odd-man rushes. Even when they were running around in their own zone, they still kept much of the play on the perimeter.

What Didn't Work: Penalties
This game shouldn't have even gone to a shootout. Pittsburgh had an great opportunity to win the game with a power play in overtime. Jordan Staal took a slashing penalty in front of the net and the penalty negated the power play. Staal took another penalty earlier in the game when he grabbed a Bruin after breaking his stick in the offensive zone. That penalty led to the Kessel power-play goal and tied the game at 1-1. Pittsburgh took the first three penalties of the game but escaped those situations unscathed, thanks in part to some great play by Dany Sabourin.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Dany Sabourin stole a point for the Penguins on Monday night in his first game since Feb. 21. In making his first start of the current campaign, Sabourin made 35 saves and gave up only one goal in the game. He made a great save on Marc Savard in the high slot in the third period. Sabourin was screened on the play but dropped down on his pads and extended his arm towards the open area of the net. Savard's shot hit off of Sabourin's left arm. On a turnover at the blue line, he stood strong against Patrice Bergeron in the slot. He also stood tall on a Marco Sturm semi-breakaway. Sabourin saved his best for the shootout, stopping four of five shots to enable Pittsburgh to get the extra point. After giving up a goal to Kessel, Sabourin stopped Bergeron, Michael Ryder, David Krejci and Savard to earn the victory.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Pittsburgh was outplayed in the first period. They spent a majority of the time in their own zone. Malkin and Crosby aren't as dangerous when they're wasting shifts chasing around the puck in their own zone. But Dany Sabourin played extremely well in that period to keep the game scoreless by stopping all 16 shots he faced. That's the difference a goalie can make. Pittsburgh got out-played but held a 1-0 lead at the end of the frame.

The ice at the Fake Garden seemed choppy at best. I saw a number of Bruins and Penguins stumble on the ice. Kris Letang and Pascal Dupuis both fell a few times. In fact, it was a Bruins fall that led to Pittsburgh's first goal.

The Bruins defensive corps like to pinch in on plays and even join the rush. They got caught on the Penguins first goal. Dennis Wideman brought the puck deep into the zone on an expiring power play. He was tripped up by the ice and Sidney Crosby picked up the puck and transitioned the other way. Crosby made a quick outlet pass to Evgeni Malkin, who split two Bruins, while Miroslav Satan (in the box serving a hooking penalty) jumped out of the box and joined the rush late. Malkin attracted two Bruins and powered around Zdeno Chara to throw a back-hander towards the net. Boston goalie Tim Thomas pushed away the shot right to the stick of Satan, who roofed the puck over Thomas' head for a 1-0 lead.

Boston's power-play goal came on a great set-up by the Bruins. First, Krejci won a faceoff against Malkin and pushed the puck to Kessel against the boards. Kessel passed the puck to former Penguin Andrew Ference at the point. Malkin jumped to the point to cover him and Ference glided towards center and lured Malkin with him, creating a vacancy in the slot. Ference gave the puck back to Kessel in the vacancy and he fired a shot through a screen and into the net. That's one of the downsides to using Malkin on the penalty kill unit. He's a liability in the faceoff circle and he needs to back off once Ference drifts out of his zone and let Dupuis pick him up. It will take Malkin some time to learn the penalty kill intricacies. But his presence alone should cause some hesitation from opposing teams' power plays.

The final minute of the second period was probably the most exciting sequence of events in the game. It all started with a scuffle between Crosby and Savard in the corner of the Penguins zone. Crosby gave a body check and face rub to Savard, knocking him off his skates. As Savard went down he pulled the Penguins captain down with him. The two let each other have it while on the ice and recieved matching minors.

Then Pascal Dupuis registered the Penguins most vicious hit of the season on Wideman. He came full speed down the left side and around the Bruins net. Dennis Wideman gathered the puck and lazily cruised behind the net on the right side. He didn't see Dupuis coming until the last second. By then he was road kill. Dupuis then raced into the circles and forced a turnover and shot on goal.

Boston responded by pushing the puck to the other end. Bergeron got off a quality shot on net with Sabourin challenging out to the blue line (or mid-circles). Sabourin kicked out the rebound back to Bergeron, who threw the puck at a wide-open net. The puck slid just to the left of the goal post with three seconds left in the second period.
 
Crosby showed off his skating abilities on a Penguins power play by skating circles around Bruins in the offensive zone. It seemed like he had the puck for 30 seconds and made four laps around.

Therrien juggled the line combinations during the third period (except for the top line which remained intact). It's not worth going through all the different combinations trouted onto the ice but it's something to keep an eye on as the week progresses.

The Penguins had a two-on-one break in overtime with Malkin and Staal. Malkin made a nice play by settling Brooks Orpik's outlet pass with his skate and then turning to push up ice. Staal jumped on the play and the Bruins defensemen were trapped in the Penguins zone (again). Malkin got the puck to Staal, who was hauled down by Savard to prevent a scoring opportunity, though it did illicit a penalty.

Staal giveth and taketh away. He drew the penalty on the two-on-one opportunity and then took a slashing penalty on the subsequent power play after only 17 seconds on the man-advantage.

The overtime ended with the uncommon three-on-three, which turned into a three-on-two when a Bruin broke his stick. But the Penguins didn't muster many shots and passed the puck - and many opportunities - away in the process.

Therrien sent out Letang, Sykora and Crosby as the top-three shootout men; Satan and Malkin followed. Sykora scored with a deke and back-hander. Malkin faked left, right, left before throwing a wrist shot blocker-side into the net. Sabourin gave up the first goal to Kessel and then stopped all four Bruins after that.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Pittsburgh improved its record to 4-2-1 on the season. The Penguins' won their first conventional road game of the season, though are technically 2-0 on the road with their 4-3 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators in Sweden. Both games went to overtime.

> Pittsburgh scored the game's first goal at 18:51 of the first period when Miroslav Satan (4) wristed a Evgeni Malkin rebound over the head of Tim Thomas. The Bruins tied the game in the second period on Phil Kessel's power-play goal from the high slot at 13:53. Pittsburgh won the shootout with two scorers (Petr Sykora, Malkin) to Boston's one (Phil Kessel).

> The Penguins didn't score a power-play goal for the first time since the season's opening game. Pittsburgh went 0 for 2 on the night.

Malkin has scored a point in six of the Penguins' seven games this season. He has eight points in the last three games (1G-7A). Malkin leads the NHL, as of early last night, with 11 points (2G-9A) in seven games. He registered an assist on the Penguins' lone goal of the night.

> Sidney Crosby also assisted on Satan's goal, giving him a three-game scoring streak. Crosby has seven points (1G-6A) during that streak.

> Satan scored his fourth goal of the season, and first even-strength goal. He's registered those four goals in the last five games.

> Sykora and Malkin each recorded their first shootout goals of the season.
 
THREE STARS* QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1.Dany Sabourin, PIT
2. Evgeni Malkin, PIT
3. Phil Kessel, BOS
 "Everyone has a lot of confidence in Dany (Sabourin). If it wasn't for
him early, we would have been down by two or three (goals)."
-Brooks Orpik
 *As judged by Kasan
LINKS


Author: Sam Kasan

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