WILKES-BARRE – Sure, it was a preseason game. Yeah, the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4.
Still, none of that mattered to hockey fans. They wanted to see Sidney Crosby skate in an NHL game. He did exactly that Wednesday night at Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza and looked sharp in the Penguins’ overtime defeat.
“It was nice to get the first one out of the way,” Crosby said.
Mario Lemieux, who skated with Crosby occasionally on the evening, was impressed with the Penguins’ top-overall pick.
“I thought he played very well,” he said. “He showed a lot of strength along the boards. He made some good plays out there and got the puck to the net.”
It took Crosby 8:22 to register his first preseason point. On the power play, he took a long outlet pass from Sergei Gonchar and broke in on Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. With a Boston defender draped all over him, he was able to get a shot on goal. Thomas blocked it, but Mark Recchi was able to poke the loose puck into the net to knot the game at 1-1. Crosby earned an assist – his only point of the night.
The Bruins’ Brad Isbister opened the scoring when he wristed a shot past Jocelyn Thibault 6:48 into the contest.
Following Recchi’s goal, Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead when he beat Thibault from the top of the near circle.
Gonchar knotted the game at 2-all. His laser from the near the center of the blue line beat Thomas with 10:12 remaining in the period. Ziggy Palffy and Lemieux assisted on the power-play goal.
The Bruins re-took the lead, 3-2, when Brad Boyes converted on a two-man advantage. His slapper from the far circle beat Thibault with 2:37 left in the period.
Hostilities broke out in the first period when Pittsburgh’s Ryan VandenBussche and Boston’s Andrew Alberts dropped the gloves early in the frame. VandenBussche won the brawl as he leveled Alberts – much to the delight of the fans.
Bergeron tallied his second goal of the night with 4:42 left in the second period. His shot from the far circle got past Thibault for a 4-2 Bruins lead.
VandenBussche trimmed the Penguins’ deficit to 4-3 when he converted a 2-on-1. He flipped Maxime Talbot’s pass past Taylor with 1:55 remaining in the period.
Palffy’s power-play goal tied the game at 4-4 with 6:59 left in the contest. He slammed in a rebound. Recchi and Lemieux assisted on the goal.
Boston’s Zdenek Blatny gave the Bruins the win in overtime when his slapper beat Thibault.
In the shootout – an NHL preseason standard – the Penguins won, 2-1. Recchi and Erik Christensen tallied.
The Penguins practice on Thursday in Wilkes-Barre and travel to Binghamton, New York, on Friday to play the Ottawa Senators.