The Penguins dropped a 4-3 decision to the Boston Bruins Monday night at TD Garden, but they have their captain to thank for gaining a point in the standings.
The Penguins battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force overtime, needing a goal from Sidney Crosby with 0.3 seconds left in regulation for force the extra session.
“I like the way, against this tough team, we stayed with it and the game plan and came out with a tie after regulation,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
The Penguins pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for the extra attacker in the final 1:10 minutes of regulation and trailing 3-2. Pittsburgh didn’t stop working, even as the clock was winding down the final seconds.
Evgeni Malkin made a spectacular play to keep the puck in the offensive zone along the wall and on the subsequent sequence the Penguins were rewarded. With the final seconds ticking away Chris Kunitz made a blind, backhand pass toward the net. The puck slid through a few Bruins defenders and right to the tape of Crosby, who buried it into the goal.
“I was just hanging around the crease and hoping the puck ended up there,” Crosby said. “It was good we got it back. Unfortunately we didn’t get the two points, but we battled hard throughout the whole game.”
Torey Krug scored 34 seconds into overtime to give Boston the win. They also had goals from Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Zdeno Chara. NEAL ROLLING
Penguins winger James Neal has only played in 10 games so far this season after missing the team’s first 15 games with an injury. But he’s starting to find his groove and heat up.
“I’m feeling back to normal,” Neal said. “The biggest thing is getting your timing and game legs back. I feel I’m there now.”
Neal scored two goals and added an assist for the Penguins to extend his scoring streak to four games (5G-4A). He now has 12 points (6G-6A) in his last nine games.
“He’s got a dangerous shot,” Bylsma said. “Anytime he can get it off, he’s finding areas and spots to get it off right now.”
Neal scored on a sniper shot from the slot in the second period to cut the Bruins lead to 2-1. Then in the third period, Neal slid into some open ice above the circle and once again rifled a one-timed snap shot into the netting. Both of Neal’s goals were set up by Jussi Jokinen.
“When you’re shooting the puck and good things are happening you want to keep going to those areas,” Neal said. “I’ve been lucky enough to find some good spots and got some great passes from my linemates.”FAST START, NO RESULTS
The Penguins have been the victim of some odd circumstances so far this season. During the month of November, Pittsburgh has had some of its best starts to games, outchancing and outshooting nearly every opponent. But often in those games, Pittsburgh has been stymied by a hot goaltender and end up on the wrong end of the scoring.
Monday night against Boston was no different. The Penguins had a 10-1 shot lead through the opening 8:30 minutes of the contest. However, the Penguins would not register another shot for the rest of the frame and were trailing 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes.
“The first 10 minutes we had those opportunities,” Bylsma said. “I like we way we played when we came out. We had opportunities, but at the end of the period we give them two goals to get up 2-0.”
“To be down 2-0 after the start we had was tough, but we stuck with it,” Crosby said. “The start was tough. We outplayed them, they got a couple chances and scored. If we score at least one there, maybe it’s a different outcome.” GIBBONS COMES HOME
Penguins rookie Brian Gibbons had a homecoming in the Penguins contest against the Bruins.
Gibbons, who is a Braintree, Massachusetts native, played four seasons at Boston College from 2007-11. A lot of people in the city helped him to get his game to the pro level, and he was gracious to play in front of them.
“It was very exciting and special,” Gibbons said. “I had a lot of family and friends that were able to make it out, a lot of people who helped to get me to this level throughout the years. It was special to play in front of them.”
Bylsma has been impressed with Gibbon’s first five career NHL games, which include his first goal and assist.
“His speed, when he can bring that, he might be the fastest guy on the ice,” Bylsma said. “That’s what he’s got to bring. He has been effective when he’s brought it.”BENNETT OUT 8-10 WEEKS
Bylsma said that forward Beau Bennett had surgery today on his wrist/hand and will out for approximately 8-10 weeks. Read more