Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-3 loss to Boston…
The Pens had a phenomenal first period. They played with so much hunger and so much energy, which was lacking from their 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday night. They were moving their legs, hustling and battling on every play and getting up and down the ice fast. It resulted in a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Phil Kessel's goal was a prime example of that. I can't say enough about the effort he put forth during his time out there. First, he hunted down a puck in the offensive zone to force a turnover and keep play in that end. When the Bruins eventually did clear, Kessel tracked back and made a great play in the defensive zone to send his team back the other way. He hit Sidney Crosby with a pass, who gave it right back. Kessel had a wide-open net, and went down on one knee for the one-timer. A much-deserved reward for a heck of a shift.
(Note: Crosby's assist on the goal means he still has not gone without a point in back-to-back games since Feb. 24-27 of last year. The captain has certainly been the epitome of consistency).
However, the Bruins responded with three unanswered goals in the second to take a 3-2 lead. Just like the Pens on Sunday, Boston was opportunistic. They capitalized on a couple of breakdowns, got a huge shorthanded goal and Tuukka Rask came up with a few brilliant and timely saves when his team needed them.
It didn't help that the Pens started to get into penalty trouble as the period progressed. They gave Boston two power plays in the last five minutes, which just can't happen when you're trying to come back. One carried over into the third period, and the Bruins took advantage, potting their fourth of the night - which stood as the game-winner A big reason for Boston's comeback was their special teams, as they also got a shorthanded goal from Brad Marchand.
There was a lot of bad blood boiling between these teams throughout the night. Both Kessel and Trevor Daley got into it with David Backes at different points, Scott Wilson got in a fight with Colin Miller and numerous scrums erupted. It was an entertaining matchup, as both teams were playing with pace. Each club fought and battled hard, but at the end of the night Mike Sullivan felt his team got outplayed by the Bruins, who were looking to respond from their 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh earlier this week.