Brad Marchand disappointed the Pittsburgh Penguins and the fans at PPG Paints Arena when he buried a bouncing rebound midway through the third period on Tuesday night. Marchand’s 26th goal of the season gave the Boston Bruins a 2-0 lead, and they stayed firm to return the favor from the first game of the series and had the better of the Penguins 3-1.
The Penguins failed to convert on three power play chances in the first two periods and didn’t get another as Boston cruised.
Taylor Hall (6) sealed the deal with about eight minutes remaining when he cut to the slot, toe dragged around Sidney Crosby, and ripped it past Tristan Jarry.
Penguins center Jeff Carter, who has been playing out of his skates, broke the shutout with just over two minutes remaining. It was Carter’s third goal with the Penguins and 11th this season.
Much like Sunday, the game was a battle with little offense and few chances. This time, Boston converted and won. Boston also won the season series against the Penguins. Boston was 5-3-0 against the Penguins, while the Penguins were 3-4-1 against Boston this season.
The loss dropped the Penguins from first place as the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders. The Penguins magic number remained at four points as the New York Rangers also won on Tuesday night.
Unlike Sunday, Boston scored the first goal after nearly 40 minutes of scoreless hockey. With under two minutes remaining in the second period, David Krejci cut across the slot in front of Penguins defender Mike Matheson. Krejci (7) cut towards the center, but his backhander against the grain eluded Jarry. 1-0.
“You look at that first goal, that’s my fault. I came off of the bench and did get my guy and put myself in a bad spot,” Matheson said. “I had no gap. Flat-footed. You know, they have good players that are deceptive and hard to play against if you give them time.”
It was the first goal Jarry, who yielded just one goal combined over his last two starts, allowed in more than 125 minutes.
The second period emulated the first period as a buttoned-up grind. Chances never fully realized; there was always a body or stick in the way.
“I don’t think we were at our best. But having said that, I thought we were competing. We were right there in the third period,” Sullivan said. “We pressed a little bit. We gave up something. We gave up more than we would have liked off the rush. I think it was a result of us pressing and trying to score.”
The Penguins lost their patience with themselves as much as the Bruins?
The Penguins had three power plays in the first 40 minutes but were unable to crack the NHL’s second-best PK, despite heavy zone time.
The first period began where the previous game on Sunday left off. The Penguins controlled the scoring chances but were outshot, 14-11 in a tight-checking, scoreless slog.
The Penguins and Boston exercised their playoff games, and little space was available for either team, but the Penguins’ speed broke through the Boston defense several times. Speed and trailers burned defenders into the Boston zone.
In the first period, Boston blocked five of Sidney Crosby’s shots. He had none on net. One player on each of the Penguins’ top three lines tied for the team lead with three shots after two periods. Bryan Rust, Jeff Carter, and Zach Aston-Reese all had three. Boston outshot the Penguins 22-17 in that time.
Carter and Rust paced the Penguins with five shots each.
To make the Pittsburgh Penguins hill even steeper, Boston is undefeated when leading after two periods, now 19-0-2.
Jarry stopped 28 of 31 shots. His record fell to 21-9-3. Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of 26 shots and earned his second shutout this season.
It was a rough night for Crosby and his top line. According to Natural StatTrick.com, the Penguins top unit had just two shots on goal at even strength and yielded three goals against.
PHN’s Pittsburgh Penguins 3 Stars
3 Cody Ceci
2. Kaperi Kapanen
1. Jeff Carter