The Pittsburgh Penguins could not find space or a second goal. After giving up two goals in the first 2:01 of the game, the Penguins played the Boston Bruins to a near draw, but those early goals were the difference, no matter how well Sidney Crosby played. The Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 Saturday afternoon at TD Garden.
The Washington Capitals play later Saturday night and can close to within three points and again control the battle for third place in the Metro Division.
In his first start in place of the injured Tristan Jarry, Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith did not get off to a good start. He served a couple of juicy rebounds, which Boston put in the back of the Penguins net in the first two minutes of the game.
Jarry is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
Just 49 seconds into the game, Trent Frederic outworked Penguins defenseman John Marino near the net front. DeSmith deflected Craig Smith’s shot into the slot, and Frederic (6) swatted it into a wide-open net.
The Boston Bruins claimed the 2-0 lead on a similar play one minute later. DeSmith bounced Erik Haula’s shot to the circle, and Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson didn’t tie up Taylor Hall in front. The puck went off Pettersson’s skate and Haula (15) got the goal.
In the first period, the Penguins managed just six shots, four by the top line from Sidney Crosby (2) and Rickard Rakell (2). The fourth line had the other two shots (Evan Rodrigues, Kasperi Kapanen).
The middle-six did not have a shot on goal in the first period, and only Bryan Rust attempted a shot.
Five minutes into the second period, Danton Heinen remedied that situation. On a two-on-two rush, Heinen (17) slipped behind Teddy Blueger and beat goalie Jeremy Swayman from the slot. Heinen set a new career-high for goals in a season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins power play missed a golden chance midway through the second period. They had two back-to-back advantages in a 4:11 space but could not score.
After 40 minutes, the Crosby line had nine of the Penguins’ 15 shots. Rakell led all players with four.
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang played over 25 minutes but had only one shot on goal in the extremely tight-checking game. Neither team had much offense after the Bruins early goals. After 50 minutes, the Bruins had only nine scoring chances.
DeSmith stopped 27 of 29 shots. Jeremy Swayman kept 22 of 23 shots out of the net.