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Penguins Score Four Straight, But Stumble in Boston 6-4



Pittsburgh Penguins score vs. Boston Bruins

The Pittsburgh Penguins goal-scoring drought ended with thunder and lightning before they stormed the Boston Bruins for four unanswered goals Monday night. The vaunted Boston top line was a hockey clinic as they scored two of the first three Boston goals but the Penguins depth answered and Penguins defenseman John Marino scored his first NHL goal with just three seconds remaining in the second period. But the Boston top line laughed last as winger Brad Marchand snapped the game-winning goal with less than two minutes remaining and the Boston Bruins beat the Penguins 6-4 at TD Garden Monday night.

Marchand had five points (2g, 3a), too.

Boston answered the Penguins four straight goals with three in the third period. Things didn’t start well for the Penguins, either. Goalie Matt Murray didn’t last more than 26 minutes and the Penguins trailed 3-0 early in the second period.

Five minutes into the game, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang turned the puck over at the defensive blue line and the hockey gods were not forgiving. Boston forward Jake DeBrusk intercepted the pass and skated down the left-wing. Despite coverage by Letang, DeBrusk (3) scored when his soft wrist shot eluded Penguins goalie Matt Murray.

The Penguins defensemen were generous again later in the first period. Justin Schultz nor Marcus Pettersson were able to clear the puck or connect with forwards. Instead, the duo left the front of the Penguins net exposed and the Boston top line scored yet another goal. The line has been the best in hockey. Despite the even scoring chances, Boston led 2-0.

The Bruins top line put the dagger through Murray just four minutes into the second period. Boston used two tape-to-tape passes to break out of the defensive zone and spring NHL leading scorer David Pastrnak into the offensive zone. From the top of the left-wing circle, Pastrnak (14) curled his stick and snapped a wrist shot past Murray.

However, after Penguins backup goalie Tristan Jarry hit the net, no more pucks did…until later in the third period. The Penguins not only insulated their backup goalie for much of his fourth appearance, but they also peppered Boston goalie Jaroslav Halak. And then they salted him, too.

Second chances eluded the Penguins Saturday as they fired 52 shots against Edmonton on Saturday but as they began to outwork Boston in the second period, a golden chance emerged. Five minutes into the period, Nick Bjugstad won an offensive zone faceoff, defenseman Justin Schultz shot the puck into the corner for Bjugstad, whose shot went wide but right to winger Dominik Kahun.

Kahun (3) pushed it into the open net for the first Penguins goal.

Bjugstad (1) scored a breakaway goal midway through the period as the Penguins domination reached a fever pitch.

A few minutes later, Evgeni Malkin reminded a few who may have forgotten that he is indeed an elite, all-world talent. Malkin dished a blind, spinning backhand pass to open space in the offensive zone for Bryan Rust who streaked past the Boston defense. Rust (2) snapped it past Halak.

Late in the second period, the Penguins killed a tripping minor to Marino (1), who bolted from the penalty box for another breakaway goal with only three seconds remaining in the period. It was the Boston native’s first NHL goal and he scored it in front of friends and family who rented a suite for the game.

The Penguins unloaded 21 shots on Halak in the second period and fired 44 shots overall. The Penguins zipped 96 shots on goal in the last two games.

Murray allowed three goals on 11 shots, but Jarry allowed two goals on 14 shots. Halak stopped 40 of 44 shots.

Boston top-line center Patrice Bergeron scored the empty netter. The Boston top line scored four of the six Boston goals.

The injury bug which appeared to stop biting the Penguins for a little while again took a big bite out of the Penguins. The Penguins announced winger Patric Hornqvist was out long term on Sunday. Monday night, top defenseman Kris Letang did not play in the third period after a collision late in the second period with Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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