Credit the Pittsburgh Penguins for tilting the ice against the Boston Bruins in the second period on Thursday night. Boston found a fluky goal near the end of the first period, but the Penguins responded with scoring chances and energy in the second period.
However, Boston broke the Penguins in one play during their 4-1 win at TD Garden in Boston.
It looked like the Penguins game until all five Penguins crashed below the hash marks on a Boston rush. As captain Sidney Crosby jumped back into position, Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk jumped into the play, which meant Kris Letang was outnumbered in front of the net.
Bergeron slipped Letang and buried a backhand near the crease for a 3-1 lead.
Now, let’s diagram the play, and you can see how slick Boston was and how disorganized the Penguins became, quickly. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan often says speed and movement in the offensive zone create pressure and coverage mistakes.
Boston applied that principle here. Watch.
Five Penguins collapsed to cover TWO Boston forecheckers and dump-in. That’s the first oops.
Step 2: Boston gets the loose puck. Patrice Bergeron ferreted out the treat and got the puck to the high slot. Look at the space Crosby tried to make up. One question, where in the world was Jake Guentzel? He didn’t appear on the screen throughout the process.
On the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice Matt Grzelcyk pinched, and Bryan Rust responded to keep up.
Lastly, it’s two-on-two at the net, but that’s about to change.
Step 3: P-O Joseph has a no-win choice: abandon the crease or leave Grzelcyk uncovered. He made the proper choice, but Rust didn’t take Bergeron, nor did Rust close the passing lane. He has to do one. Closing the passing lane would have been the easiest.
Step 4, the dagger: Patrice Bergeron is alone. In front of the Penguins net. Just hand over your wallet. It’s over. Bergeron will nail that chance every time. He did.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ great period was toast, and so too was the game.