Hockey is a strange game folks.
When things are going your way, everything seems to be clicking, you play with confidence, you tend to get the breaks here and there. You feel as if nothing is ever going to go wrong.
However, when you’re struggling it’s a completely different ball game. All of a sudden you’re not catching the breaks, nothing is going your way. It seems like you’ll never get things back on track.
Unfortunately for Boston, after a two month stretch of dominating the competition, the Black and Gold just can’t seem to get much going as of late. That trend would continue on Saturday afternoon when they hosted Evgeni Malkin and the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins.
After what most would consider a rather lifeless first frame from both sides, the Pens would take advantage of a late-period power-play opportunity as Malkin would knock a rebound past Tim Thomas to put Pittsburgh ahead with only 0:09 seconds remaining on the clock. The 6’3” Russian forward once again re-asserted himself as the best player in the game today, picking up his 28th goal and league-leading 60th point of the season as he continues to run roughshod on the rest of the NHL .
“He’s been the catalyst for our group all year. It’s amazing sometimes. When you don’t think he can do it anymore, he goes out there and scores another goal. He’s been great for us and hopefully we’ll keep him going.” – Joe Vitale
The B’s where not able to muster up many real offensive chances throughout the entire second frame despite being given a four-minute power-play chance courtesy of a Pascal Dupuis double minor for high sticking.
Early in the third Pittsburgh would tack on an insurance tally when the villainous Matt Cooke out-worked two Bruin defenders in front of Thomas and knocked in his 9th goal of the season. The man Bruins’ fans love to hate has now scored two goals in as many games against Boston this year and has put up sixteen points in twenty-five career games against the Black and Gold.
Atoning for his earlier mistake, defenseman Joe Corvo would find the back of the Penguins’ net as his wrist shot made it through a Marchand screen and past Marc-Andre Fleury to cut the deficit to one.
“Marchand did a great job of standing in front of him until the last minute until it kind of got to the net. It was the right height to where the goalie was kind of staying low and trying to see it and it just went in.” – Joe Corvo
Unfortunately for Boston, the rest of the third period would simply be more of the same for a Bruins squad that simply cannot find it’s groove right now. They unloaded nine more third period shots against Fleury but were still unable to tickle the twine and tie the score.
“You’ve got to give credit to the last two goalies we’ve played. They played really good games I think, and the last two teams we’ve played have played a pretty solid 60 minutes of defense.” – Tim Thomas
Boston has now only managed one goal on their last 81 shots through their last 132:51 minutes of play.
“The last two games, we’ve had almost 80 shots and only one goal showing for it. It’s frustrating right now, but thankfully we got a game tomorrow to focus on.” – Daniel Paille
Boston hasn’t managed to beat the Penguins at TD Garden since November 10….. of the year 2009. Today’s loss marks the B’s fourth defeat in their past six games and their record has dropped to 4-5-1 over their last ten games.
Goals– PIT (2) BOS (1)
Shots– PIT (28) BOS (29)
Power-Play– PIT (1-3) BOS (0-2)
Penalty-Kill– PIT (2-2) BOS (2-3)
Ben’s Three Stars….. 3.) Matt Cooke …..2.) Evgeni Malkin …..1.) James Neal
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Black and Gold as they depart from Boston this afternoon for a 12:30 PM Super Bowl Sunday matinee contest with the Caps at the Verizon Center in Washington tomorrow. The Pens will also be on the move fairly quickly as they are scheduled for a 1 PM contest in New Jersey tomorrow afternoon.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.