BOSTON -- The Bruins blew a 1-0 lead and saw their new arch-nemesis Jarome Iginla helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win on Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden.
The Penguins were without Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal, but still had enough to pull out a win, handing the B's their fourth straight loss.
Bruins forward Nathan Horton left the game in the first period after a short fight with Iginla, and never returned.
Priot to that fight, Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period after Brad Marchand dangled on Kris Letang and put a snap shot past Tomas Vokoun, 28 seconds into a power play.
Zdeno Chara skated the breakout into the neutral zone, hesitated, and made a pass up the left wing to a streaking Marchand, who stepped into the left circle and undressed Letang. Marchand's shot hit Vokoun, but trickled under his arm and over the goal line.
The Penguins tied the game at 1-1 in the opening minutes of the second period after Jussi Jokinen put home a garbage goal on a loose puck at the right post.
The Penguins then scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period to take the 3-1 lead and hold on for the eventual 3-2 win.
Just under five minutes into the third, Iginla let a low slapper go from the middle-point on the PP that beat Tuukka Rask, thanks to a Chris Kunitz screen out front.
Nearly four minutes later, and 11 seconds into another Penguins power play, Letang stepped up into the left circle and wristed one top-left on a goal that seemed way too easy, putting Pittsburgh up 3-1.
Tyler Seguin scored on his own rebound with 2.6 seconds left, cutting the lead to 3-2, but it was clearly too little, too late.
GOLD STAR: Jussi Jokinen once again stepped up and wreaked havoc with the Bruins as he did time and time again when he was with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Pittsburgh agitator finished with three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in the 3-2 win for the Penguins, and drew the key Brad Marchand penalty in the third period that set up Jarome Iginla’s game-winning power play goal. Jokinen did his job by using sneaky stick-work and one cheap shot toward Brad Marchand’s head to get under the winger’s skin, and was involved in every single one of Pittsburgh’s goals. He’s going to be an annoying factor for Pittsburgh during the playoffs.
BLACK EYE: Tough to put too rash of a judgment on him in his very first NHL game, but Carl Soderberg struggled quite a bit to not look lost out on the ice skating with Chris Kelly and Jaromir Jagr. He played 16:10 of ice time with no shots, no shots and no factor in the game other than taking a hooking penalty and finishing a minus-1 when his line allowed Pittsburgh’s first goal of the game. He’s only practiced with the team a couple of times and it’s clearly been a very bizarre week for a shy kid from Sweden trying to settle into Boston. So he’ll get more chances to work his way into the mix, but the 27-year-old didn’t look NHL-ready upon first blush.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins cranked out 28 shots on goal in the first two periods of Saturday afternoon’s game, but could only manage to put one past Tomas Vokoun in another frustrating example of offensive constipation. Though they were playing with the right emotion and the right level of intensity, a bit of offensive frustration can’t be avoided when that kind of things just keeps on happening to the Bruins over and over again. Of course it played out exactly that way when Pittsburgh got Boston to bite on a couple of frustration penalties in the third period and eventually banged home two power play strikes to hand the Bruins their fourth straight loss.
HONORABLE MENTION: The line of Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron accounted for both of Boston’s goals and 16 of their 40 shots on net, and was dominant throughout the 60 minutes of play. They probably could have potted at least two more goals themselves, and showed exactly the kind of puck-hunting and doggedness that characterizes them when they’re at their best. Seguin led all Bruins with eight shots on net and had 10 total shots attempted in 17:24 of ice time.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1-5-1 – the Bruins’ record against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens in seven games against them this season, enough of a sample size to say the Bruins are a level below the elite clubs heading into the postseason. It also bears mentioning that Boston couldn’t come out on top while Pittsburgh was missing Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crsoby and James Neal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “It was five-hole, I guess, so it’s my bad. No question about that. Not too often I cost a game. Today I did. That’s just how it is sometimes.” –Tuukka Rask, talking about Jarome Iginla’s game-winner on the power play that slid through his pads.
Game story written by Danny Picard