PITTSBURGH -- Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Penguins by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes of action at the CONSOL Energy Center.
1) Tough way to end the period with Tuukka Rask unable to hold a Craig Adams shot that deflected off Andrew Ference’s leg, and then Joe Vitale smacked home the rebound with 32 seconds remaining. Those are momentum killers and wiped out all of the good feeling that Boston had after tying the game up in the final four minutes and playing a pretty solid first period.
2) Four shots on net for Tyler Seguin, who has the turbo button working on his skating speed today. He used good positioning to score Boston’s only goal when a Johnny Boychuk point shot bounced off a body with Patrice Bergeron battling a Pitt defender in the high slot, and came right to Seguin in the left circle. He slammed it home for his 10th goal of the year.
3) Nathan Horton getting in touch with his nasty again today. Waited at center ice to put a stick in Matt Cooke’s ribs a couple of times at the end of his first shift, and then got into another shoving match with him later on in the period. Busting out another can of nasty today.
4) Zdeno Chara lost a puck battle to Pascal Dupuis behind the net, and that turned into a quick Sidney Crosby strike from the right circle after a lighting fast pass. Bruins were in good position but couldn’t handle the quick Pittsburgh puck movement after losing a battle.
5) Sid the Kid complaining about not getting a penalty call on a rush where he split up Boychuk and Chara before falling down. He got off a forehand shot that Tuukka Rask put a stop to, but he barked at the refs after the whistle blew. The Crosby goal happened seconds later: An angry Crosby is an effective Crosby.
1) A little chicanery for Johnny Boychuk and the Bruins in the second period as replays showed the Bruins defenseman flinging Sidney Crosby’s stick blade up into his face and then snapping his head back. Drew a high-sticking call on Crosby and plenty of annoyed argument from No. 87 as he headed to the Sidbin for two minutes. One ref had close up look at the play and never called anything. Boychuk was spotted by the NBC cameras chuckling about it later on in the period.
2) The Bruins killed off a penalty at the end of the second period after Patrice Bergeron was whistled for a face-off violation for essentially putting a finger on the puck. Then Milan Lucic nailed James Neal with a shot to the chops and the refs completely missed it. Got to love what is getting called, and what isn’t getting called.
3) Bruins have killed off 26 straight power plays and haven’t given up a PP goal since March 3. The NHL’s top ranked PK unit has killed 20 or more power plays in a row three different times already this season, so it’s not a trend. That’s just a great special teams unit for Boston.
4) No shots on goal for Brad Marchand in 12:45 of ice time today and he’s had a couple turnovers at points. Doesn’t seem to be moving around as well as he was at the beginning of the season. It looks like he’s starting to cool off just a little bit and has now gone six games without a goal.
5) Zero shots on goal for Boston’s third line today. They’ve become an offensive non-entity for the Bruins, and that’s going to become a problem until they find a suitable upgrade.
1) Bruins had their chance to tie with Tyler Seguin on a wraparound when Tomas Vokoun turned it over while clumsily trying to freeze the puck. Instead the puck skidded harmlessly through the crease instead of hitting a skate or a stick.
2) Brad Marchand went without a shot this afternoon, and with a few uncharacteristic turnovers in a subpar effort against Pittsburgh. Not like him as he cools down a bit from his torrid start.
3) David Krejci takes a Johnny Boychuk shot from the point flush off the right knee and goes down like a ton of bricks. Needs help going off the ice in an obvious amount of pain, and doesn’t put any weight on his right leg as he’s helped off the ice with an arm slung around the neck of Boychuk for balance. Rich Peverley skating in place of Krejci between Lucic and Horton.
4) No sustained pressure for the Bruins and no second effort chances at rebounds from Tomas Vokoun.
5) No Kris Letang after the first period for the Penguins with a lower body injury. Pretty impressive win for Pittsburgh over the Bruins without Evgeni Malkin or Letang. They get the advantage over the Bruins at this point after back-to-back wins over them in Pitt.