Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 2-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at TD Garden.
1) The Penguins might have become discouraged after getting a déjà vu feeling watching Tuukka Rask turned away everything they threw at him in the first half of the first period. They were outshooting the Bruins 10-1 with about 9 minutes to go in the period, and never got off another shot on net as the Bruins finally counter-punched. Chris Kunitz got a couple of very good scoring chances right off the bat, but he missed the net on one while getting stopped by a Rask pad save on the second bid.
2) Swedish Mafia taking over. Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson showing some of their skill and passing instincts as the Big Swede found Eriksson cross-ice, and Eriksson went between his legs before beating Marc-Andre Fleury five-hole with a backhander all alone. Then on the ensuing power play it took eight seconds for Eriksson to find Soderberg, who slid a no-look turnaround pass to Reilly Smith for a backdoor goal. Elite level skill on both goals.
3) Penguins have won 13-of-23 face-offs with Joe Vitale and Sidney Crosby having good nights in the circle, so there are some good signs for Pittsburgh in what was a strange period for them. It’s odd how easily and quickly the Penguins get frustrated by a goalie like Rask turning them away.
4) Kris Letang limped off the ice right before the end of the first period after trying to throw a hit on David Krejci at the blue line. Hitting definitely not a part of his delicate game.
5) Kevan Miller second behind Zdeno Chara with 7:44 of ice time in the first period. That’s a whole lot of confidence in a player in only his third NHL game while suiting up against the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins. Bruins perhaps wanting to take a really good look at him before sending him back down to the AHL later this week with McQuaid and Seidenberg getting healthy.
Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 2-1 score after the first 40 minutes of action at TD Garden.
1) Bruins were pushed hard by Penguins in the middle 20 minutes. James Neal hit a crossbar, Tuukka Rask made a great save on a Pascal Dupuis shot from the slot, Matt Bartkowski kicked away a shot with his skate and Zdeno Chara saved a goal by sweeping a loose puck away from Sidney Crosby with a wide open net in front of him. There’s a lot of bend-but-don’t-break going on with the Black and Gold right now.
2) The third line giveth and the third line taketh away. Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg both chased after Evgeni Malkin along the side boards, and left the slot area wide open for a Jussi Jokinen connection to James Neal. Neal is deadly from that area, and he buried it over Tuukka Rask to the high stick-side.
3) Two shots on net through two periods for the Krejci line. So much for that overtime goal being a big turning point for them.
4) Five hits and eight generated shot attempts for Chris Kunitz through two periods. It’s pretty clear the Bruins are paying a lot of attention to Sidney Crosby, and inviting Kunitz to beat them. Which he hasn’t thus far tonight.
5) Loui Eriksson looks as confident tonight as he has all season long. Poking away pucks from Penguins players, creating plays with some clever passing and that first period goal might be the most aesthetically pleasing score the Black and Gold have had all year.