Talking Points: Bruins 4, Penguins 3

Talking Points: Bruins 4, Penguins 3
November 25, 2013, 11:15 pm
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GOLD STAR: Loui Eriksson had his best game as a member of the Boston Bruins. He showed elite skill with his ability to collect pass behind him, go between his legs and then finish a backhanded shot through Marc-Andre Fleury’s five hole. Then he jump-started a power play that took eight seconds to score with a pass to Carl Soderberg down low, and the Big Swede made a quick turnaround dish to Reilly Smith crashing the net. Beyond that Eriksson led the B’s with five shots on net, was constantly turning pucks over with an active stick and played the dogged two-way game that so many marveled at before he came to Boston.

HONORABLE MENTION: James Neal had two goals, three points, a plus-2, five shots on net and eight shot attempts generated in a dominant performance for the Penguins. He showed exactly what kind of damage he’s capable of if he’s allowed to step into shots from the slot, or from the face-off circles. He kept Pittsburgh alive for the first two periods after they died out when they never scored against the Bruins after a strong first 10 minutes of the game. Neal was the best player on the ice for the Penguins, and benefited quite a bit from the amount of attention being paid to Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby whenever they were on the ice.

BLACK EYE: Chris Kelly had a rough time as the defensive conscience of the third line. He didn’t finish with a shot on net, but that would be okay if he were making sound plays in the defensive zone. But he was absent on coverage for the first James Neal goal – when both Kelly and Carl Soderberg jumped at Evgeni Malkin on the side boards to open up the slot – and late covering Sid Crosby in front of net for the goal with 0.3 seconds remaining in the third period. Crosby is a guy you just can’t sleep on with the game on the line. Kelly’s job is difficult as the defensive anchor with a pair of new guys on either side of him, and he didn’t get it done on Monday night.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins probably could have packed it in after allowing that tying goal to Sidney Crosby with under a second left on the clock in the third period, but instead they came right back with good energy in the overtime session. They registered the only two shots: a Jarome Iginla rush right down the middle of the ice after splitting the defense, and then the Krug bomb from the left face-off circle that Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t have a prayer of stopping.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of goals for Torey Krug, who is tied with Erik Karlsson, Michael Stone and Shea Weber for tops among all NHL defensemen through the first quarter of the season.