Talking Points: Penguins, 2 Bruins, 1

662160.jpg

Talking Points: Penguins, 2 Bruins, 1

BOSTON -- The Bruins' offensive struggles continued on Saturday afternoon at the TD Garden, as they dropped their second straight game in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Bruins fought back from a 2-0 deficit thanks to Joe Corvo's wrist shot from the left point that found the top-right corner of the net, 6:45 into the third to cut the Penguins' lead to 2-1. It would stand to be the only goal of the game for the B's, however.

The Penguins had entered the third period with a 1-0 lead after a scoreless second period.

Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh on top thanks to a power-play goal with 8.1 seconds left in the first period, as a rebound came out to the lower-left circle and Malkin quickly put it home.

Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke made it a 2-0 game, not even two minutes into the third, as he crashed the net and put home a loose puck at the top of the crease after a shot was fired on net from the lower-right circle.

As it turned out, Cooke's goal was the game-winner.

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

Raiders creep past Patriots in race for top seed in AFC

The Patriots and Raiders and neck-and-neck as the race for home field in the AFC turns for home. And, with four games left, the Raiders are ahead by a nose. The tiebreakers between the 10-2 teams in play currently? Common games followed by strength of victory. 

The first tiebreaker – conference record – is a deadlock as both teams are 7-1 in the AFC (the Brady-less Patriots lost to the Bills back in Week 4.

After conference record, it's the teams record in common games. 

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

So far in common games with the Texans and Bills, the Patriots have gone 2-1 and the Raiders have gone 2-0. The Patriots play the Ravens next week. Oakland beat them. The Patriots play Denver after that. Oakland beat them as well but have one more game against Denver in Week 17.

So if it comes down to common games the Patriots really need to win these next two games.

Or hope the Raiders stub their toe a time or two in their final four games which are at the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos with a home game against Indy in Week 16.

As for strength of victory, that too goes to Oakland at this point. The Raiders’ strength of victory is at .471. The Patriots’ is at .370.

But the tiebreaker that kicks in after conference record and before strength of victory – common games – is very much unresolved.The remaining picture as it stands right now? The Ravens are the No. 3 seed with a 7-5 record that leads the AFC North. The Texans’ 6-6 record is good enough to lead the AFC South. The 9-3 Chiefs are the top Wild Card. The 8-4 Broncos are the No. 6 seed.

The Patriots play the Ravens and Broncos over the next two weeks. Currently, the Dolphins (7-5) and Steelers (7-5) are on the outside looking in.

The Titans (6-6) will have a chance to get even with the Texans in Week 17 in head-to-head matchups but they host Denver and play at Kansas City the next two weeks so they have obstacles to clear before they get there.