The first of two meetings at TD Garden between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins was an exciting one that ended with a Craig Smith winner with just 11 seconds remaining in the overtime period. The teams fought hard and the Pens looked to be on their way to yet another comeback victory but fell short late in OT, a 3-2 loss. This loss was the first in the team’s last four.
The game started with a Brad Marchand shorthanded goal where he caught the Pens penalty-killers out of position after a turnover and beat Tristan Jarry glove-side. Marchand’s goal was the only goal in the period. In the second period, Nick Ritchie’s lone goal on a 5-on-3 powerplay gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead, as Marchand and McAvoy both picked up their second point of the night. However, the Penguins turned the tide in the third period with goals from Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen, after what appeared to be a Tuukka Rask injury midway through the third. The Pens had two glorious opportunities to win it in the overtime period, but Rask stood tall against an Evgeni Malkin breakaway, and a Penguins three-on-zero, where they failed to register a shot. Smith converted with 11 seconds to go in the overtime frame after a give-and-go sequence with David Krejci to seal the victory.
Although the Penguins lost their third game of the season, they have continued to show their resilience by recovering from being down and fighting back game after game. However, the team needs to improve their start to games, and fall out of this routine of constantly playing from behind and chasing the game. Additionally, the Pens special teams are continuing to struggle. The teams’ powerplay went 0-6 on the night, giving up a shorthanded goal to add insult to injury. The penalty-kill did slightly better going 2-3 on the night.
Pens shutdown defenseman Brian Dumoulin appeared to be injured in the game and Coach Mike Sullivan said he was being evaluated for a lower-body injury postgame. The injuries to the Pens back-end continue to pile up as Dumoulin will join Matheson, Riikola, and Pettersson on the IR if the injury proves to be serious.
On a positive note, Kasperi Kapanen got his first goal of the season and first as a member of the Penguins in a game in which he played 17:21 minutes.
Kapanen praised his coaching staff’s handling of his return saying, “I think the coaching staff has done a great job with me minutes-wise. Now in game 4, I feel like I’m getting my legs underneath me a bit. It’s getting there.”
Jason Zucker also tallied his first goal of the season on a two-point night for the American forward. “That’s always nice to score. But the past games, I don’t think I was playing the right way. I don’t think I was playing a good game. I wasn’t really skating and playing the way I can. So I was happy just to be out there skating and trying to make some plays.” said Zucker. He now has three points through seven games this season.
It was also another positive night for Tristan Jarry who is looking more confident every game and seems to have found his mojo again. The Canadian netminder was stellar between the pipes allowing just three goals on 36 shots. He finished the evening with a .933 save percentage.
Drew O’Connor made his NHL debut for the Penguins last night replacing injured forward Evan Rodrigues, where he recorded an assist in the game. The New Jersey-native saw 10:51 minutes of ice-time. The 22-year-old was signed as a free agent out of Dartmouth College during the offseason and impressed the Pens coaching staff at training camp.
The teams will be back at TD Garden tomorrow night for a rematch at 7PM EST.