Penguins take intense early-season showdown over Bruins
There will be two more meetings between Boston and Pittsburgh in the regular season: Nov. 25 and Dec. 7. There is no doubt that these two contenders in the Eastern Conference will eventually get the audience they deserve after few paid attention to Wednesday’s 3-2 Penguins win at Consol Energy Center. Pittsburgh (9-4-0) never trailed as it led 1-0 in the second period then 3-1 in the third period before Boston (7-4-0) scored a late goal.
It is only October, but you could sense the genuine hatred between the teams Wednesday night (which is always a fun thing). After a scoreless first period, Chris Kunitz scored a power-play goal on a backhander for the Penguins in the second period. Patrice Bergeron tied it early in the third when he tipped Dennis Seidenberg’s shot from the point but Brandon Sutter answered with a top shelf wrist shot past Tuukka Rask (28 saves). Jossi Jokinen added an insurance goal for Pittsburgh before former Penguin Jarome Iginla cut it to 3-2.
This being the regular season, Marc-Andre Fleury (21 saves) looks like a good goaltender and he made a couple quality stops on David Krejci and Torey Krug before the final buzzer. Boston is right back in action Thursday at TD Garden vs. Anaheim (10-3-0), one of the top teams in the Western Conference.
What they’ll be saying: It is a shame that this matchup had to oppose a World Series clinching game for the Red Sox because it was a dandy, especially given the time of the year. This game was so intense (relatively speaking) that even mild-mannered Jordan Caron dropped the gloves with Robert Bortuzzo. No reason to panic but have to note that this is the first losing streak of the season for the Bruins. They certainly will have their work cut out for them against the Ducks who are rested and have spent the last few days in Boston. In the second night of a back-to-back, you have to figure that backup goaltender Chad Johnson will get his second start of the season. Likewise, Matt Bartkowski needs to play in a game or else they might as well send him down to Providence to get the rust off his skates. Remember when Iginla couldn’t score a goal? Now he’s scored a goal in three straight games which shows you how quickly fortunes can change for a great player.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate