For the second time in six days, the Bruins went to Pittsburgh and walked away with a disappointing one-goal loss to the Penguins, the top team in the Eastern Conference. On Sunday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh (22-8-0) won its ninth straight game as it scored first in the first period then quickly responded, after Boston (19-5-3) later tied it, for a 2-1 victory.
The result was bad enough for the B’s but the news could be even worse as first line center David Krejci was felled by a Johnny Boychuk slap shot that went right off his knee late in the game. Krejci skated gingerly off the ice without putting any weight on his right leg. He’s one of the more valuable players on the team given his variety of roles and ability and it would be a big loss especially because Chris Kelly is already out indefinitely.
Pittsburgh has beaten Boston both times without Evgeni Malkin, one of the NHL’s most dynamic forwards, and Sunday they used backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun who made 31 saves. The best player in the NHL, Sidney Crosby, roofed a one-timer past Tuukka Rask (16 saves) for a 1-0 lead. Tyler Seguin answered with his 10th goal of the season after Boychuk’s shot deflected right to him, leaving Vokoun out of position. A couple of local products combined for the game-winner as Joe Vitale’s (Northeastern) diving shot off Rask’s juicy rebound was assisted by Craig Adams (Harvard) and Brooks Orpik (Boston College).
The Bruins had more than two periods left to recover but they could never find a way to solve Vokoun again. Seguin had the best chance. Vokoun was caught out of position but his stuff attempt went along the goal line but somehow not in. Sunday's game in Pittsburgh was the start of a 4-game road trip for the B’s as they don’t return to the Garden until next Monday (vs. Toronto). Their next three games are in Canada, starting with Tuesday (8 p.m., NESN) in Winnipeg (15-11-2). The Bruins have already beaten the Jets twice (2-1 in a shootout and 3-2).
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate