After allowing a tying goal with 0.3 seconds left in regulation (first time since Jan. 18, 2009 that an opponent had scored at 19:59), many teams would fold in overtime. Not the Bruins though as they bounced back from Sidney Crosby’s stunning goal, to win it 34 seconds into overtime at TD Garden.
Torey Krug ripped a slap shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s glove in the extra session for the 4-3 win by the Bruins over Pittsburgh. With that, the Bruins are now three points ahead of the Penguins for first place in the Eastern Conference. It was also payback for their 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Oct. 30.
Boston (16-6-2) head coach Claude Julien cited similar game situations that made the Bruins calmer than you’d think given the way Pittsburgh (15-9-1) tied it up and earned a point.
“It can be devastating, but it made us hungrier," Julien said. "We stayed calm and got ready for overtime.”
That patience paid off as the B’s went to OT for the third game in a row (2-0-1).
The third line for the Bruins has been on fire and this might have been their best performance of the season. Loui Eriksson scored on a breakaway in the first period and a few minutes later Reilly Smith finished tic-tac-toe passing from Carl Soderberg and Eriksson. James Neal was a one-man wrecking crew for the Penguins as he scored 37 seconds into the second period then tied it midway through the third period. Both goals came off turnovers in Boston’s end by their defensemen.
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Zdeno Chara put the B’s ahead 3-2 with a wrist shot from the point that was screened by Milan Lucic. Tuukka Rask (28 saves) had kept Boston in control for most of the game but he couldn’t do anything to stop Crosby’s redirection from the doorstep of the crease.
“That’s the closest goal I’ve ever seen (to the end of the game),” explained Rask. “I was focused on the battle in front of the net, it happens in the blink of an eye. I didn’t know how much time was left. I was like ‘really? This happened?”
The Bruins head to Detroit (11-7-7) on Wednesday night (7:30, NESN) to face the underachieving Red Wings then it is back at the Garden for a matinee (1, NESN) on Friday vs. the Rangers.
What they'll be saying: With so much recent experience in the extra session, Julien has started to employ a more offensive-minded strategy of using three forwards and one defenseman rather than two and two. It has paid off the last two games as David Krejci scored the game-winner on Saturday vs. Carolina (3-2) and Krug followed suit tonight. Boston is 3-0 in overtime but only 1-3 in shootouts, hence why this makes sense to go for it. Speaking of Krug, his goal tied him with Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Shea Weber (Nashville) and Michael Stone (Phoenix) for most (7) by a defenseman in the NHL. Eriksson (1 goal, 2 assists) is really starting to come into his own, with three goals and seven assists in his last 10 games. Soderberg added two more assists for his third multi-point game of the season (2 goals, 4 assists in his last 5 games). There were only two penalties called in this game (one for each side) but the Bruins took advantage as Smith’s goal came on their lone power play. Conversely, they were able to stop Pittsburgh’s No. 5 power play on their only chance in the first period. The Bruins travel to Joe Louis Arena for the first time on Wednesday with the Red Wings in their division (Atlantic).
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate