The Bruins traveled to Pittsburgh for an afternoon tilt against the flightless birds and will have to wait until Tuesday to stop their losing skid. In the first of a pair in the Iron City, the B’s couldn’t get any offense going in support of Swayman and dropped their 2nd in a row 1-0 to Sid and the Pens.
Bergeron was back in the lineup and the lines were back to what’s clearly become Cassidy’s preference. I mean, seriously, what has to happen for DeBrusk to lose his slot? He floats around the ice, a turnover waiting to happen, with little to no positive impact on the game. Add another stellar stat line to the resume Jake: 0-0-0 in over 13 minutes TOI with 2 shots and 1 hit, they’re going to love you in Seattle (that’s assuming the Kraken even wants him at this point). Kampfer stayed in on the 3rd pair with Lauzon and Swayman was between the pipes with Halak backing him up.
The play was choppy for much of the game as the neutral zone was tough sledding for both teams. Everyone was clearly paying attention to defense today as the season has come down to a 10 game sprint for playoff seeding. This would be an interesting series as the teams are remarkably similar (although the Pens were without Malkin still) but I would give the edge in goaltending to the Bruins.
Taylor Hall with a huge backcheck at the 9:00 minute mark of the 1st period when Lauzon stumbled at the offensive blue line and the Pens broke out with a possible 2 on 1 vs. Kampfer. Hall put his head down and motored back to catch Blueger at the top of the RW circle and bothered him just enough to bust up the play. Great individual effort, hope you were watching Jake. As Boucher said on the broadcast, that type of backcheck shows that Hall has bought in to the Bruins’ systems.
In the 2nd the Pens seemed to get the better chances and none were better then the flurry that Crosby initiated at the 8:00 mark. Swayman held the fort and kept the Pens off the board heading into the final frame. Not to be outdone, when the Bruins did get chances, Jarry was sharp and looked comfortable no matter what was thrown at him. In what was easily his best save of the game Jarry robbed Craig Smith when he uncorked a one-timer from the slot that Jarry took with the body. That’s 2 periods with no score and no penalties.
In the 3rd period the game started to open up as the Pens were showing some signs of playing 2 days in a row and they started to give up some chances to the B’s. No one could capitalize until Kuraly and Wagner were unable to clear the puck and it was spun back down the LW wall to Crosby behind the B’s net. Sid found Guentzel driving the net and put the puck on a platter for him to beat Swayman over the glove from the top of the LW dot. 1-0 Pens and that held until the final horn. The Bruins did get a chance to tie it up when they pulled Swayman with a little over 2 minutes left; but the Pens cleared and Bergy got whistled for a high stick with about 90 seconds left in the game. On the ensuing PK, the B’s again got Swayman out of the net and attacked shorthanded, but they couldn’t get it done and drop their 2nd game in a row.
Swayman dropped just his 2nd game at the NHL level, but this wasn’t on him. His numbers actually improved with this game and he looks more and more like a full time NHL goalie with every outing. 5-2-0 with a 1.57 GAA and a 0.946 save percentage? Yeah, I’ll take that all day. The Bruins stay in Pittsburgh to go again Tuesday night against the Pens.
- Swayman – kid is legit. The future’s bright in the Bruins’ net
- Bergeron back in. Good to see that it was just 1 game, they are a diff team without #37
- Liked to see Butch juggling the lines to get something going. Didn’t work out, but at least he’s trying.
- Gotta score to win. Sounds simple, but when you don’t land a shot on net until 6 minutes in, that doesn’t make it easy. Can’t rely on goalies every night.
- Don’t know what’s going on with Pastrnak, but he’s not scoring and soft on the puck in all 3 zones. I’m not lumping him into DeBrusk territory, but it’s definitely concerning.
- Gryzelcyk blocked a shot late in the third and didn’t come back. Hoping it’s nothing too serious.
- Not a note from this game, but last night Zdeno Chara played in his 1600th NHL game in a win over the Islanders. Big man keeps getting it done, what a legend.