NHL Game Summary - Boston at Pittsburgh
(Wednesday, February 13th)
Final Score: Boston 2, Pittsburgh 1
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Tim Thomas stopped 20 shots and the Bruins clung to a pair of first-period goals to clip Pittsburgh, 2-1, at Mellon Arena.
Petteri Nokelainen and Vladimir Sobotka scored for the Bruins, who had dropped four of five entering the contest.
"I thought we did a great job on the penalty kill," said Boston coach Claude Julian. "Our power play right now is struggling and when it's struggling, you need some other parts of your game to come up big. I thought 5-on-5 we were a very good team tonight and are penalty kill was also good. Those are things that sometimes help you win hockey games and we had enough tonight to do that."
Evgeni Malkin notched his 32rd goal of the season for the Penguins, whose three-game win streak was halted. Ty Conklin took the loss despite stopping 31-of-33 shots.
"The first period was one of the worst that we've played this year," said Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien. "The concentration was not there, the work ethic was not there. It was a good thing that (Ty) Conklin showed up to play, or it could have been worse. You have to be really disappointed with our play tonight."
Pittsburgh failed to gain ground in the race for the top spot in the East, as Ottawa fell to New Jersey, 3-2 in overtime. That extra point means the Senators hold a four-point edge (73-69) over the Penguins for top spot in the conference. In addition, Pittsburgh's loss coupled with the Devils' win moves New Jersey within a point of the Atlantic Division lead.
Boston took a 1-0 lead with 7:02 left in the first. Glen Metropolit caused a turnover deep in the Penguins zone, turned and fired from the left circle. Conklin made the initial save, but Nokelainen drilled the rebound home from the slot.
Sobotka made it 2-0 less than two minutes later, redirecting a Jeremy Reich feed from the right boards for the first goal of his NHL career. Thomas made the lead hold up, stopping four shots in the opening 20 minutes then seven shots in the second.
The Penguins failed to score on a pair of power-play chances early in the third period. On a third chance, Malkin brought the Pens within 2-1 with 6:58 left in regulation, as he took Petr Sykora's pass in the right circle and roofed a shot through traffic.
Conklin made a big glove stop on Phil Kessel with 90 seconds left in regulation to keep the home team close. However, any chance the home team had to net a tying goal with an extra skater was erased when Ryan Malone was called for tripping with 52 seconds to play.
Pittsburgh had won four straight meetings dating back to last season...The last time the Pens were in first place this late in the season was 1997-98, when the club won the Northeast Division...Pens forward Erik Christensen left the game with 8:55 played in the third with an apparent facial injury after being checked by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara...Attendance was 16,982.
02/14 00:32:17 ET