Boston Bruins: Pittsburgh Penguins Mauled By The Bear

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 1: Charlie McAvoy
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 1: Charlie McAvoy /

If for some bizarre reason you weren’t excited for the NHL playoffs, you will be after tonight. The Boston Bruins were simply magnificent in a 8-4 thumping of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With a few new faces and their leading centre missing from the lineup you’d be forgiven if you were a tad cautious in predicting a Boston Bruins win this evening. After all they were playing a team that only has room for Derick Brassard on the THIRD line. Nick Holden and Brian Gionta slotted into the black and gold lineup seamlessly.Both showing the worth of their acquisition.

Tonight was the first time the Boston Bruins have scored eight goals in a game since March 19, 2012, well worth the almost six-year wait.

A breathless first period had me reaching for my inhaler as the goals continued to flood in. Olli Maata slotted home a bouncing puck to put the Penguins briefly ahead after just 35 seconds. It would be the Penguins last lead of the evening. Krejci, Pastrnak and Rick Nash then saw fit to rally the Bruins to a 3-1 lead. Mike Sullivan had seen enough of Casey DeSmith after the third, turning to Tristan Jarry to steady the sinking ship.

Phil Kessel got the Pens back within one on the power play before Backes and Krug turned the screw on the floundering Penguins. Riley Sheahan netted with three seconds left to play in the initial frame. 5-3 after only 20 minutes of play, an eight-goal period.

Firecracker Second Frame

Most coaches would like their teams to tighten up after an eight-goal period but not tonight. It was hold-on-to-your-hats time as both teams ignited the powder keg. Ten penalties were dished out in a ferocious period, which included a clash of the titans in Zdeno Chara versus Jamie Oleksiak. 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-7 respectively.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – MARCH 1: Zdeno Chara /

If there was ever a preview for playoff intensity hockey it was this second period. Charlie McAvoy had an ongoing tussle with Patric Hornqvist, who should be hearing from the department of player safety after a reckless head to the head of McAvoy. A hit that almost gave McAvoy a third nostril and could be seen bleeding profusely from his wound for the remainder of the tilt. The rookie more than held his own, exacting retribution soon after.

Alongside the pandemonium three more goals would follow, two from Krejci to seal his hattrick and a second of the night for David Pastrnak. 8-3 Bruins following 40 minutes of scintillating hockey.

The third period saw the Bruins tighten up at both ends of the ice, conceding a final time for the game to finish 8-4.

The David Krejci Appreciation Society

David Krejci steals the majority of the headlines alongside the myriad of goal-scorers, netting his fourth career hattrick. It baffles me how consistently underrated Krejci is and it’s great to see him get some well deserved goals. Partnered on each flank by Jake DeBrusk and newly-acquired Rick Nash, the Bruins second line was tireless in its’ effort to cause Pittsburgh fits for 60 minutes.

Jake DeBrusk deserves a mention for the analytical amongst you. With a 73.3CF% in addition to a more impressive 80.00FF% and 83.33% shots for. DeBrusk was on the ice for four of the eight goals and finished with plus-four. Not to mention a fantastic play to assist Krejci’s second.

Amongst all of the glistening reports of tonights game unfortunately Brandon Carlo comes under the spotlight for yet another questionable performance.

Due to some late attempts from the Penguins, Carlo finished the game atop the Bruins Corsi standings. A 77.27CF% is impressive and Carlo has regularly ranked nearer the top in recent games but Corsi should not always be taken at face value. Carlo has been on the ice for five goals conceded and two scored in his last four outings in the black and gold. It wouldn’t shock me with Holden’s performance tonight to see Carlo watch a game or two from the press box.

Another Fiery Fixture Awaits

More from Causeway Crowd

There will be some sore bodies tomorrow but the Boston Bruins will need to rest up and recuperate. The Montreal Canadiens visit Boston on Saturday for an early afternoon clash with the old enemy. With nothing left to play for these games become Montreal’s only source of potential happiness. It is up to the Boston Bruins to ensure that more misery is compiled upon the hapless Canadiens.

I’d like to see Matt Grzelcyk jump back into the lineup after some rest with a chip on his shoulder. The Boston Bruins are a much stronger defensive and offensive unit with him in the lineup. Nick Holden could easily slot in alongside Grzelcyk with Miller potentially getting to saddle up with Torey Krug again.