Looking to erase the sting of a New Year’s Eve defeat, the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins decided to take it outside. The Winter Classic was held at Fenway Park for the second time, and, for the second time, the Bruins came out on top, defeating the Penguins 2-1 to improve to 29-4-4 and 1-0-0 in 2023.
Before the game started, the Bruins broke the doors by arriving in some slick retro Boston Red Sox jerseys, following up a terrific entrance at the Lake Tahoe game two years ago.
Following unique team entrances thanks to the Fenway Park organ and the Boston Pops orchestra, there was a ceremonial “puck pitch,” a nod to the first pitch at baseball games, that featured Bruins great Bobby Orr shooting the puck at longtime Red Sox catcher and current coach Jason Varitek.
After that, the game was on. There was no scoring in the first period, with the Penguins controlling most of the play early. Starting goalie Tristan Jarry left early with an injury, replaced by backup Casey DeSmith.
Jarry was then ruled out with a lower-body injury, which led to an emergency backup goalie sighting. Mike Chiasson, the Penguins EBUG, was spotted in the visitors’ dugout at Fenway, wearing the jersey and ready to go if needed.
After a scoreless first period and a first intermission performance by The Black Keys, Kasperi Kapanen and the Penguins struck first, with Kapanen scoring his sixth goal of the season, with assists coming from Jeff Carter and former Bruin Danton Heinen.
The Bruins would not light the lamp until 7:46 into the third period. Jake DeBrusk did the honors, scoring a wrap-around goal in front of DeSmith to tie things up. Assists came from Matt Grzelcyk and Brad Marchand on DeBrusk’s 15th of the season.
With time winding down in regulation, Taylor Hall drove to the net, and DeBrusk finished, scoring his second goal of the night to lift the Bruins to a 2-1 victory, with Hall and David Krejci assisting.
The postgame goalie hug was a pretty sweet one for Linus Ullmark. He stepped up all game long in his first outdoor game, making 26 saves on 27 Pittsburgh shots. His record is now 21-1-1, with another fantastic performance. Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said the following after the game:
“It’s a lot better when you win. It’s a great event. The League does a great job of including everyone and making sure we’re all taken care of. That being said, it’s not the same feeling when you come up short, so we’re pretty happy with it.”
The Bruins start a three-game west coast road trip on Thursday night, facing the 21-13-6 Los Angeles Kings with puck drop scheduled for 10:30 PM Eastern Time.