Bear of a season, but Bergeron’s goals lift BruinsThe Boston Bruins have fallen off their perch atop the Eastern Conference, with new CEO Charlie Jacobs calling their current state “unacceptable.”
Patrice Bergeron did his best to kick start the long climb back. Bergeron scored twice, including a deflection past Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury 2:43 into overtime to lift the Bruins to a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night, local time.
Bergeron got just enough of Milan Lucic’s blast from the point to put it past Fleury as the Bruins ended a three-game losing streak. Officials spent several minutes reviewing the play to make sure Bergeron’s stick was below the crossbar when it made contact with the puck.
“At some point, it’s going to have to go our way,” Bergeron said. “It wasn’t perfect by all means, but it was a good effort and we found a way to get a big win.”
Zdeno Chara scored his third goal of the season for Boston, and Tuukka Rask stopped 37 shots. The last eight meetings between the teams have been decided by one goal.
“I think the win was really important for us,” said Bruins Coach Claude Julien. “You know, you say ‘Where is the confidence?’ Well you need to win some games to get some confidence.”
Beau Bennett and Evgeni Malkin scored for Pittsburgh. Fleury made 21 saves, but had no chance on Bergeron’s winner.
“I think we deserved the two points, but we missed a couple of chances,” said Malkin, who assisted on Bennett’s goal and has seven points in eight games. “We had a little bit of bad luck, but we played hard. We shot the puck. We controlled. Just not enough to win.”
The Bruins have hardly looked like the team that has spent most of this decade as one of the NHL’s elite. They were 5-6-3 in December, their first losing month in nearly two years, and limped into Pittsburgh coming off three straight overtime losses.
Jacobs put the club on notice when he took over for his father Tuesday.
The Penguins have managed to avoid Boston’s mini-swoon despite a rash of injuries - including a handful of players coming down with the mumps - and began Wednesday tied atop the Metropolitan Division.
Bennett scored for the first time since Nov. 18 thanks to a dazzling feed from Malkin, who chased down Simon Despres’s errant shot and flicked a no-look backhand to Bennett on the doorstep. Rask was well out of position, and Bennett’s wrist shot split Rask’s pads to make it 1-0 just 3:37 into the game.
Boston tied it late in the first when Chara leaned into a drive from the top of the left circle.
The Penguins appeared to reclaim the lead 3:28 into the second when Craig Adams sent a backhand by a sprawled Rask, but the goal was waved off when officials ruled Pittsburgh’s Zach Sill bowled over Rask. Replays showed Sill tried to hold up before colliding with the goalie, only to be pushed into Rask by Boston’s Adam McQuaid.
Pittsburgh dominated the period - ripping off the first eight shots - but Boston counterpunched effectively. The Bruins jumped ahead when Fleury’s poke check to thwart a Boston rush landed on Bergeron’s stick, and he buried a wrister over Fleury’s glove 15:37 into the second.
Malkin tied it 14 seconds into the third, blasting a shot past Rask during a rush for his team-high 18th goal.