PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to score just two total goals in getting swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Boston Bruins last season.
On Wednesday night, the Penguins tallied three goals from three different scorers in exacting a bit of revenge, beating the Bruins 3-2.
"To come out on top in a one goal game against them is big," said Penguins center Brandon Sutter.
The first period went scoreless, with Pittsburgh carrying most of the play and outshooting Boston 13-6.
"We knew they were going to come out hard and they did," said Boston head coach Claude Julien of the Penguins.
Pittsburgh finally broke the stalemate 6:54 into the second period. With Milan Lucic off for interference, the Penguins went to work on the power play. After some nifty passing around the perimeter, the puck ended up on Sidney Crosby's stick. With Chris Kunitz planted firmly in front, Crosby executed a perfect shot-pass off of the stick of Kris Letang in the high slot. The deflected puck fell to the feet of Kunitz in front who then shoveled it on the backhand through his legs and through the pads of Rask, despite having his back to the net.
The goal was Kunitz's sixth of the season and Crosby picked up the secondary assist to extend his lead in the NHL scoring race.
The Bruins also had an opportunity on the power play in the second with Kunitz off for tripping, but the Pittsburgh penalty kill was equal to the task. The Bruins did pull the shot total closer to even in the second, outshooting the Penguins 11-9 in the frame.
The Bruins wasted no time tying the game in the third. Just 1:05 into the frame, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg wristed a shot from the left point that was masterfully deflected in the left faceoff circle by Patrice Bergeron. The deflection changed the flight of the puck dramatically and fluttered in past Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
"I wasn't surprised to look up and see a 1-1 type of game in the third period," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma.
With nearly 17 minutes remaining in regulation, it appeared that Daniel Paille was going to have a chance at a breakaway, but Fleury came far out of his net to the left faceoff dot and lunged at the puck to cut off Paille before he could gain full control.
The Penguins took a 2-1 lead exactly 11 minutes into the third when Brandon Sutter notched his first goal of the season, breaking down the right wing and unleashing a laser of a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that was perfectly placed just under the crossbar, beating Rask to his stick side.
"He leaned on it and then I went down and then he shot it," said Rask. "It's just patience for a goalie; good shot though. I told (Sutter) good shot."
Jussi Jokinen got what proved to be the game-winner with just over two minutes remaining when he stole the puck from Jordan Caron, circled back and fired a wrist shot into the same top corner that Sutter had just hit to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.
"I had lots of time, and I think their defenseman was making a screen on (Rask) there, and I was able to get a good shot," said Jokinen.
Former Penguin Jarome Iginla pulled the Bruins back within one with a blast from the point less than 20 seconds later, but despite a frantic push by the Bruins in the dying seconds of the game, it proved to be too little, too late for Boston.
Fleury made 21 saves to earn the win. Rask turned aside 28 shots in defeat.
NOTES: The game marked Boston's only visit to Pittsburgh this season. ... Pittsburgh D Paul Martin is three games shy of 600 for his career. ... Boston D Adam McQuaid played in his 200th career game. ... The Penguins have lost 55 man games to injury this season. The Bruins have lost only nine man games to injury. ... Scratches for the Penguins were D Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), RW Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and RW Matt D'Agostini. Scratches for the Bruins were D Matt Bartkowski and LW Loui Eriksson (concussion). ... The Penguins are next in action Friday when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Bruins will host the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday. ... The official attendance was 18,627.