Winners, losers from 2023 Winter Classic: Boston Bruins' Jake DeBrusk scores twice, Pittsburgh Penguins goalie hurt

The Boston Bruins keep on winning at home, regardless of the venue.

The Bruins improved to 19-0-3 at home this season, rallying past the Pittsburgh Penguins on two goals by forward Jake DeBrusk for a 2-1 victory in the Winter Classic.

The game was played on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park, 13 years after the home of the Boston Red Sox hosted the 2010 game.

The Penguins, whose losing streak hit five games, dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Kris Letang, who's day-to-day with a lower-body injury, flew to Montreal because of the death of his father. Pittsburgh then lost its starting goaltender in the game.

Boston's Jake DeBrusk scored both Bruins goals in a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic.
Boston's Jake DeBrusk scored both Bruins goals in a 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic.

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Here are the winners and losers of the 2023 Winter Classic:


Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk

Last season, he expressed interest in a trade, which didn't happen. He's thriving under new coach Jim Montgomery, scoring his 15th and 16th goals of the season. It was his third multi-goal game of the season.

"He took it upon himself to work on areas that he had to work on, and he keeps getting better ... so I'm happy to have him on our side," Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron told reporters.

Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark

He continued his Vezina Trophy campaign with a 26-save effort. Ullmark is 21-1-1 this season with a 1.86 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. He also displayed showmanship by attempting to score an empty-net goal.

Penguins forward Kasperi Kapanen

Kapanen was a healthy scratch nine times in 10 games in November and has had limited ice time in other games. His second-period goal might be what's needed to jump-start him. He was a recipient of a bang-bang play that began with a Jeff Carter steal and scored from his knees. It was his sixth goal of the season and first since a Dec. 3 hat trick. Carter also had an assist in the 2010 Winter Classic while with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Embrace of the baseball theme

Play at an iconic baseball stadium, make sure there's a baseball theme.

The Bruins and Penguins did that as they entered the stadium wearing vintage 1935 Red Sox and 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates uniforms, respectively. Bergeron said players had been working on the idea since learning last year that they would be playing in this game. "It was down to the last minute, but I'm pretty happy with the outfit," he said. Bruins players also tossed the ball around before the game.

The ceremonial puck drop was replaced by a takeoff on the ceremonial first pitch. Bruins legend Bobby Orr's effort was a little low, but former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek prevented it from becoming a passed ball (puck).

Seattle Kraken

Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the recent expansion team will get the 2024 Winter Classic at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. The NHL's 32nd team will host the 31st, the Vegas Golden Knights. It helps the Kraken's cause that they're much more competitive in their second season.


The Penguins' slide continues

They have been streaky this season with both a seven-game winning streak and a seven-game losing streak. Their current slide is 0-3-2, and it leaves them barely in a wild-card spot. They'll need more consistency if they are going to extend their playoff streak to a 17th season. They're also missing Jeff Petry on defense.

"It was a pretty even game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters. "There's a fine line between winning and losing, and we ended up on the wrong side."

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry

Considering the honor of starting in a nationally televised game, it had to be a disappointment for him to have to come out of the game. He appeared to suffer a lower-body injury in the first period and was pulled at the 15:30 mark. He stopped all eight shots he faced, but he was clearly laboring. Though backup goalie Casey DeSmith played well, the Penguins can't afford a long absence by Jarry.

Sullivan said he had no postgame update on Jarry. "It's tough to lose a guy that early in a game like that, but I thought (DeSmith) competed hard in there for us," he told reporters.

The officiating

The Bruins were called offsides on a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, but the replay showed it wasn't. A couple penalty calls were iffy, particularly the one on Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin. DeBrusk scored his first goal shortly after that penalty expired.

The Vancouver Canucks

Yes, the Winter Classic is designed for U.S. television and the meeting of the two recent expansion teams is a good one. But the Canucks are more of a natural rivalry for Seattle and would have been a good fit for the 2024 outdoor game.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Winter Classic winners, losers: Bruins stay strong, Penguins sliding