Every game counts, especially during an abbreviated season. Yet, one game meant so much more on Wednesday night. By now, many have seen the moving national anthem and pre-game ceremony that was supposed to help start the healing process for a broken city. While it certainly had that effect, it was short lived as people around the country waited with baited breathe for a killer to be captured and a manhunt to end on Friday.
With an entire city on lock down, the Bruins found themselves with yet another scheduling change. With the Pittsburgh Penguins already in town and the Bruins already under a packed schedule, the NHL made some changes. Friday evenings tilt turned into a 12:30 Saturday matinee and the Penguins who were slated to host the Sabres Saturday evening had their match up pushed to Tuesday.
The Boston Marathon bombers were both captured (one killed), looking to continue the excitement that carried over from Friday’s victory and a way to move forward in a city so drastically changed; fans were anxious for a win. The game for Pittsburgh was business as usual, but Boston had the added motivation to not only win for the points, but the city they so strongly represent.
The game marked the NHL debut of the much anticipated Swedish center Carl Soderberg, who has been waiting patiently for his chance to suit up for Boston. It also brought would have been Bruin Jarome Iginla to the Garden. The game also featured a healthy scratch in Milan Lucic- who has proven to be lackluster as of late.
It was Boston who came off strong with 7 shots on goal in the first 4 minutes of play, to Pittsburgh’s 2. It was a rocky few shifts of pushing and shoving for both teams, before tempers boiled over at 8:11. Adam McQuaid and Tanner Glass dropped the gloves resulting in 5 minutes each for fighting. Slashing from Penguins Cooke, gave Boston the first power play of the game, and the first goal as Brad Marchand (assist Chara, Rask, 10:18) beat Tomas Vokoun making it 1-0. Proving to be a chippy first period, Nathan Horton threw a few punches with Jarome Iginla for matching fighting penalties (17:56). Bruins Soderberg took his first trip to an NHL penalty box at 18:38 (hooking), closely followed by Penguins Matt Niskanen for interference (19:00).
Jussi Jokinen made it a 1-1 game to start the second period with his 10th of the season (assists Niskanen, Glass, 5:10). Physicality was a continued theme during the entirety of the second. The halfway marked numerous opportunities for Boston but none went through although the consistent effort did not go unnoticed by fans as the Garden stood to applaud the Bruins. It was apparent that the Bruins were struggling as penalties came rolling in, Rich Peverley hit the penalty box for high sticking (13:20).
Matt Cooke has a torrid reputation in the NHL and his actions during the second period did nothing to dispute that claim. Cooke had a questionable hit on Bruins Adam McQuaid which resulted in McQuaid being dragged onto the bench without a stoppage in play.It’s important to note that McQuaid made his way back to the ice for the third period. Following the hit, Captain Zdeno Chara took a roughing penalty at 16:15. The calls kept trickling in as Penguins Jokinen was called for cross checking (17:10). Bruins Jaromir Jagr went off for hooking at 19:14 to round out the period.
Emotions running high started the third period with Boston’s Marchand in the box at 3:25 (roughing). Adding salt to the wounds of Boston, Pittsburgh’s Iginla scored on the teams 4th power play of the night. The go ahead goal gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead (assists Jokinen, Bennett, 4:43). With an obvious shift in energy, Boston was left with the task of rebounding and tying the score. Unable to catch a break, Boston’s Matt Bartkowski went off at 8:17 (high sticking), which resulted in another Penguins goal ((G) Kris Letag, (A) Jokinen, Kunitz. 8:29). Bruins Tyler Seguin was able to score at 19:57 ((A) Chara), but it just wasn’t enough.
Boston fell to Pittsburgh 3-2.
While the week has exhausted a city- it didn’t exhaust the teams overall effort. It’s the final week of regular season with Boston playing Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and the final game coming Sunday the 28th. With no rest in sight, the quest for the cup is right around the corner. Believe in Boston, believe in Bruins and get your black and gold on.