PITTSBURGH – In a game that was unkind to goalies, Jeremy Swayman took the worst of it.
But the Bruins made the best of it.
Hampus Lindholm sent a scorcher past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry’s ear in overtime, capping a 6-5 win after a three-goal comeback in one of the more thrilling NHL games this season.
With 1:17 left in regulation, a spinning Taylor Hall batted down a waist-high puck in front and swatted it past Jarry to tie the score.
Lindholm’s OT trip on Evgeni Malkin set the Penguins on a power play, which they killed. But the defenseman set up Tomas Nosek, scoreless since Jan. 2, for a shot off the post after the PK expired.
Lindholm’s strike at 3:37 moved the league-best Bruins to 9-1-0.
“It’s amazing. They believe in there. It’s incredible,” said coach Jim Montgomery, who admitted that with about nine minutes left, he thought to himself, “it might not be our night.”
The Bruins’ medical staff was tending to Swayman, who had relieved a struggling Linus Ullmark (29 saves) midway through the second period. Swayman (four saves) was hurt at 5:42 of the third period in a collision with Patrice Bergeron, who was upended by Jake Guentzel in front of the Bruins’ net.
The netminder’s left leg twisted uncomfortably behind him, leaving Bergeron to wave for a trainer and the Swayman unable to leave the ice without assistance. He wore ice on his left knee after the game, but was walking around.
Those were the Bruins’ most painful moments on a night in which they also saw rock-solid defenseman Derek Forbort exit with an upper body injury.
Through the aches, the Bruins erased a three-goal deficit to send the game to overtime.
“Sixty minutes of hockey, so you try to stick with it,” Lindholm said. “I’m super stoked about this team.
“You don’t want to be down 5-2 to a team like Pittsburgh, but it shows a lot of character the way we came back.”
After a Halloween weekend off following a franchise-record 8-1-0 start, Montgomery wasn’t encouraged by his team’s performance at practice on Monday. Nor was he sold on their sharpness at Tuesday’s morning skate.
“It is easy to be comfortable when things are going well,” Montgomery said. “This league will humble you quickly. That’s something we’re trying to remind ourselves [of]. Looking at the morning skate, we’re still pretty comfortable.”
The Bruins’ inability to clear their defensive zone in the face of the Penguins’ forecheck, coupled with a cratering from Ullmark, had them facing a three-goal deficit midway through the second.
Ullmark wasn’t looking like his October self (6-0-0, 1.70, .945). He was pulled after letting in five goals on 24 shots. He was yanked after a softie from the right wing by Rickard Rakell, who scored the Penguins’ second goal in a 20-second span. The Pens scored four times in the second.
Brad Marchand ripped a power-play one-timer past netminder Tristian Jarry (35 saves) at 12:57 of the period to cut the Penguins’ lead to 5-3.
Pavel Zacha redirected a Lindholm drive with 8:01 left, making it a one-goal game.
Allowing a four-goal second spoiled a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes, and shushed the chorus of attaboys for Jakub Lauko (first NHL goal).
But they were hooting and hollering in the visitors’ room after improving to 3-1-0 on the road (they are 6-0-0 at home). The Rangers are next up, in another ESPN-televised clash on Thursday.
The Penguins (4-4-2) had lost their previous four games in regulation and were coming home. They jumped on the Bruins just 30 seconds in, Sidney Crosby finding a soft spot and a loose puck for a 1-0 lead.
A giveaway from fill-in Pittsburgh third-line center Drew O’Connor let A.J. Greer, Trent Frederic, and Charlie Coyle attack the net. Coyle jammed home a loose puck at 5:19, his fourth goal of the season.
Lauko, off a pretty feed from Nick Foligno, scored his first at 13:20 to make it 2-1.
The Bruins took themselves off the power play late in the first when David Pastrnak, pushed into Jarry by O’Connor, knocked him over. Jarry, who seemed determined to get another goaltender interference call, flat-out flopped when contacted by Greer in the second period.
Malkin tied it at 2-2 at 1:47 of the second, guiding a bad bounce into an open net. The Bruins allowed the go-ahead goal (3-2) at 8:42 of the second. Stralman and Jake DeBrusk couldn’t make a play out of the zone. Marchand was tagged with a delayed interference call for knocking over Ryan Poehling. Brock McGinn found Josh Archibald out front.
After a few more sloppy clearing attempts, Rust fought off Matt Grzlecyk at the side of the goal for a rebound strike at 11:16. Twenty seconds later, a seemingly innocent drive from Rakell eluded Ullmark, causing Swayman to reach for his mask.
Bergeron tucked home a bouncing puck at 12:03 of the frame, but the Penguins successfully challenged, the league ruling Bergeron impeded Jarry.
The goalies at the other end had it worse. But they were smiling at the end.