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penguins 3, bruins 2 | OT

Bruins lose to Penguins in overtime

Tuukka Rask made a save as defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Kunitz of the Penguins looked for the rebound during the second period.Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tuukka Rask did not have a pleasant Monday night. Evgeni Malkin scored twice, including at 0:32 of overtime, to give the Penguins a 3-2 win over the Bruins at TD Garden. Sidney Crosby scored the first goal and assisted on the others. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh’s dynamic puck-pushing defenseman, landed four shots on Rask and was always involved in the play.

It’s never fun to play against world-class players who are earning their salaries.

But it’s doubly worse when the stars and the grunts are making life miserable down low. The Penguins did good work of crashing Rask’s crease, getting sticks and bodies in his face, and making him uncomfortable as he tried to negotiate his office. Patric Hornqvist, Crosby’s first-year right wing, was among the leaders in intruding upon Rask’s personal space.


“He’s that type of player,” said Rask (30 saves). “He crashes the net. I think their whole team did today. I think that’s a little different than in the past with them. We knew that was going to happen. They had a lot of opportunities because of that. Hornqvist is one of those guys that really brings that.”

The Bruins held their own against the charging Penguins. Their brute line of Milan Lucic, Carl Soderberg, and Loui Eriksson, together for the second straight game, submitted another thorough effort. The Bruins had their two-way line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and Reilly Smith intact for the first time in the last four games. Marchand had been unavailable for the previous three because of an undisclosed injury.

But they remain a windmill-chasing club that is doing everything it can to find goals. They were blanked Saturday night against Montreal. They had better heat Monday night. But had they crashed Marc-Andre Fleury’s crease as ferociously as the Penguins did Rask’s, they might have been in better position to emerge with two points instead of one.


“The last couple games, it has been there and where we want it to be,” Lucic said of the team’s effort. “We’ve just got to be more hungry and committed in the O-zone and try to score goals. For myself, the production isn’t there where you’d like it to be. If you keep working at it and doing things like we did tonight – going to the net, stopping in front, trying to find loose pucks – a lot of the goals are scored right in front of the net.”

At times this season, even when they were at full health, the Bruins had trouble scoring goals. They didn’t execute clean breakouts. They couldn’t rush the puck through the neutral zone and skate cleanly across the offensive blue line. Down low, their cycle game didn’t always engage.

Their defense has stabilized, even amid current injuries to Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid. Their offense, however, has gone into neutral.

The best way to create chances and pressure goalies is to get in their kitchen. That’s how Lucic scored his goal at 1:43 of the second.

The line pulled away and advanced toward Fleury with speed and purpose. As Eriksson drove to the net, he took Olli Maatta and Christian Ehrhoff with him. Because of the confusion in coverage, Lucic was all alone in front to haul in Eriksson’s pass and beat Fleury, tying the game at 1-1.


Twenty-eight seconds later, the Bruins grabbed the lead. Joe Morrow took a D-to-D pass from Dougie Hamilton at the left point. As Morrow wound up, Gregory Campbell skated in front of Fleury and created a screen. Morrow, formerly Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in 2011, snapped a shot through a screened Fleury and over the netminder’s glove at 2:11 for his first career goal, giving the Bruins a 2-1 advantage.

But the Penguins punched back with a power-play goal. With Patrice Bergeron in the box for hooking, the skilled Penguins went to work. Letang and Crosby snapped the puck around the perimeter until it landed on Malkin’s stick at the left circle.

Kevan Miller tried to get in front of Malkin’s shot to keep it from landing on net. Instead, Miller prevented Rask from getting his eyes on the puck. Malkin has a heavy, accurate shot. It’s even more dangerous when he has a screen.

“Millsy was trying to block it,” Rask said. “I was kind of tippy-toeing to see over him. I couldn’t go down fast enough. I’m guessing he didn’t have too much net there. If my blocker was an inch lower, I probably would have stopped it.”

Malkin wasn’t finished doing his damage.

In overtime, Smith and Marchand got caught deep in the offensive zone. Crosby burned down the left wing with Letang driving the middle and Malkin steaming down the right flank. Rask had to angle himself toward Crosby while also worrying about Letang’s middle drive. By the time Crosby snapped a cross-ice dish to Malkin, Rask had too much ice to cover.


“In a perfect world, you just push over there and cover the whole net,” Rask said. “It’s not always that easy.”

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.