Penguins close out October with an impressive victory over Iginla, Bruins
Pascal Dupuis pulled out his dangling front tooth Wednesday night.
That was not intended as a message to the big, bad Boston Bruins.
The way the Penguins claimed a 3-2 victory at Consol Energy Center was the message.
“We did play physical, played in their zone … managed our emotions, too,” Dupuis said.
Third-period goals by winger Jussi Jokinen and center Brandon Sutter pushed the Penguins (9-4-0, 18 points) to one of their best Octobers.
Of course, the Penguins are about April, May and June. So are the Bruins. That's why this game was not celebrated by the participants much more than another contest in the first month of the season.
Players from both sides seem to almost expect a rematch of the Eastern Conference final, which the Bruins swept last postseason.
The Penguins showed they are maybe ready for a return engagement. As winger Tanner Glass noted, the Penguins delivered on a “strategy to get pucks behind (Boston) defensemen.”
That led to puck possession, something scarcely seen in the playoffs.
Unable to generate much around Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the East final, the Penguins provided a net-front presence in this victory. Their first goal, scored by Chris Kunitz in the second period, was a rebound from a deflection/shot by defenseman Kris Letang. Kunitz's goal, his sixth, also was a power-play score.
The Penguins were 0 for 15 with the advantage in the East final. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played only in Game 2 of that series — a 6-1 loss that turned the East final for good.
Fleury made 21 saves Wednesday night. Only a re-direct by Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and a booming one-timer by right winger Jarome Iginla eluded Fleury, who improved to 9-2-0 with a 1.81 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.
Fleury is off to a career-best start; Sutter felt like a career had passed since he had scored.
Sutter's goal with nine minutes left in regulation was his first in 18 regular-season games dating to last season and his first since that Game 2 loss against Boston. His fourth goal in eight games (playoffs included) for the Penguins against the Bruins looked a lot like the one he scored against Rask in Game 2.
“There's already been a few comments about that,” Sutter said. “Good timing, too.”
Indeed, as it pushed the Penguins to a 2-1 lead.
Jokinen intercepted a pass by Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk before sending a shot behind Rask with 2:02 remaining for his sixth goal and the eventual winner.
The Penguins scored only twice against Boston in the East final, where they dropped one-goal decisions in Games 3 and 4 on the road.
“The thing for us was to stay patient and disciplined,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “When you're playing against them, you know you're not going to get many chances.
“You've got to bury the ones that you get.”