Crosby's late magic goes for naught in 4-3 overtime loss to Bruins
BOSTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien said fans deserved an intense game between two of the Eastern Conference's best teams.
That's what they got even if the Penguins could have removed all of the drama in the first two periods of a 4-3 overtime loss in Boston.
And there was plenty of drama, with the Penguins looking stunned in their locker room following the contest, similar to how they looked in the same locker room after being swept for the Eastern Conference final six months ago.
“If we could have scored early,” center Sidney Crosby said, “I think maybe it's different.”
Instead, Crosby scored late — very late.
With the Penguins trailing 3-2 in the final seconds, Crosby banged home a pass from left wing Chris Kunitz with 0.3 seconds remaining.
The Bruins, however, seemingly weren't stunned and required only 34 seconds of overtime to beat the Penguins. Defenseman Torey Krug fired a slap shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
“We managed to regroup quickly,” Julien said.
The Penguins weren't completely dissatisfied.
“It is a good point,” said right wing James Neal, who scored twice to even the game and has scored four goals in his past two games.
“But at the same time, we've got to keep getting better here.”
In what has become an undeniable theme to many Penguins losses this season, Bylsma's team dominated the opening period but was unable to score.
The Penguins fired 10 of the first 11 shots of the game at goaltender Tuukka Rask, and one that didn't reach Rask could have been a goal but Kunitz missed an empty net 15 seconds into the game.
Bylsma said he knows the Penguins might have cost themselves a point because of their inability to score early.
“Without question,” he said. “The first 10 minutes, we had those opportunities. There were a couple of missed nets. Kunitz had a good opportunity.”
There were plenty of other chances for the Penguins.
Center Evgeni Malkin skated around Boston captain Zdeno Chara later in the first but was robbed by Rask.
Kunitz saw another opportunity on the first shift only to be stoned by Rask's right-pad save. The Penguins entered the game having scored 16 goals in their past eight road games.
The Penguins made a number of mental blunders after not capitalizing despite controlling play.
Loui Eriksson took advantage of miscommunication between defenseman Brooks Orpik and Neal to score on a semi-breakaway against Fleury to make it 1-0.
Turnovers by defensemen Matt Niskanen and Deryk Engelland led to a Pascal Dupuis penalty, which led to Reilly Smith's power-play goal to make it 2-0.
“I didn't like the opportunities we gave them,” Bylsma said.
Neal scored on two rockets to even the game, but Crosby accidentally deflected Chara's shot past Fleury late in the third.
“It was not a great play by me to go after it with my stick,” Crosby said. “It's the last thing a goalie wants you to do. I shouldn't have done that.”
Crosby made up for it with the dramatic goal with 0.3 seconds left, as he planted himself in front of the net and silenced the crowd.
“We battled hard,” Crosby said. It would have been nice to get two points.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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