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Bruins topple Pens

| Sunday, Dec. 1, 2002

Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin couldn't shake the feeling that his team got shortchanged Saturday night against the Boston Bruins.

"It ends up like this, I don't know, it feels sour," he said.

Aubin was referring to the game-winning goal, a redirection off the skate of Sergei Samsonov, that dealt the Penguins a 3-2 loss at Mellon Arena. Their four-game winning streak snapped, the Penguins now have two days off before playing host to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Aubin was out to his left side in the goal crease when the pass from Bryan Berard came from the Bruins' left wing across the middle of the ice at the hash marks. The puck hit Samsonov's skate and caromed into an empty net. Both Aubin and Penguins defenseman Ian Moran immediately skated toward referee Bill McCreary, objecting. The goal was reviewed and allowed.

"The third goal, I think shouldn't have been there," Aubin said. "Everybody saw that he was turning his feet and you're not supposed to do that. They called it good and it turned around the game. If they don't score, it's 2-2 and we're going to overtime. I don't know what happened there."

Aubin made 25 saves in the loss, as the Penguins (11-6-3-3) played their third game in four nights. Even without injured defenseman Dick Tarnstrom on the power play, the Penguins still scored two goals. But they couldn't muster anything at even-strength to overcome the Bruins' two goals and an assist from Joe Thornton in addition to Samsonov's tally.

"There's no question that towards the end of the game, we needed to get an even-strength goal," Dan LaCouture said. "That would have been big for us. We have to get in on the forecheck a little bit better."

The Penguins were already without Tarnstrom, who is out 2-4 weeks with what's reported to be a broken foot. Martin Straka also did not play for the second game in a row because of a strained hamstring. So, you can just imagine the feeling on the bench when Bruins winger Michel Grosek hit Alexei Kovalev into the boards dangerously from behind.

Defenseman Andrew Ference certainly didn't like it. He came to his teammate's defense and fought Grosek. Grosek received a five-minute boarding penalty but was allowed to stay in the game. But because Ference got an instigator penalty, the Penguins found themselves 4-on-4 instead of 5-on-4 to start off with.

Thirty seconds later, the Bruins made the score 3-1 on the goal that redirected off Samsonov's skate. But the Penguins still had a three-minute power play coming from the boarding call on Grosek, and the special-teams unit got the job done again.

Kovalev, who had reportedly been playing with an injured hand, was on his knees holding his left wrist for a few minutes after the Grosek hit. He didn't miss shifts, though, and was back out on the power play. He sent the puck in from the point, and Jan Hrdina tipped it past Bruins goaltender John Grahame to make it 3-2 at 4:52.

The Penguins were still without Ference for 17 minutes in the third period because of the fighting major, misconduct and instigator, and it hurt them. They had to go with five defensemen, and they also lost their replacement for Tarnstrom as quarterback of the power play. Ference filled in nicely on the Penguins' first man advantage at 5:37 of the second period, scoring a goal from the point.

"Andy was sticking up for Kovy and we lost him for 17 minutes, which was tough in the third period," coach Rick Kehoe said. "This was our third game in four nights and our defense, we get a little tired."

The score was 1-1 until Thornton scored his second goal of the night. Thornton, Samsonov and Glen Murray got across the Penguins' blue line and might as well have been performing a ballroom dance. The movement was mesmerizing, apparently to the Penguins as well. Thornton had gone all the way from the right wing to the left before he got the puck from Samsonov. Aubin couldn't get his right pad out quick enough and the league's second-leading scorer got his 13th goal of the season at 13:38 to make it 2-1.

Thornton scored the first goal of the game on a delayed penalty on Penguins forward Aleksey Morozov with five minutes left in the first period.

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