BOSTON – The Boston Bruins roughed up the defending Eastern Conference champions – again.
Manny Fernandez made 30 saves to remain perfect at home and the Bruins extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. Boston also won at Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
“It is unbelievable to do what we are doing,” Fernandez said. “Looking at those numbers kinds of scares me… you don’t want to be the one to drop the ball.”
Fernandez improved to 9-0-0 at home. Boston has only two regulation losses since Oct. 30 and its winning streak is its longest since March 9-28, 1973.
With the home-and-home sweep over the Penguins, the Bruins also moved into the top spot in the NHL with 62 points, one more than idle San Jose.
“When you have that kind of talent on the other side … you have to be extremely disciplined and I like the way we responded,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
David Krejci, P.J. Axelsson, Milan Lucic and Marc Savard scored for Boston. Dustin Jeffrey scored his first NHL goal, and Ruslan Fedotenko added a goal for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh’s struggles continued after the team held a players-only meeting following a 5-2 loss at home to Boston on Tuesday night. The Penguins have lost four of five and have scored seven goals in five games.
“I like the way they responded from their meeting,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “That’s a tough place to play.”
Lucic scored his 11th goal of the season at 12:25 of the second period, beating Dany Sabourin with a wrist shot to give Boston a 3-1 lead.
Ruslan Fedotenko made it 3-2 with 13:40 left in the third when he tipped his own rebound past Fernandez. Evgeni Malkin assisted on Fedotenko’s goal for his NHL-leading 60th point of the season.
The Penguins could not capitalize on a power-play opportunity when Savard was penalized for holding with 5:23 remaining.
“There’s no doubt it’s really tough right now,” Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby said. “If we are going to start feeling sorry for ourselves and hanging our head, we won’t find a way to win.”
Savard added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Pittsburgh and Toronto are the only teams to have beaten the Bruins at home. The Penguins did it on Oct. 30, beating the Bruins 2-1 in a shootout.
“They preach in this locker room that the season is a marathon and not a sprint,” Bruins defenceman Aaron Ward said. “They talk about capitalizing on the highs and that is what we are doing.”
At 29-5-4, Boston has its best 38-game start since 1929-30 when they had a club record 67 points with a 33-4-1 record.
Jeffrey gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead when he wristed a shot past Fernandez at 2:59 of the first period. Krejci tied it 66 seconds later when he converted a feed from Blake Wheeler. Krejci extended his points scoring streak to 10 games, with six goals and 11 assists in that span.
Axelsson made it 2-1 when he batted Savard’s shot out of the air and over Sabourin’s shoulder at 9:24 of the first.
Notes: Pittsburgh started six American-born defenceman who all played college hockey. … The Penguins had the puck in the Bruins’ zone for 2:16 consecutively in the second period and did not register a shot on net. … Boston is 20-for-20 in its last four games killing penalties. … Sabourin lost his fifth straight start. … Boston is 4-0-1 in last five against Pittsburgh.