By Mike Petraglia
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) — The start of the new year produced the same
old results for the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins responded to a rare early deficit with three straight
goals and Manny Fernandez stopped 30 shots as the Bruins beat
the Penguins, 4-2, for their 10th consecutive win and 14th
straight on home ice.
By improving to 29-5-4, with an NHL-best 62 points, the Bruins
are off to their best 38-game start since the 1929-30 season
when they were 33-4-1.
“The quality of play in front of me right now is just
unbelievable,” Fernandez said. “Right now, we’re going on a
good note. Hopefully, we can keep those numbers out of our
heads. That’s how you keep streaks, you can’t think about it too
“I think it’s just you like to mold your team to your identity,”
Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “The next day we’ve really
done a good job of turning the page quickly. We realize we have
a pretty good streak going on right now and we want to make sure
it continues. We’re really not looking behind us, looking
forward to the next one coming up.”
Sidney Crosby, playing in his 250th career game, was held
scoreless for Pittsburgh, which lost its third straight and
fourth in five games.
“Our effort is there,” Crosby said. “It’s still not good
enough. We’ve got to find a way to have the effort, execute and
find a way to win.”
The Penguins held a players-only meeting following Tuesday’s 5-2
loss to Boston and came out inspired.
“Losing is unacceptable,” Crosby said. “I think we all realize
that. If you don’t realize that, then your team is in trouble.
I am pretty sure we all realize that, so that is not a worry for
us, I don’t think.”
The hard skating produced nearly immediate results when Dustin
Jeffrey fired a slap shot from the right point through a screen
and between the pads of Fernandez for his first NHL goal and a
1-0 lead for Pittsburgh.
But the Bruins wasted little time responding, as David Krejci
controlled a bouncing puck in front of the Penguins’ net and
slid it past Dany Sabourin 56 seconds later for his 14th of the
season and a 1-1 tie.
The Bruins took a one-goal lead to the first intermission when
P.J. Axelsson, on the power play, knocked his own rebound out of
the air and past Sabourin for his second goal of the season.
Milan Lucic put Boston ahead, 3-1, at 12:25 of the second when
his wrister between the circles beat Sabourin. The goal was
Lucic’s 11th of the season.
“We wanted to start off the new year on the right foot,” Lucic
said. “It’s nice once in a while in a season to have
home-and-home like this. This was a test for us against a good
team like Pittsburgh, who’s got so much talent. It’s a great
way to start the month and start the year. We’re looking to the
Pittsburgh drew within 3-2 when Evgeni Malkin controlled a loose
puck just behind the Penguins’ blue line. Malkin fired across
ice to Miroslav Satan, who found Ruslan Fedotenko to the right
of Fernandez. Fedotenko put the puck between Fernandez’s pads
at 6:20 of the third period.
“Every night it’s a different guy overall,” Fernandez said.
“Tonight might have been my worst game. I was just battling
from the start. That’s just to let you know how well we played
defensively against one of the best teams in the NHL. What it
is, I can’t pinpoint exactly. We just get that feeling when we
have to step it up and play better.”
The Penguins have stalled on the power play, going scoreless in
five chances on Thursday and their last five games.
“It’s frustrating right now,” Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney
said. “We’ve got to do something to win some games here. The
power play hasn’t scored in five games. It’s getting old to say
you play well but you lose. You have to win. We didn’t play
horrible we just didn’t win. It doesn’t matter how good you
play if you don’t win.”