The Boston Bruins probably figured their dramatic comeback win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 10 was a once-in-a-season accomplishment. Two months to the day, they pulled off a similar rally in the same arena.
Mark Recchi scored the third of the Bruins’ four goals in the final 3 1/2 minutes to cap their second frantic rally in two visits to Pittsburgh, and Boston beat the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins 4-2 on Monday night.
Gregory Campbell added an empty-netter and set up two goals for the Bruins, who matched their earlier rally that turned a 4-2 deficit in the third period into a 7-4 win over the Penguins in November.
Boston’s second victory in six games came after the Bruins squandered a 2-0 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left Saturday and lost 3-2 in overtime to Montreal.
”In hockey, those things happen and usually over the course of the year you win some and lose some that way,” said Tuukka Rask, who made 23 saves. ”Back-to-back situations like this, it doesn’t usually happen. But we made it happen.”
Pittsburgh is 0-2-1 without NHL scoring leader Crosby, who is out with a concussion caused by hits to the head from Washington’s David Steckel and Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman in consecutive games.
”We miss him a lot – he’s the best player in the league,” Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. ”Obviously, we want him back in the lineup. But it’s not a reason to blow a 2-0 lead.”
Boston’s rally started on Zdeno Chara’s power-play goal, a slap shot from the right point at 16:37. Brad Marchand scored 12 seconds later off Patrice Bergeron’s pass to the slot to tie it.
”We talked about it right before the third period, how we had a similar two-goal lead the last time they played here,” said Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, whose boarding penalty led to Chara’s goal.” We said to not give up any 2-on-1s, and I think we gave up at least three. It could be more.”
After Jordan Staal drew a holding penalty, Recchi gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead with his 200th power-play goal, putting in a rebound of Michael Ryder’s short wrist shot from in front.
”In the first and second, we had some great opportunities,” Recchi said. ”We could have been right in the game and we knew if we stayed with it, we could come back. We’ve done it in this building before and we believed we could do it.”
Mike Rupp and Kris Letang had put Pittsburgh ahead 2-0 with goals in the second period, and Marc-Andre Fleury was working on his second shutout of the season until the game turned dramatically. Boston scored only one fewer goal during its late surge than it did in its previous three games combined.
”Frustrating,” Fleury said. ”It was tough at the end there, there’s not much time left and they kept coming at us. It’s tough to let that one go.”
Bruins center Marc Savard played in Pittsburgh for the first time since sustaining a concussion from a devastating blindside hit by Matt Cooke on March 7. Cooke wasn’t penalized, fined or suspended despite causing an injury that forced Savard to sit out 43 games. The hit led the NHL to adopt its stricter stance against dangerous hits to the head.
Cooke’s hit is featured in a video that the NHL distributed to its players and coaches before the season began to explain the tougher policy.
Savard, a team-worst minus-8 this season, took Boston’s first penalty – for slashing Evgeni Malkin in the first period. In the second, Savard absorbed a hard hit from Orpik moments after making a pass from behind the net. Savard thought it should have been a penalty, and took a retaliatory roughing penalty following a multiple-player scrum.
With Recchi off for tripping, Letang made it 2-0 at 15:12 with a slap shot through traffic from the left point.
Notes: Pittsburgh has lost five of six. … The Penguins are 5-6-2 since winning 12 in a row. … Malkin, who had an assist, has 25 goals and 25 assists in 41 games without Crosby.