The Pens took the early punches from the Bruins. Then they punched back. Then they fell down. Then they got up and knocked the Bruins out. For Pittsburgh sports fans jumping into the Penguins season right now, this is how it's been for the past two months or so.
This game absolutely should not have gone to overtime, but the Penguins could not finish the Bruins off. And give credit to the Bruins because they made the Pens pay. Actually we will not give credit to the Bruins because Mark Recchi held Michalek's stick on the game-tying goal. Total bullshit.
With the Pens shell-shocked and ball-shocked from the Bruins tying the game with under a minute to play, Dustin Jeffrey stepped up and scored one of the biggest goals of the season.
Time to officially bring in the Pens' magic number:
It's done by calculating how many points the Pens need in order to finish 1 point better than the 9th-place team in the East. Other people will distract you with "oh, the Penguins only need 93 points to make the playoffs," but that method is ridiculously unscientific and boring.
The first period was as brutally physical as you'll see in a regular-season game.
Marc-Andre Fleury made a huge save on Michael Ryder early on in the first. Kris Letang for some reason either underestimated Milan Lucic or was simply overwhelmed by Lucic. Whatever the case, it was rough. But Maf held the fort. Lovejoy saved a goal.
Mike Rupp showed up in this game big-time. He dropped the gloves with Shawn Thornton. It wasn't the best time to fight because the Pens had a scoring chance, but at least Rupp won the fight.
Pens had a great chance when Mark Recchi pooped himself. Vintage Recchi.
Tim Thomas was equal to MAF.
Bruins used their Original Six cheat codes to get away with unlimited penalties all night.
Pens had a big-time kill after Lovejoy got called for something.
Neal and Chara had some words late in the first. Then James Neal completely destroyed Chara. Game-changing hit; it let the Bruins know the Pens were there to play.
Tough start to the second period for several reasons.
That stupid McDonald's hand-dancer commercial came on, and then Chara scored right after that.
what a pic. 1-0 Bruins.
Moment of truth for the Pens after that goal. And they rose to the occasion.
Matt Cooke sprung Staal and TK on a 2-on-1.
Staal passes to TK. It was coming back to Staal all along. 1-1.
Staal buried it, then got cheap-shotted by some asshole.
Pens then went into unrealistic mode.
Michalek made a sick dish to Dustin Jeffrey. DJ slid it past Tim Thomas.
Pens completely took over the game from there. Every shift was slick as balls. And it all began with the defense. Michalek Island was outstanding. He should win the Norris just for this game. But all the hard work wasn't paying off. It was still 2-1 going into the third. Bruins were lurking, and they are too good to think they wouldn't score. Kovalev made some disgusting cros- ice saucer pass late in the third, but Engo couldn't beat Thomas.
Bruins woke up in the third, and they were buzzing. Pens had some chances, but Talbot apparently doesn't have the strength to score on wrist shots anymore.
Finally Lucic gets a penalty for being a jerk-off. Huge powerplay. Gregory Campbell gets the powerplay out of sync when he blocks a shot. James Neal almost willed the Pens to a goal. Neal played his best game as a Pen.
The Bruins turned it up, and MAF was brilliant. He found a puck in traffic that looked like it was going to turn out really bad. Kovalev back-checked the shit out of Chara at one point too.
Pens had several chances to make it 3-1. TestTube hit the post, James Neal had a wide-open look on an odd-man break. but he missed. Staal had the best chance, but he got hooked and shot it into Thomas. Tyler Seguin jobbed a Pen, too. No call
All of a sudden, it was under a minute to play, and Thomas was off. The Pens, who forced so many turnovers all night, forced another turnover. Staal dished to Cooke. Wide-open net.
Shoot it, Cooke.
Kaberle blocks the shot, Bruins storm up the ice. Puck gets dumped to the corner. Mark Recchi holds Michalek there. Veteran move, but also gutless. This leaves a Bruin open in front. No question Michalek prevents this. Someone dishes to David Kreci. MAF doesn't have a chance.
Game goes to OT. Pens get a point, but whatever.
They looked stunned in OT. And then it happens:
Dustin Jeffrey picks off a pass in the neutral zone.
He catches the shitty Boston D-man flat-footed.
He drops the shoulder in power-forward mode.
What a goal.
grandma city on left. suck it.
Such a big goal by Dustin Jeffrey. Man.
Somehow Jeffrey wasn't voted as a star of the game.
Per Eric P., Jeffrey scored a goal just like that against the Bruins minor-league affiliate earlier this season.
Pens only 2 points out of first place in the East.
Since the start of February, the Penguins have played 17 games.
11 have been one-goal games, including the last four.