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(Saturday, December 7th)
Final Score: Boston 3, Pittsburgh 2
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - David Krejci and Zdeno Chara scored goals 1:16 apart late in regulation to send the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 decision over the Pittsburgh Penguins in a contentious contest from TD Garden.
Reilly Smith also lit the lamp for the Bruins, who bounced back from a one- goal loss in Montreal on Thursday and have won seven of their last 10 overall.
Tuukka Rask made 28 saves as the hosts kept pace with the first-place Habs in the Atlantic Division.
Chris Kunitz and James Neal tallied for the Penguins, who saw their season- best five-game win streak halted thanks to some inattentive defense late.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 shots in defeat, which came at the cost of defenseman Brooks Orpik, who departed the game on a stretcher in the first period.
Rask was sent to the bench for an extra skater with roughly 1:45 to go, and Krejci tied the game on the following shift, on a shot from the slot through a Chara screen.
Chara then moved up from his point position on the final shift of regulation and wristed home the eventual winner from between the circles as 13 seconds remained, to cap expert puck possession from forward mates Smith and Brad Marchand.
The Pens picked up the first goal on a power play with 6:33 gone in the first, as a Kunitz offering from the left-wing boards intended for a teammate on the opposite wing deflected off a Bruins player and skipped through Rask.
Boston regained equilibrium and scored on its first shot of the game, from Smith inside the left circle just after the midway point.
Things got ugly from there.
During a scrum which was created by a kneeing call to Neal against a defenseless Marchand with 8:54 remaining in the first period, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton grabbed Orpik from behind and punched him twice, the second time as the veteran blueliner was on the ice.
"I made a mistake. I feel awful," was all Thornton offered in defense.
Medical personnel were immediately summoned, and the 33-year-old was completely immobilized before being loaded onto a stretcher and taken away for evaluation.
"(Neal) didn't really make an attempt to get out of the way," said Pens head coach Dan Bylsma.
Orpik was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was both alert and conscious, while Thornton drew a match penalty for his actions -- apparently in retribution for a clean but hard hit Orpik laid on Loui Eriksson early in the game. Eriksson was later reported to have suffered a concussion and will not travel with his club.
"Those are unfortunate incidents when you see guys get injured. That's called Eriksson and it's also called Orpik," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
Following the game, Bylsma reported that Orpik was out of the hospital and will travel back home with his teammates.
During the following advantage, Neal converted a Matt Niskanen pass to make it 2-1 for the visitors.
Rask turned aside a Kunitz breakaway with six minutes remaining in the second, seconds after the Pitt forward exited the penalty box.
Smith missed a wide-open net from the right side at the tail end of a Bruins advantage with five minutes gone in the third.
Sidney Crosby was in alone as the clock ticked down to two minutes left in regulation, and Rask used his pads to block both chances. Seconds earlier, Chara rang a shot off the crossbar.
Boston won two of three meetings with Pittsburgh this season, including both on home ice ... Prior to the game, the Bruins announced that defenseman Johnny Boychuk will miss the next few days with a back sprain suffered when he took a hit from behind by Montreal's Max Pacioretty on Thursday ... Thornton faces a hearing with the NHL for his actions ... The Bruins head to Toronto on Sunday, while the Penguins host Columbus on Monday.
12/07 23:27:36 ET
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