After being suffocated on offense all game long, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally woke up in the third period and received two late goals from young center Brandon Sutter to beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 Tuesday night.
In what was a hard fought tussle between arguably the two top teams in the East, Pittsburgh came away with the two points, improving their overall record to 19-8-0 and tying them for first in the conference with the Montreal Canadiens (38 points).
Boston was able to climb ahead of Pittsburgh with first period goals from defenseman Zdeno Chara and forward Tyler Seguin, but they paid the price in the third period when they surrendered costly turnovers that ultimately resulted in them losing.
Bringing the score down 2-1 with a goal from Chris Kunitz, Pens forward Beau Bennett intercepted an errant Boston pass which led to James Neal passing to Sutter for the game-tying goal 14:33 into the third.
And then moments later, Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg turned the puck over in their own zone to Sutter, who potted the game-winning goal glove side on Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin 17:57 into the third.
For Sutter that was his seventh and eighth goals of the season, and he helped push Pittsburgh’s winning streak to six games.
Marc-Andre Fleury looked like he was in for a long night after Boston’s first period rushes, but the Bruins were only able to put together 16 shots on him.
Fleury now him improves his overall record to 13-5-0, with a 2.67 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.
Sidney Crosby was held scoreless on the night, meaning his eight-game point streak game to an end Tuesday. Although Crosby was held off the stat sheet, he still remains the NHL’s point leader with 45 and Pittsburgh’s deadliest weapon.
With Kunitz’s tally in the third, the 33-year-old forward now holds sole possession of second in the NHL with 18 goals, two behind Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos.
On the year, Kunitz continues to show an offensive fortitude, and he now has 37 points (18G, 19A), which ranks third in the league under that category.
Kris Letang assisted on Kunitz’s goal and that now he has at least one point in his last six games. Letang’s helper Tuesday night also gives him 27 points (3G, 24A) on the year, which is tops in the NHL for defenseman.
James Neal extended his point streak to six games as well, after he registered the assist towards Sutter’s game-tying goal. Neal now has 29 points (17G, 12A), and he ranks third in the NHL for goals scored.
It doesn’t get any easier for Pittsburgh, as they will play their next two games against the Leafs and Rangers, and then finish off the week with a rematch Sunday against Boston–but they’ve looked unbeatable of late.
The road to seven games straight starts first with Toronto.
Pens play Toronto on Thursday in the Air Canada Centre at 7 p.m.