Pens Beat Bruins 3-2 In An Emotional Saturday Matinee; Clinch East


March 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun (92) (top) makes a save against Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) as Pens defender Brooks Orpik defends during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Garden, but the result was obviously the last thing on everybody’s minds.

With the Boston manhunt officially coming to a close late Friday night, the voices of the Boston faithful echoed throughout the arena, as they sang the national anthem in unison just as strong–if not stronger–than they did before.

Fans held American flags and “Boston Strong” signs then began chanting “U.S.A.,” as the city finally reached closure to this past Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy.

The Penguins, like the Bruins, wore patches that displayed an outline of downtown Boston, with an American flag in the background and the city’s area code number (617).

In the end, Boston would ultimately leave with a loss, and the Pens would go on to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference, pushing their winning streak to six.

Tomas Vokoun got the start in net for the Pens. And he was as stellar as ever.

Stopping 38 of 40 shots, Vokoun saw dozens of Boston scoring chances by the period. However the 36-year-old veteran goaltender, who hasn’t started since April 11th, was still able to come away victorious.

Improving his record to 12-4-0, Vokoun now holds a 2.54 goals against average and .915 save percentage.

Pittsburgh newcomers Jarome Iginla and Jussi Jokinen had themselves great games as well.

Iginla, who received boos from the crowd all day (as expected,) put the Pens up 2-1 4:43 into the 3rd period, when his slap shot snuck by Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask on a Pittsburgh man-advantage.

Meanwhile, Jokinen scored the game-tying goal 5:10 into the 2nd period, and he also finished the game with two power play assists.

Since coming over from Carolina, Jokinen has registered eight points (4G, 4A) and has been a major force in the face-off circle.

It’ll be interesting to see where Jokinen will line up when all the injured stars return, considering the depth. But for what the team gave up to get him, it was a big win for Pittsburgh.

Defenseman Kris Letang scored the game-winning goal 8:29 into the 3rd on the power play and logged the most minutes (24:24) next to goaltender Vokoun.

Although the Pens miss their star forwards, the team honestly would be nowhere if it weren’t for Letang’s tremendous two-way prowess.

The way the team runs when Letang is quarterbacking is almost invincible.

His value to Pittsburgh might not get as much credit as it should because of how well built the team is, but it certainly shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Forwards Chris Kunitz, Beau Bennett, Tanner Glass and defenseman Matt Niskanen each had one assist as well.

Had Pittsburgh not lost to the Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers back-to-back to start the month of April, they’d have a 23-game winning streak right now.

The Pens have lost the majority of their marquee names at some point throughout this season, made a handful of acquistions, and has still been able to post a record of 34-10-0.

Well done Pittsburgh–outstanding work.

But the job isn’t done yet.

For the past three seasons the Pens have entered the playoffs looking like the favorite for a Stanley Cup and have failed all three times.

Is this finally the year they hold up to expectations? The foreshadowing seems promising–for now.

Pens got the Senators in Ottawa Monday at 7:30 p.m.