PITTSBURGH — Known for their defense, the Boston Bruins showed the Pittsburgh Penguins that they can be pretty efficent at the other end of the rink, too.
Mark Recchi had a goal and assisted on two of Boston’s five third-period goals in the Bruins’ 7-4 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Boston entered the third period down 4-2, but Nathan Horton and Zdeno Chara scored 15 seconds apart to tie it in the first 4:04, Shawn Thornton was credited with the winner with 7:20 to play, Blake Wheeler scored with 3:47 left and Milan Lucic added an empty-netter.
“Obviously, ideally we don’t want to put ourselves in the situations where we’ve got to come back like that,” said Boston goalie Tim Thomas, who made a season-high 42 saves while extending a franchise record by winning his eighth consecutive decision to start a season.
“But if we’re in (that situation) we know we’re not out of it.”
The Bruins improved to 6-1 on the road. They had lost their previous two after winning seven of eight.
Playing without top center David Krejci due to a concussion sustained in the team’s previous game, fifteen of Boston’s 18 skaters had at least a point.
“I think for the third period, for sure, and for parts of the rest of the game, the guys really kind of came together and tried to do it by committee,” Thornton said. “Every line chipped in, and you’re going to need that when you’re missing a guy like Krejci.”
Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who have lost six of their past eight and fell to 2-5 at the new Consol Energy Center.
Pittsburgh took a two-goal lead after Chris Kunitz and Crosby scored over the final 4:16 of the second period. Crosby moved into a tie for second on the NHL goal list when he was credited with his 10th on what was intended to be a pass across the slot but deflected off of Bruins defenseman Mark Stuart and past Thomas during the final minute of the second to make it 4-2 Penguins.
“We said in the locker room (during the second intermission), ‘We still have an opportunity to win this game,'” Wheeler said. “It speaks to what we have in the room that guys know it’s never over until it’s over. It certainly helps to get one early because it gives you some confidence, and we took it from there.”
Horton scored his seventh of the season 3:49 into the period on a turnaround wrist shot from low in the left-wing circle. Chara’s seventh was a one-timed shot from the slot while on a 3-on-2.
“I think just the way we came out on the ice (for the third) is unacceptable,” Letang said.
Thornton had his second in three games when he collected a puck at his own blue line, carried it down the right wing and beat Pittsburgh goalie Brent Johnson high to the glove side.
“We made big mistakes (in the third); that basically was what it was,” Crosby said. “It’s not like we gave them a ton of chances, but the ones we did were big ones, and they capitalized on them all. We got into playing some pretty risky hockey, and we paid for it.”
Aaron Asham and Brooks Orpik also scored for the Penguins during the first period, and Brad Marchand had his second of the season during the first period for the Bruins.
Asham’s goal 1:05 into the game was his first as a Penguin, and Orpik’s was his first of the season and ninth of his 459-game career.
The 42-year-old Recchi, who began his career in Pittsburgh 22 years ago, scored his the first goal of the season and 564th of his career.
There were two fights in the first 7 minutes of the game and a third midway through the second period. None, however, involved Matt Cooke. Last March 7, the Penguins’ agitator knocked Bruins gifted center Marc Savard out of the game — and the remainder of his regular season —with a blind-side hit to the head.
Although Savard returned during the playoffs, he has not played yet this season due to post-concussion symptoms. The Bruins vowed a measure of revenge, but other than Thornton fighting Cooke 2 minutes into the only meeting between the two teams since then (11 days after the hit), there has been no visible on-ice retribution.
NOTES: Recchi’s power-play goal was the first the Penguins had allowed in five games. … Before allowing two Wednesday, the Bruins had allowed only four first-period goals during their first 11 games this season.
|Blue Jackets 8, Blues 1|
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jake Voracek scored on two breakaways to chase red-hot goalie Jaroslav Halak and Columbus scored early and often to end St. Louis’ winning streak at seven games.
It was a rare outburst for the Blue Jackets, the only team in the NHL this season that had not scored more than three goals. The eight goals tied a club record, and the margin was the largest in franchise history.
The rout also was a rare collapse by the Blues, who had allowed just four goals in their last six games.
Chris Clark also had two goals and Rick Nash, R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette each added a goal and an assist for Columbus, which has won eight of 11. Derick Brassard added a career-high three assists and Kyle Wilson and Nikita Filatov each had a career-best two helpers. Samuel Pahlsson also had two assists and Jared Boll had a goal. Steve Mason made 29 saves, allowing only B.J. Crombeen’s goal.
|Sabres 5, Devils 4|
NEWARK, N.J. — Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek scored shootout goals and Buffalo won in Lindy Ruff’s 1,000th game as the Sabres’ coach.
Roy, Jason Pominville, Tyler Myers and Tyler Ennis scored for the Sabres and backup goalie Jhonas Enroth made 28 saves to help Buffalo keep the Devils’ winless (0-5-2) at home this season.
The Devils’ frustration was never more evident than when $100 million free agent Ilya Kovalchuk had the puck slip off his stick and not get a shot on the Devils’ fourth and final shootout attempt.
Jason Arnott scored twice and David Clarkson and Jamie Langenbrunner added goals for New Jersey.
|Panthers 4, Maple Leafs 1|
SUNRISE, Fla. — Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists, and Bryan Allen, Steven Reinprecht and Shawn Matthias also scored to help Florida extend Toronto’s losing streak to seven games.
Tomas Vokoun made 32 saves in his first start since being pulled in the first period against Carolina on Friday night. The Maple Leafs’ losing streak is their longest since opening last season at 0-6-1. They have lost 10 of their past 11 games and are 3 for 39 on the power play in their last 10 games.
Avs lose 10 players
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Colby Cohen skipped practice Wednesday because of a bad cold.
And he’s one of the healthier players.
The Avs have been hit hard this season by a rash of injuries, leading to five players being placed on injured reserve, including top goaltender Craig Anderson (knee) and defenseman Adam Foote (concussion).
They’re tied with New Jersey for most players on IR.
Colorado has another five skaters sidelined with various ailments, giving the team arguably the best lineup in the league that’s unable to play.
The injury situation only grew worse in a 4-2 loss to Calgary on Tuesday night as tenacious forward T.J. Galiardi broke his right wrist on a collision near the boards and recent call-up David Van Der Gulik tore ligaments in his left knee.
“We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. No one feels sorry for us in this league,” coach Joe Sacco said. “We feel that we can compete with anybody. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup.”
Foote, the team’s captain, has been sidelined since leaving the game in the first period against San Jose on Oct. 21.
He skated up and down the rink, hardly stopping for a breather, for more than an hour after practice Wednesday.
This wasn’t some sort of punishment, merely Foote’s way of increasing his stamina as quickly as possible after missing nearly three weeks of ice time.
“My head feels great. But as far as conditioning, it’s probably going to take a little bit,” said the 39-year-old Foote, who’s in his 19th season. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Foote hopes to be ready Friday night in Columbus but he’s mindful not to rush back too soon even if the depleted defense could certainly use him.
“You don’t want to come back too early, especially with what I’m coming off,” Foote said. “It’s a long year, too, so we’ll have to measure it.”
Along with Foote, Kyle Cumiskey, Peter Mueller and Kyle Quincey also are out with head injuries. Mueller has yet to play this season, still suffering from the effects of a hit late last season that caused him to miss the playoffs.
It’s not all doom and gloom: Anderson and Ryan Wilson (leg) may soon be back as well, each skating before practice. Anderson has been sidelined since hurting a knee during the final warmup drill in Vancouver on Oct. 26. Not scheduled to start that night, he was taking shots from teammates at close range when he abruptly went down and skated gingerly to the bench.
Backup Peter Budaj has taken Anderson’s place, going 3-2-1.
“We’re banged up right now. But it’s not an excuse,” forward Chris Stewart said. “It’s time to show our true character.”