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Pittsburgh at Boston

Thomas' netminding, Sturm's 200th goal help Bruins stay hot

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are moving up in the Eastern Conference standings by beating the teams on top of them.

One game after shutting out the Ottawa Senators, Tim Thomas held Pittsburgh scoreless for 53 minutes, stopping 27 shots on Thursday night to lead the Bruins to a 5-1 victory over the Penguins and give Boston its fifth consecutive victory.

"We figured out we're a simple team. We're not pretty, and you could even call us ugly," defenseman Aaron Ward said. "But you have to have your niche in the league, and we do."

Boston's niche for most of the past decade has been to hover around the postseason bubble and exit the playoffs quickly. But with seven victories in eight games -- going unbeaten on a five-game road trip -- the Bruins have moved within six points of first place in the Eastern Conference and improved their chances of a strong playoff run.

"Our goal has always been to make the playoffs," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We've had success with short-term goals."

Marco Sturm scored twice to reach 200 NHL goals, and Zdeno Chara, P.J. Axelsson and David Krejci also scored for Boston, which has back-to-back victories over two of the top three teams in the East. Thomas was working on his second consecutive shutout until Pascal Dupuis scored with 6:57 left.

Dupuis was playing in his first game with Pittsburgh since being acquired from Atlanta at the trade deadline. Also coming to the Penguins in that deal was five-time All-Star Marian Hossa, but he lasted just 13 shifts before banging knees with Glen Murray in the second period and leaving the game.

"It was an accidental hit, knee-on-knee," said Hossa, who could miss about a week. "This is disappointing. I was trying to get comfortable with my linemates. But injuries happen, and this is the tough luck of the business we're in."

The Penguins are also without captain Sidney Crosby, out since Jan. 18 with a sprained right ankle, and forward Gary Roberts, who hasn't played since breaking his leg Dec. 29.

The Bruins didn't make a move at Tuesday's deadline. Instead, general manager Peter Chiarelli addressed the players and told them he has confidence in them.

They've responded.

"Players believe in this hockey club," Julien said. "Guys in the dressing room are happy to remain together.

Penguins starter Ty Conklin, who had a career-high 50 saves on Tuesday to beat the Islanders, was pulled after giving up three goals in 13 shots in the game's first 22:21. In came Marc-Andre Fleury, who hadn't played for Pittsburgh since Dec. 6; he stopped 16 of 18 shots he faced as the Penguins lost for the first time in seven games.

Sturm beat Conklin 9:49 into the game when he redirected Chuck Kobasew's shot through the goalie's pads. Then Sturm scored again 2:18 later with a slapper from the left circle.

Zdeno Chara made it 3-0 with a slap shot from the point off Pittsburgh's Petr Sykora's leg at 2:21 of the second period. It was the Bruins captain's eighth goal in 10 games.

Notes

  • Pittsburgh blew a chance to take over the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
  • Milan Lucic and Jarkko Ruutu had a lengthy fight late in the third period, electrifying the crowd.
  • Boston hasn't won five straight since the 2003-04 season.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Marco Sturm scores twice, giving him 200 goals for his NHL career.  (Getty Images)
Marco Sturm scores twice, giving him 200 goals for his NHL career. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (36-22-7)0011
Boston  (34-23-6) «2215
Three Stars
M. Sturm
BOS


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
M. Savard
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
T. Thomas
BOS


Saves: 27
Save Pct.: .964
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
09:49Marco Sturm (21), Tip-In. Assist: Chuck Kobasew, Glen Metropolit
12:07Marco Sturm (22), Slap Shot. Assist: Glen Metropolit, Aaron Ward
2ND PERIOD
02:21Zdeno Chara (15), Slap Shot. Assist: Dennis Wideman, Marc Savard
16:01P.J. Axelsson (12), Snap Shot. Assist: Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard
3RD PERIOD
13:03Pascal Dupuis (11), Tip-In. Assist: Jeff Taffe, Tyler Kennedy
17:49Power Play - David Krejci (2), Tip-In. Assist: Mark Stuart, Chuck Kobasew
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
13:13Laraque, 2 min, Hooking
16:57Savard, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
10:12Chara, 2 min, Hooking
12:30Whitney, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
05:17Malkin, 2 min, Hooking
10:36Talbot, 2 min, Boarding
10:36Chara, 2 min, Roughing
10:36Wideman, 2 min, Roughing
15:13Malone, 2 min, Roughing
15:13Ward, 2 min, Roughing
17:32Ruutu, 5 min, Fighting
17:32Lucic, 5 min, Fighting
17:32Ruutu, 2 min, Roughing
18:26Malkin, 2 min, Tripping
Shots On Goal
 123T
Pittsburgh109928
Boston1281131
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Ty Conklin22:21103
Marc-Andre Fleury37:31162
Tim Thomas60:00271
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Pittsburgh0-for-0
Boston1-for-2
Game Information
Attendance - 17565
Referees - Stephane Auger, Brad Meier
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Tony Sericolo
 
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