Boston at Pittsburgh

Penguins bounce Bruins, gain ground in Eastern Conference race wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Chris Kunitz lost a goal and a hat trick he insists he didn't deserve. The two points? Kunitz and captain Sidney Crosby believe the Pittsburgh Penguins very much earned both of those.

Sergei Gonchar and Kunitz scored 18 seconds apart early in the third period, Petr Sykora got the game-winner later in the period and the Penguins gained a valuable victory in the Eastern Conference race, beating Boston 6-4 on Sunday.

The Penguins rallied from deficits of 3-2 and 2-1 to beat the conference-leading Bruins for only the second time in six games and moved ahead of idle Montreal into fifth place in the crowded standings. The Penguins picked up at least one point for the 10th consecutive game, going 8-0-2 during a run that began with a seven-game winning streak.

Not long ago, it looked as if the then-slumping Penguins might miss the playoffs after they came within two wins of raising the Stanley Cup last spring.

This current streak interests Crosby, not his own scoring run. Crosby had three assists to reach the 90-point mark and has at least one point in 10 consecutive games.

"It's not something on my mind right now, I'm trying to do my best and help with this last push here," Crosby said. "It's a big time for us. You see how tight the games are now, every team is desperate and battling hard."

Each of the Penguins' last five games has been decided by a goal, with the previous four going to shootouts.

Kunitz was originally credited with a power-play goal 43 seconds into the third that tied it at 3, but Gonchar was given the goal during a postgame review. Kunitz lost what would have been his second career hat trick because of the change.

"I didn't hit the puck, the replay might look like that but I didn't hit the puck," Kunitz said. "I'm not highly skilled with the puck. I just kind of go and get it and give it away, but the puck comes back to you [if a player works hard]."

He certainly touched it seconds later. Kunitz got loose on a short breakaway off Bill Guerin's pass and beat Tim Thomas by shifting from his forehand to his backhand before slipping the puck between the goalie's pads.

Kunitz's 21st goal was his fifth in nine games since being dealt by Anaheim at the trading deadline, although he didn't have a goal in his previous five games.

"They seem like a little different team, it seemed like they had a little more energy, a little more jump," Boston's Mark Stuart said of Pittsburgh, which was in a 5-13 slide when it lost twice to Boston in successive game 2½ months ago. "And putting Billy Guerin with Crosby's playmaking abilities definitely adds another aspect to their offense. And then Kunitz with his speed."

Not long after Kunitz's second goal, Michael Ryder tied it at 4 for Boston, which was trying to become the first NHL team to reach the 100-point mark this season.

Sykora put Pittsburgh back into the lead with his 24th midway through the third, 13 seconds after Boston killed off a Penguins power play that included 17 seconds with a two-man advantage.

Jordan Staal shed a defender with a spin move in the corner and threw the puck to Sykora for a quick wrist shot from the left circle. Sykora was playing his second game after missing three games with an injured shoulder. Staal added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Phil Kessel scored his 31st goal and fourth in three games and former Penguins player Mark Recchi and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Bruins. Wheeler's short-handed goal in the second briefly put them up 3-2.

However, Wheeler's holding penalty 28 seconds into the third created the power play that led to the first of two Kunitz's goals in the opening 1:01 of the period.

"You can't look at anybody but yourself," Wheeler said. "Obviously there's calls you don't really like, but that's part of the game. We can't put them on the power play that much [the Penguins were 2-for-8], and we did."

Boston coach Claude Julien said several penalties were "poor calls," but added, "You can't win hockey games, especially against a team like this, when you take that many penalties."

Guerin scored 50 seconds into the game, his second goal since being dealt to Pittsburgh. Recchi answered 16 seconds later by beating Mathieu Garon with a one-timer from just inside the blue line as the Bruins scored on their first shot for the second day in a row. They scored on their first two shots of a 2-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday.

Garon made 21 saves in only his second start since being traded to Pittsburgh on Jan. 17. Marc-Andre Fleury started the previous 19 games.


  • Crosby has four goals and 17 assists in 13 games against Boston.
  • Five years after having the NHL's worst attendance, the Penguins played before their 100th consecutive sellout crowd. The streak began Feb. 14, 2007.
  • Penguins executive Eddie Johnston was honored before the game in recognition of his 25th season with the club. He has been their coach, general manager, assistant general manager and, in his current role, senior adviser.
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Although Chris Kunitz loses his hat trick, he still helps his Penguins pull out a crucial win.  (Getty Images)
Although Chris Kunitz loses his hat trick, he still helps his Penguins pull out a crucial win. (Getty Images)
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Boston (45-17-9)2114
Pittsburgh  (37-26-8) «2046
Three Stars
C. Kunitz

Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
B. Guerin

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
S. Crosby

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 3

Related Video

Scoring Summary
50.0Bill Guerin (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Kunitz
01:06Mark Recchi (16), Slap Shot. Assist: Stuart, Kobasew
10:16Phil Kessel (31), Slap Shot. Assist: Wheeler, Chara
16:04Power Play - Chris Kunitz (20), Slap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Guerin
10:31Short - Blake Wheeler (18), Slap Shot. Assist: Krejci
43.0Power Play - Sergei Gonchar (5), Tip-In. Assist: Letang, Crosby
01:01Chris Kunitz (22), Slap Shot. Assist: Guerin
02:54Power Play - Michael Ryder (24), Slap Shot, Unassisted.
09:29Petr Sykora (24), Slap Shot. Assist: Staal, Dupuis
19:03Jordan Staal (19), Empty Net, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
01:57Wideman, 2 min, Holding
02:32Malkin, 2 min, Broken Stick
06:18Orpik, 2 min, Interference
14:07Wideman, 2 min, Slashing
15:55Montador, 2 min, Roughing
06:43Cooke, 2 min, Interference
09:40Ward, 2 min, Hooking
14:37Krejci, 2 min, Tripping
28.0Wheeler, 2 min, Holding
02:29Sykora, 2 min, Hooking
05:33Axelsson, 2 min, Interference
07:16Montador, 2 min, Hooking
19:37Talbot, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
Tim Thomas58:42285
Mathieu Garon60:00214
Game Information
Attendance - 17132
Referees - Dennis LaRue, Kelly Sutherland
Linesmen - Steve Barton, Scott Cherrey
Other Games
SJ 1 Final
Ana 0
Det 4 Final
Colu 0
Colo 2 Final
Van 4
Phi 1 Final
NYI 4 Final
Chi 2
Min 3 Final
StL 5