Winter Classic 2023 takeaways: Jake DeBrusk carries Bruins to 2-1 win over Penguins at Fenway Park

The Boston Bruins had yet to lose in regulation at home during the 2022-23 season entering Monday. That fact technically didn't change as the Bruins erased a 1-0 third-period deficit and defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

Jake DeBrusk scored both goals in the third period to lift the Bruins to victory. It marked the 27th game-winning goal of DeBrusk's career, as he became just the second Bruins player (David Pastrnak had a hat trick at Lake Tahoe in 2021), to record multiple goals in an outdoor game.

DeBrusk's game-winner was the fourth-latest goal in NHL outdoor game history.

The winner came with 2:24 remaining in the third period. Bruins forward Taylor Hall took the puck in deep and Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith made the initial save. However, DeBrusk pounced on the rebound in front and scored to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead late in the final period.

Entering the third period, the Penguins held a 1-0 lead. At the 8:40 mark of the second period, Pittsburgh won a neutral zone faceoff and did a tremendous job on the forecheck to free the puck. Former Bruins forward Danton Heinen found teammate Kasperi Kapanen in front of the net, and Kapanen snapped the game's first goal past Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark. 

The Bruins were able to tie the game just after a penalty to Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin had ended. DeSmith, who replaced starter Tristan Jarry in the first period after Jarry suffered a lower-body injury, made a few huge saves late in the penalty kill. However, DeBrusk stepped in front of the net and avoided DeSmith's attempted poke check to score the game-tying goal at the 7:46 mark of the third period.

The 2023 Winter Classic was the fourth time the Bruins have appeared in the Winter Classic. Monday's win brings their Winter Classic record to 3-1, with their lone loss coming to the Montreal Canadiens in 2016 at Gillette Stadium. Meanwhile, the Penguins are now 1-2 in the Winter Classic in their history.

Bruins continue to thrive at home

It's been no secret that the Bruins have been a juggernaut throughout the 2022-23 season thus far. After all, Boston had yet to lose entering Monday's Winter Classic. When the dust settled at Fenway Park, nothing changed for the Bruins as they came away with a victory and improved their record to 19-0-3 when playing at home this season. 

The Bruins have only had three instances in which they have tasted defeat on home ice all season so far. Boston has only been humbled in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 5, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 15, and a 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres on New Year's Eve. While Fenway Park isn't the Bruins' traditional home venue, they still continued their dominance within the friendly confines of Boston, and it's been impressive to see.

DeBrusk has a flair for the dramatic

It's been an up-and-down tenure for DeBrusk since being selected with the No. 14 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. In November 2021, DeBrusk had reportedly requested a trade from the Bruins, but continued to play for the franchise. The 26-year-old DeBrusk finished the season with 42 points (25 goals and 17 assists), which was just one point away from tying a career high. DeBrusk also signed a two-year, $8 million contract extension at the 2022 trade deadline and eventually rescinded his trade request this past summer following the firing of coach Bruce Cassidy. 

The Bruins certainly made the right call to play the waiting game with DeBrusk and he ultimately decided to remain with the franchise. DeBrusk has always possessed the potential to be a force on the offensive end of the ice and he showcased that fact throughout the Winter Classic. The Bruins star has quietly registered 27 game-winning goals, which places him 25th on the Bruins' all-time game-winning goals list. Monday's game-winning tally was the fourth game-winning goal of the season for DeBrusk.

Playing on Boston's top line alongside veterans Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has done wonders for DeBrusk's production. DeBrusk currently is tied for third on the team in points (30) with 16 goals and 14 assists. Especially once the postseason rolls around, the Bruins winger will play an even larger role in the team's offensive attack.

Penguins let one slip away

It was an impressive effort by the Bruins to erase the one-goal deficit in the third period and come away with the regulation win on the big stage. On the other hand, it was downright deflating for the Penguins to play a strong game on both ends of the ice and come away empty-handed.

Out of the gate, Pittsburgh was definitely the more aggressive team and registered the higher quality scoring chances throughout the first half of the contest. The Penguins also won 56.2 percent of the game's faceoffs while holding the advantage in the shots department during most of the game. Obviously, Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark came up large like he has all season, as he turned aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced. However, the Penguins went 0-for-3 on the power play and needed to take advantage of one of those opportunities to beat a team like the Bruins.

Despite giving up a pair of goals, it's hard to place much blame on Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith. He came into the game cold in the opening period after Tristan Jarry was clearly laboring due to a lower-body injury. The Pittsburgh backup stopped 19-of-21 shots and made huge saves all afternoon when Boston attempted to climb back into the game. If Jarry is out for an extended period, the Penguins should be fine with DeSmith in between the pipes, but the offense has to be better. After all, this team only has 11 goals during its current five-game losing streak.

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Penguins 1, Bruins 0 -- End of 2nd Period

The Penguins opened the scoring at the 8:40 mark of the second period. Pittsburgh won the neutral zone face-off and did a tremendous job on the forecheck to jar the puck free. Forward Danton Heinen found teammate Kasperi Kapanen in front of the net and Kapanen snapped the game's first goal past Linus Ullmark. The Penguins still hold a 20-17 advantage in shots and lead 1-0 after two periods of play. Both Ullmark and Casey DeSmith both coming up large to keep their respective teams in this contest. 

January 2, 2023, 9:17 PM
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The Penguins pull Casey DeSmith for the extra attacker. 1:25 to go.

January 2, 2023, 10:12 PM
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Jake DeBrusk finds the back of the net once again. Taylor Hall takes the puck in deep and Casey DeSmith makes the initial save. However, DeBrusk pounces on the rebound and gives the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 2:24 to go.

January 2, 2023, 10:12 PM
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The Bruins just pinged one off the post following a broken stick shot from the point. We're still tied 1-1 with 5:22 to go in regulation at Fenway Park.

January 2, 2023, 10:05 PM
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Casey DeSmith came up with a few huge saves on that penalty kill, but the Bruins tie the game just after the Brian Dumoulin penalty concludes. Jake DeBrusk was able to step in front of the net and avoids DeSmith's attempted poke check to score the game-tying goal.

January 2, 2023, 9:52 PM
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@penguins via Twitter
January 2, 2023, 9:51 PM
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Brian Dumoulin will go to the box for the Penguins. Huge man-advantage upcoming for the Bruins, who trail 1-0 with 14 minutes to go in the third period.

January 2, 2023, 9:49 PM
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Boston's Matt Grzelcyk gets the gate as he trips up Pittsburgh's Jason Zucker. Early third period power-play for the Penguins.

January 2, 2023, 9:42 PM
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Brad Marchand just had a scoring chance from point-blank range, but Casey DeSmith is able to freeze the puck. Tremendous save.

January 2, 2023, 9:16 PM
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@penguins via Twitter
January 2, 2023, 9:15 PM
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@NHL via Twitter
January 2, 2023, 9:08 PM
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Linus Ullmark just slid across to make a remarkable save on Kasperi Kapanen. Nearly had his second goal of the Winter Classic. Ullmark has stopped 17 of the 18 shots that he's faced this afternoon.

January 2, 2023, 9:06 PM
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@penguins via Twitter
January 2, 2023, 9:04 PM
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