PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scored twice Tuesday night, the second of which proved to be the game winner, as Pittsburgh beat Boston, 5-3, and inched closer to clinching the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Penguins and Flyers are separated by three points after the Flyers 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers Tuesday and will most likely play each other in the opening round.
“We had a shot-first mentality tonight,” Neal said, according to the Penguins official website. “We definitely did the job.”
Crosby’s second goal was the second in a span of 48 seconds late in the second period with the Penguins on the power play. James Neal scored his 40th at 18:11 on a 5-on-3 power play.
Crosby followed that up seconds later on a 5-on-4 power play with his seventh goal of the season and second of the game for a 4-2 lead heading into the second intermission.
“A lot of times that’s the difference in hockey games when you’re able to score on the power play with the way that we do such a great job killing penalties,” Crosby said. “That’s a big boost if we can score on the power play.”
Pittsburgh could have easily fallen apart, as the game progressed much like Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Philadelphia. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Crosby and Paul Martin in the first period, the Penguins allowed a late first period goal and an early second period goal to see their lead vanish.
Benoit Pouliot cut the Pittsburgh advantage to 2-1 at 16:57 of the first period and Milan Lucic tied it 18 seconds into the second. Philadelphia tallied goals at 15:09 of the first period and 1:25 of the second period just two days earlier.
The Pens tightened up their play as the second period progressed and received some big saves from goaltender Brent Johnson early in the third period to keep the lead at two goals. Johnson stopped 26 of 29 Boston shots on the night.
“This game felt better than the previous one in Buffalo,” Johnson said. “There is still room for refinement in my game. Talking to the D-men, our communication was great tonight. We had to kill some penalties and we did.”
Arron Asham deflected a puck past Bruins goaltender Marty Turco from in front of the net at 6:15 of the third period to put the game out of reach.
- Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen and forward Joe Vitale left the game to injuries. Niskanen’s is undisclosed. Vitale was struck in the face with a shot. Bylsma had no update on either’s status after the game.