PITTSBURGH – For the first time in almost two months, the Boston Bruins ran out of time. He tends to happen when the Bruins play in Pittsburgh, no matter how hot they are.
Jared McCann scored twice, Matt Murray finished with 39 savings and the Penguins gave their first loss of Regiment since January with a 4-2 win Sunday night.
Boston came 15-0-4 in its last 19 games for the longest strike streak of the franchise since 1940-41. A goal from John Moore with just over a minute to go to Boston in one, but McCann's empty netter with 21 seconds left after the Bruins managers lost for the first time since January 19 against New York Rangers.
"I believe we can be proud of that, but we are not satisfied," says Moore. "There's no reason we can not return to the work on Tuesday, that's the special part of this group. Guys are really pushing. We expect a lot of together."
Then again, so make the Penguins, who won for the fifth time in seven games to strengthen their position in the play space race. Pittsburgh ranked third in the Metropolitan Division with 13 games to take part in thanks to other regular performance by Murray and another of McCann and Nick Bjugstad, who has flourished since reaching trade with Florida on February 1.
There are two McCann goals – a remarkable break in the first time and his fleet of ice and center nearby in the weak seconds – gave him 16 goals on the season, and eight of them came in his 19 games with Pittsburgh. Bjugstad added his fifth with Pittsburgh, matching the total of 32 games with Florida.
"They're both very good players and they have welcomed the roles that we put in them," said penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
Jake Guentzel collected his goal of 34 teams for Pittsburgh, who kept Boston wireless in PPG Paints Arena since December 2015 by jumping out early and then late.
David Krejci raised his 19th for Bruins and Jaroslav Halak making 33 stops, but Boston was on his heels for most of the first time and dropped to a lack of two goals that could not be recovered.
"We were lighter on all the battles in the first," said Bruce Cassidy's coach. "You could say they were ready to win the pucks. It was costing us a few goals."
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The Bruins used the longer point of franchise franchise in eight decades to rise higher than the interesting share of the Eastern Conference play race. Their six-week stretch included supers of supremacy and a taste for the dramatic. Boston arrived to Pittsburgh off 6-0 homestand, one that led to last minute wins over Florida and Ottawa.
The Boston crew came to an end against a team that seems to have some momentum late in a bumpy and uneven season, at least by Pittsburgh standards. There's a lot of nights out, thanks to the Bjugstad and McCann's fresh legs.
Bjugstad needed only 93 seconds to give Penguins lead, fighting for a post in a remote post and redirecting central pass by Zach Aston-Reese.
McCann was 2-0 at 13:54 when he took a lead bass by Teddy Blueger who broke himself on Halak before he started his forehand back. Halak could only pull out his gloves in vain as McCann slipped back to the goal for the 10th season Pittsburgh short goal.
"I feel that I'm harder than a fake, the more he must respect," said McCann. "I just try to fool it as hard as we can and quite on it."
Krejci Boston was on the board early in the second when the puck came out of a scum in front of the net of Pittsburgh and ended his stick in the left circle. He sent over Murray rubbish to get the Bruins in one.
Pittsburgh's powerful power has been a bit overwhelmingly late – just as likely to give up as one score – and he was unemployed at 0 for 4 when Sullivan puts Guentzel on the top unit with Sidney Crosby . He paid dividends straight away.
Crosby ran into the zone down the left and sent a perfect cross-ice to Guentzel, who went back to the front and raised by Halak to restore the two goal cushion.
NOTES: Boston D Matt Grzelcyk left in the second phase after his arm was completely pounded against the boards when Pittsburgh F Patric Hornqvist arrived. Cassidy said X-rays on the Grzelcyk arm were negative … Both teams ran 1 to 5 on the play power. … Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin scored and he's still two shy points of 1,000 for his career. … Aston-Reese leaves body-to-face injury.
Bruins: Visit Columbus on Tuesday.
Penguins: Hold Washington on Tuesday. Pittsburgh is 2-1 against the Stanley Cup referee referee this season.