Fleury unfazed by a late flurry
It looked so familiar. Last Monday, the Bruins rallied to beat Pittsburgh with a four-goal third period. On Thursday, they outscored the Flyers by three in the final period to gain a victory.
Yesterday, they faced the Penguins again, this time at TD Garden, and by the time they got to the third period, the Bruins already had made one dazzling comeback, scoring goals 13 seconds apart midway through the second to tie the game at 2.
Back in it with one period to play — a situation the Bruins had turned into victory twice in a week — they descended on the opponents’ goal, unafraid of shooting for another win.
But Pittsburgh returned the pressure, and it was Jordan Staal who found an opening, sliding a backhand shot past Tuukka Rask at the left post at 3:25 of the third to give Pittsburgh a one-goal lead.
The Bruins uncorked 20 shots at Penguin goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the third, with the line of Michael Ryder, Marc Savard, and Nathan Horton in particular showering him with pucks. Several times, it seemed the puck had gotten past Fleury’s pads or slid between them, but it never got over the goal line.
The Bruins’ time ran out and the Penguins went home with a 3-2 win.
Fleury enjoyed it.
“Especially in the third, there were a lot of guys coming to the net and trying to find a pocket when they were there,’’ he said. “It was fun, though.’’
That’s not what Rask thought. At the other end, he was doing just about everything right, including making a bold stop on Evgeni Malkin’s breakaway (and another crack at the rebound) and then a sharp glove save on Staal from the slot. But despite making 33 saves, he had to take the loss.
“It just sucks because we lost,’’ said Rask. “And it’s one of those games you kind of want to step up and win for your team because they’re all over the place.
“But it’s a tough loss to swallow, at least for me. I think nobody’s happy here right now.’’
Rask (4-9-1, 2.57 goals against average and .926 save percentage) was confident his team could finish off a comeback, so when it didn’t happen, he was frustrated.
“It was not easy for me,’’ he said.
Rask did not feel the Penguins’ pressure early in the game, but the skilled Pittsburgh squad soon found its rhythm.
“I think they had three shots after 15 minutes, and then all of a sudden they had 12,’’ he said. “So they got the momentum there in the end of the first and came really hard, and then the second period was kind of going back and forth, I thought.’’
The pace never slowed, producing the kind of tension that pleased the crowd. But not the boss.
“I think the biggest thing for me is the fact that the first half of the game we didn’t manage the puck well, we didn’t make good puck decisions, and I really didn’t think we had our game going,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“Then all of a sudden in the second half, we started picking it up again. I’m convinced that had we played, I guess, 60 minutes like the last 30, we wouldn’t be sitting here looking at a loss.’’
It’s not enough for the Bruins to know they can come from behind to win; they still have to do it.