PITTSBURGH -- If the road to the Stanley Cup leads through the Penguins, then there may be potholes ahead for the Bruins.
Sparked by a pair of first-period goals, including one in the final minute by Northeastern's Joe Vitale, the Penguins on Sunday rattled off their ninth straight win, a 2-1 edging of the Bruins here at CONSOL Energy Center.
It was Boston's second loss here in less than a week, following a 3-2 defeat here on March 12.
Adding to Boston's woes, top center David Krejci exited the lineup with 5:14 to go in regulation when he was felled by a Johnny Boychuk slapper. It appeared to hit Krejci on the right knee. Krejci had to be helped off the ice by Boychuk and Milan Lucic. He was unable to place weight on his right legs as he made his way off the ice and to the dressing room.
Sidney Crosby, the league's leading scorer, started the Pens on their way at 12:06 of the first when he sniped in a short-range wrister from the slot. The play began with Pascal Dupuis filching the puck from Zdeno Chara behind the net and then Dupuis feeding to Chris Kunitz (league's No. 2 scorer) in the left wing circle. Milan Lucic failed to cut off a Kunitz cross-slot feed and the sharp-eyed Crosby rifled home his 13th of the season.
The Bruins were back with the equalizer at 16:38 with their own sharpshooter, Tyler Seguin, potting his 10th. Boychuk tore off a shot from above the right wing cirlce and it ricocheted into the left circle, where the well-positioned Seguin (four goals in his previous six games), smacked it directly to the top left corner.
But with only 32 seconds left in the period, ex-NU Huskie Joe Vitale broke the deadlock, popping the puck to the top right corner on Tuukka Rask as he fell down near the right faceoff dot. Rask first failed to glove a Craig Adams shot, leaving the loose puck for Vitale to gobble up and knock home for his first goal this season.