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Tim Thomas shines as Bruins beat Penguins in Pittsburgh

12.05.11 at 9:43 pm ET
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If anyone was wondering how the Bruins measured up to the first-place Penguins, a convincing answer was given Monday night when the B’s beat the Penguins, 3-1, at CONSOL Energy Center.

Gregory Campbell got the B’s on the board in the second period with his second goal of the season, with Benoit Pouliot taking a feed from Rich Peverley and beating Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-0. Tyler Seguin scored 1:07 into the third period before Bruins nemesis Matt Cooke broke up Tim Thomas’ shutout bid at 10:54 of the final period.

The game featured two fights, with Brad Marchand taking on Matt Niskanen after the pesky B’s forward slew-footed the Penguins defenseman in the second period. Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with former Northeastern forward Joe Vitale in the third period after Vitale ran into Tim Thomas.

The B’s now have points in 15 straight games (14-0-1), and have 35 points. A win Tuesday in Winnipeg will put them in first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time this season.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Benoit Pouliot had his best game as a Bruin. He drew a slashing penalty on Depres in the first period when the Pittsburgh defenseman knocked the stick out of his hands following a strong scoring opportunity from the third-line winger, and Pouliot was the only Bruins forward with more than one shot on goal (three) in the first period. Rich Peverley intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik in the neutral zone in the second period to set up Pouliot’s fourth goal of the season, an absolutely sizzling wrester over Fleury’s right shoulder. Pouliot finished the night with four shots on goal, the most he’s had as a Bruin.

- The Bruins had to kill off two 5-on-3′s, one of which was an entire two minutes, and they silenced the Penguins both times. Because Chara was in the box, Bergeron, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Chris Kelly handled PK duties on the first 5-on-3, with Thomas making four saves. He stopped all three shots on the second two-man advantage.

- Seguin’s goal was just his second in his last 10 games, and if he gets going again, there’s no telling when this tear the Bruins are on will stop. Patrice Bergeron was masterful in maneuvering past Pittsburgh skaters and feeding Seguin, who sent the puck just inside the right post, past the right leg of Fleury.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

- Blaming the refs is generally weak, but the B’s certainly found themselves getting the short end of the stick with the officiating. The call on Zdeno Chara that gave the Penguins their first two-man advantage of the night seemed a bit extreme, as it seemed Chara was simply clearing out traffic in front of Thomas’ net. James Neal also appeared to hold Peverley’s stick in the second period when the Bruins forward was sent off for hooking.

- The Penguins showed why they entered the night with the second-best penalty kill in the league right off the bat, though the B’s eventually broke through with Seguin’s power play goal in the third period. The B’s failed to get a single shot on goal in the two minutes that followed Pascal Dupuis’ holding penalty. The B’s were quiet on their next two power plays as well, but finished the night 1-for-5 on the man advantage.

- Paille learned that wearing a cage inconveniences more people than just him. The fourth line forward went to hit Evgeni Malkin, but his cage collided with Malkin’s face. A scrum ensued, but no penalties were assessed.

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