Rask, Bruins blank Penguins 3-0
Rask, Bruins blank Penguins 3-0
Dec. 17, 2015
BOSTON (AP) — New coach or old, it didn't matter for Pittsburgh Penguins the way Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask is playing.
Rask stopped 34 shots for his fourth shutout, Jimmy Hayes ended a 15-game goal-scoring drought and the Bruins beat Pittsburgh 3-0 Wednesday night, keeping new Penguins coach Mike Sullivan winless after his first two games.
"He's been feeling it for a little while, maybe the last month," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Rask. "He's been the goaltender we all know he can be. That's how we felt about him at the beginning (of the season) when he struggled."
Rask got his 30th career shutout. He's 7-0-2 with a 1.36 goals against and three shutouts in his last nine starts, but credited a lot of it to how the team is playing in front of him.
"When we play our system it's very helpful for a goalie," he said. "Today they had a lot of shots again, but they kept them to the outside. When we do that, it's helpful to a win."
Max Talbot and Ryan Spooner also scored to help the Bruins improve to 5-0-1 in their last six meetings with the Penguins. Boston is also 9-1-3 in its last 13 games overall.
Pittsburgh backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff had 26 saves as the Penguins lost for the seventh time in nine games (2-4-3). Top goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who started 25 of the first 29, is expected to miss 1-to-2 weeks with a concussion.
Sullivan replaced fired coach Mike Johnston on Saturday, and Pittsburgh lost 4-1 to Washington in his debut Monday.
"Well, I think we are getting some chances, we are generating some chances," Sullivan said. "For me, what I see is we have to do a better job playing smarter. I think we are playing hard. I think our energy is there. I think our effort is there."
Penguins star center Sidney Crosby said the team had chances, but didn't have luck — kind of like his season, too.
"I mean, yeah, we hit a couple crossbars, but teams hit crossbars and they score different ways, too," he said. "That's totally on us to find ways to score goals and it might have to be ugly ones until we start to get some bounces."
Struggling through a season that had them in 11th in the Eastern Conference coming in, the Penguins were looking for a spark after they fired Johnston on Saturday.
The lack of goal scoring that's plagued them for most of this season continued. Crosby has just six goals in the team's 30 games.
The Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead when Talbot slipped a wrister by Zatkoff's glove and inside the right post midway into the opening period.
Boston made it 2-0 on Hayes' score 4 minutes into the second. Hayes was charging hard to the net with Penguins defenseman Ian Cole. Spooner's pass toward the net hit Cole's skate, popped into the air and deflected into the net. Sullivan challenged that there was goaltender interference.
Spooner added an empty-net, power-play goal with 2:43 to play.
Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg's stick shattered and the shaft went flying about 15 rows into the stands. No one was injured.
Penguins winger Chris Kunitz hit a post late in the second when they outshot Boston 18-4 in the period — after getting outshot 10-6 in the first.
"We have to find a way to kind of change our fate in games and get an ugly one or not allow those posts or bad bounces to hurt us," Crosby said.
Pittsburgh entered the game averaging just 2.31 goals per game, which was 27th in the league.
NOTES: The Penguins recalled C Kevin Porter, LW Conor Sheary and backup G Matthew Murray on Wednesday from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Sheary made his NHL debut. ... It was the first of three meetings between the teams. They play the back end of a home-and-home in Pittsburgh on Friday. ... Pittsburgh D Trevor Daley, acquired from Chicago for D Rob Scuderi, made his Penguins debut and wore No. 6. ... The Bruins entered with the league's best power play and went 1 for 4. Pittsburgh was 27th and went 0 for 3. ... With an hour later start due to national TV, there was a large amount of empty seats despite the sellout.