Saturday, 03.05.2011 / 10:40 PM / Features
By Sam Kasan
For the fourth straight game – and sixth time in the past eight contests – Pittsburgh’s contest stretched beyond regulation. And thanks to Dustin Jeffrey, the Penguins earned the extra point in the standings.
Jeffrey picked off a pass in the neutral zone, wheeled around defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and buried a shot behind Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas to clinch a 3-2 victory for the Penguins at TD Garden.
“We came in off a (line) change, I was trying to swing into an angle,” Jeffrey said of the play. “The pass was within reach of me. I ended up picking it off. I caught (Seidenberg) flatfooted.
“I was cutting across and wanted to get it up. It ended up going through.”
It was Jeffrey’s second goal of the game, as he netted a score halfway through the second period to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead. On that play, he ended up with the puck in the slot and ripped a shot past Thomas. Saturday marked his first career two-goal game.
“(Jeffrey) came out with a real strong effort in every area of the game,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “That was a burst of speed from him, something we’ve talked about and he’s worked on hard. He added to his game this year and you saw it on the overtime goal.”
What’s more impressive is that the Penguins have continue to scratch, claw and find ways to win with their two big guns – Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – being sidelined.
“As we’ve said all year, we know the way we play,” Matt Cooke said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Sid and Geno or Adams and Dustin (Jeffrey). We want to play that way. We have a standard and we’ve done that successfully. That’s our focus.”
With the win, the Penguins now have a 38-21-8 record for 84 points in the NHL standings – just two behind Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division leader Philadelphia. It’s a remarkable accomplishment considering the team’s injury-depleted roster.
“If you look at our team all around, the character that our team has, with all the injuries and adversity, we keep getting points,” Jeffrey said. “We’re sticking around the conference. We’re two points out of first place now. It’s something that we take a lot of pride in.”
MOMMA SAID BLOCK YOU OUT
The Penguins defeated the Bruins in dramatic fashion in overtime.
But Pittsburgh had an opportunity to seal the game late in the third period with a 2-1 lead and an empty-net opportunity.
With Thomas on the bench, Jordan Staal had the puck and slid a pass to Cooke in the Boston zone. Cooke waited for a lane to open, but his shot hit a defenseman. The Bruins scored seconds later to tie the game at 2-2 and force the overtime session.
“It was just blocked,” Cooke said. “Staal made a great play and I just tried to get it by the defenseman. It got blocked. It’s a situation that I have to do a better job of getting it into the net.”
Luckily for the Penguins, Jeffrey was able to finish off the game in overtime.
“We had that opportunity to score and they came back and got the goal,” Bylsma said. “Deep breath, and our guys were great getting another point. When we got to overtime we were pushing to get the second point. That was our mindset on the bench. It was resiliency of our team and work ethic. I thought we fought really hard from every man tonight. We scratched out two.”