It would be the Boston Bruins who clinched the massive win at the Winter classic last night and it would be DeBrusk with a brisk & dramatic two goals in the Third that clinched it.
‘This is an event. It’s a dream come true. And we don’t want to waste it. You don’t want to come after a game like tonight and think that you could’ve done more.
‘We know what we can do together as a group. We’re the best third-period team in the league — and let’s go prove it.”
That’s how the Left Winger Nick Foligno address the Bruins ahead of the game and the proof would indeed reveal itself as the puck went down on Monday night’s action.
The Winter Classic
So it is just like any other fixture in the NHL calendar?
The Winter Classic is a high-profile outdoor NHL game and had its first game on New Year’s Day 2008. It followed on the success of similar series; the NHL Heritage Classic and Stadium Series.
Just like the 13 editions of the Classic before it, the 2022 edition would be held on a neutral ground, in this case, the home of the Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park).
What’s more, both the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins are no strangers to this event. This would be the Penguins’ 3rd appearance with only one win in the inaugural match.
Bruins would be taking part for the 4th time in the Classic’s history and they would skate away with their 3rd win last night.
Win they did, but not without some drama…
FIRST PERIOD Penguins Pushover?
Penguins were not their best last night but that didn’t mean they would sit down and take it.
The team has suffered a 4-game skid prior to Monday and were struggling with the loss of Letang, Petry and Archibald.
Their fighting mentality would not let the more dominant Bruins get into the danger-zone in the First period and it was in the Second that it looked like the packed-out audience of black and gold supporters were trying to keep their jaws up.
It was just after the mid-way through the period when the Penguins would let rip and send the puck flying past Ullmark.
The Penguins stole possession of the puck after the restart and were bringing it around the Bruins goal, putting pressure on the defencemen. Carter made the first touch but got marked and the puck made it’s way to Heinen who could just make out Kapanen just waiting to receive.
A short pass to Kapanen and a jolt of the wrist saw the puck pass Ullmark and Penguins were one up against the favourites.
Boston proved that they are a Third Period team here. These 20 minutes belonged to them and it was clear from their attacks that they wanted to show the over 39,000 supporters in attendance that they could win.
The man of the hour was DeBrusk. The forward had previously considered leaving the Bruins last season but when no deal came his way, he got his head down and focused on the job at hand. He now stands to hit 35 goals and 66 points.
His first goal and Bruins’ equaliser would come just before the 8th minute of the period.
Grzelcyk and Marchand were waiting in front of the Penguins blue paint, just looking for the opportune moment. They could both see DeBrusk stalking around the Penguins’ defence but there were too many sticks.
Grzelcyk made a slow pass to Marchand, who proceeded to find the gap for DeBrusk. To help, the forward came out of the dangerzone to scoop up the shot.
Marchand made the connection and DeBrusk who rolled across the goal line, cocked back and swung to make it 1 – 1.
Penguins were wise about the nippy tricks DeBrusk could pull off but they looked tired by the time he was ready to make it 2 – 1.
With just over 2 minutes left on the clock, DeBrusk would seal the victory for Bruins when a backhand shot on goal from Hall would be deflected but land in just the right position for him to push it past DeSmith.
Speaking following the win, DeBrusk would reflect on his initial departure from the team and the success he’s having.
‘It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.
‘I feel blessed, honestly, to be in this position.’
Bruins now sit top of the Eastern Conference with 24 wins in 37 games while the Pittsburgh Penguins sit 8th in the conference with 17 wins in 37 games.
Bruins will face the Los Angeles Kings on Friday and will be looking to pull one back after their 3 – 2 defeat back on December 16th.
Penguins may well have a better time of it when they face the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. They claimed a 4 – 3 victory against the Golden Knights back on December 2nd.