|BOSTON — After letting a pair of two-goal leads slip away in the second period, the Boston Bruins got the break they needed early in the third and put an end to the rallies.
David Pastrnak scored on a breakaway 5:06 into the third period, snapping a 3-all tie and giving Boston the lead for good in a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
“Maybe we were a little sleepy, but we get a good break,” Pastrnak said. “When you’re playing a good way you get the lucky bounces and today went our way. I think we deserved it.”
Pastrnak got the puck in-stride when Riley Nash threaded a pass to him at center ice, then beat Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray on his glove side for the only goal of the third period.
That was all the margin Anton Khudobin needed as he stopped all eight shots he faced in the third and extended Boston’s winning streak to four straight. Khudobin, who’s been in net for all four, finished with 17 saves, including one with seven seconds left with the Penguins pushing hard for overtime.
“We’ve been consistently inconsistent for stretches of game. That just happened to be in the second period tonight,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. “I thought our response was good in the third period. We didn’t give up much and obviously created enough to score a goal and get the win.”
Matt Grzelcyk scored his first career goal and David Krejci had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who are on their longest winning streak this season.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh, which rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to tie it with three goals in the second period. Matt Murray finished with 30 saves for the Penguins, who lost their third straight.
“I think everybody could be better,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “We need to be better if we’re going to get the results. We need to be more consistent. We can’t show up after the first 20 minutes of the game and expect to win games consistently.”
After being outshot 14-4 in the first period, Pittsburgh pulled within 2-1 just 1:02 into the second on a one-timer by Jake Guentzel with assists by Crosby and Kris Letang.
Grzelcyk put Boston back up 3-1 at 10:31 of the second when Krejci misfired on a slap shot from the blue line and the puck slowly found Grzelcyk for a wrist shot that hit Matt Murray’s glove and continued into the net. Grzelcyk is the seventh Boston player to score his first career goal this season.
Phil Kessel pulled the Penguins within 3-2 with 14:07 into the second, the Crosby tied it with 2:16 left in the period on a goal that withstood two video reviews. Crosby tapped the puck in off Khudobin after he deflected a shot straight up and the puck landed on his chest. The play was under review for several minutes before the referees called it a goal. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy felt Crosby interfered with Khudobin and challenged, but after a much shorter review the goal was still good.
Pittsburgh outshot Boston 8-5 in the third, but Khodobin didn’t let anything else past him.
“It was great that we were able to battle back, but we can’t put ourselves in that spot,” Crosby said.
Guentzel scored 1:02 into the second on a one-timer off passes from Letang and Crosby.
Krejci scored 6:13 into the game and Sean Kuraly added a goal 10:51 in to put Boston up 2-0.
The Penguins hadn’t lost three straight since Jan. 11-14 last season. … Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin was out of the lineup with an upper-body injury he sustained Wednesday in a game at Vancouver. … Crosby played in his 806th game for the Penguins, tying him with Jaromir Jagr for second most in team history. … C Sidney Crosby played in his 806th game with the Penguins, tying Jaromir Jagr for second place on the team’s all-time list, while RW Patric Hornqvist played in his 600th NHL game. … Boston D Torey Krug returned after missing three games with an upper body injury. … The Bruins were still without LW Brad Marchand (upper body) and RW Anders Bjork (undisclosed), both on IR and out for the fifth straight game.
Penguins: Host Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Bruins: Host Edmonton on Sunday.