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The NHL’s top Bruins topple the Penguins in the Winter Classic at Fenway



Boston Bruins

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1, to win this year’s Winter Classic in front of 39,243 fans at Fenway Park on Monday.

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Winger Jake DeBrusk scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 2:33 left to break a 1–1 tie.

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“This is an event that is a dream come true and we don’t want to waste it,” said DeBrusk, who now has 16 goals on the season. “You don’t want to be thinking after a game like this that you wish you had done more. Because it’s very rare that you get another chance to do it.”

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With the win, the Bruins moved to 4-1 all-time in NHL outdoor games, while the Penguins fell to 2-4. Boston has the best record in the NHL this season at 29-4-4. The Penguins are now 19-12-6.

Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark made 26 saves for the win.

The Penguins switched goaltenders with 4:30 remaining in the first period, when an injured Tristan Jarry went to the locker room and backup Casey DeSmith took over the net. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Jarry was being evaluated for a lower-body injury, but did not provide further details.

“It was uncharted territory. Just cold jumping into an outdoor game brings a few more challenges than a normal game,” DeSmith said.

The Penguins took the lead with 11:20 remaining in the second period, when winger Danton Heinen fed linemate Kaspari Kapanen for a point-blank shot that beat goalie Linas Ullmark. The goal came shortly after the Bruins killed four minutes of the Penguins’ power play time following minor penalties on forward David Pastrnak and defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

According to Bruins coach Jim Montgomery, it was after the second period that veteran forward Nick Foligno asked to address the team and gave a confident speech. Boston was reminded of their prowess as a third-quarter team, where they now have a goal differential of over 41.

“He got everyone involved and talked about our team throughout the year and what we’ve been able to do,” DeBrusk said.

The Bruins tied the game with 12:14 remaining in the third period. Winger Brad Marchand found DeBrusk in the Penguins’ side of the net and his encircling beat DeSmith just six seconds after a Pittsburgh penalty expired.

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DeBrusk’s game-winning goal came after a great swing of the stick into the net by his linemate Taylor Hall. DeSmith made the save, but DeBrusk knocked the puck down on the rebound.

“He scores some big goals. He has over the years. When he plays with that confidence and he skates, the puck seems to find it sometimes. He made it happen,” Bruins forward Charlie Coyle said.

The Penguins came close to tying the game late in regulation on a shot by Evgeni Malkin, but the puck crossed the line after the final buzzer. Ullmark raised his arms in the air in celebration as the Bruins surrounded him while the Pittsburgh players remained momentarily on the bench until the no-goal was confirmed.

“It was a lot of chaos at the end. But for whatever reason, it seemed like we had it under control,” Ullmark said. “It was pure joy and happiness afterwards. It’s something I dreamed of for 14 years since I watched the first one at home in Sweden. I was always very envious of the people who played in them before, who had that chance. And now we had that chance “.

Pittsburgh was without defenseman Kris Letang, who returned to Montreal to be with his family after his father’s death.

“It was a really competitive hockey game. It was a pretty even game. There’s a fine line between winning and losing and we ended up on the wrong end tonight,” Sullivan said.

By Winter Classic weather standards, Monday was ideal: Cloud cover made ice glare a non-factor and game-time temperatures hovered around 51 degrees Fahrenheit.

This was the second Winter Classic to have been held inside Fenway Park. The Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-1 in overtime, in the 2010 Classic, the third edition of the NHL’s outdoor game and the first to feature a fight.

One major change between the two games: The rink for this year’s edition ran parallel to the Green Monster in left field, with a baseball diamond hockey rink built in the middle. Penguins and Bruins players stood at the “base lines” of that rink for a ceremonial “first puck throw” before the game, as Boston hockey legend Bobby Orr fired a puck at former Sox catcher Boston Reds, Jason Varitek.

Coyle, a Massachusetts native who attended the 2010 game as a Bruins fan, said it was hard not to get sucked into the moment. “You don’t grow up thinking you’re going to play a hockey game at Fenway Park. Playing there was really special and we’re glad we took advantage of the opportunity in front of us,” he said.

As has become an NHL outdoor gaming tradition, both teams arrived at the Classic in flashy outfits. In recognition of the game being played at Fenway, the Penguins donned vintage Pittsburgh Pirates gear while the Bruins donned throwback Boston Red Sox uniforms.

“It gives our team the opportunity to show our caps to all the great players and the great teams that have played in this stadium,” Sullivan said.


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