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Bruins 3, Penguins 2

Dave Molinari 7 years ago

Some news and notes, nuggets and quotes from the Penguins’ 3-2 loss to Boston at TD Garden Saturday night:

*** The crushing way in which the Penguins lost this game – they gave up goals to David Krejci and Zdeno Chara of the Bruins in the final 89 seconds of regulation – was completely overshadowed by a series of nasty incidents, including one that landed Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik in Massachusetts General Hospital for a battery of tests.

*** Orpik, who had knocked Boston winger Loui Eriksson out of the game with a crushing hit on the first shift, was knocked unconscious at 11:06 of the opening period, when Boston enforcer Shawn Thornton knocked him to the ice, then punched him in the head several times while he was down. Coach Dan Bylsma said Orpik was knocked out, and he was removed from the TD Garden ice surface on a stretcher before going to Mass General. Orpik later received clearance to fly back to Pittsburgh with the team. Although the full extent of his injuries isn’t known, Bylsma said it’s assumed that Orpik has at least a concussion. There is no timetable for him to resume playing.

*** Thornton’s reaction to what he did: “I feel awful. It wasn’t my intention for that outcome. I know (Orpik). I’ve gotten to know him over the last seven years here. I skate with him in the summer, through the lockout. I’ve texted him a couple of times. I feel awful. It definitely was not what I wanted to see or anybody wanted to see."

*** It is reasonable to assume that Thornton will be suspended for the attack, with his penalty possibly approaching double-figures. He does not have a history of such offenses, but the viciousness of the assault will be difficult for him to justify. He is scheduled to have an in-person hearing with Brendan Shanahan, who handles supplemental discipline for the league. That means he is eligible to be suspended for six or more games, although no such punishment is mandatory.

*** Just seconds before Thornton attacked Orpik, Penguins winger James Neal had struck Bruins winger Brad Marchand in the head with his knee or leg after Marchand had been taken off his feet – apparently by a Sidney Crosby trip – in the Boston end. Neal was assessed a two-minute minor for kneeing, although the incident will be investigated by the league office and could result in a fine or suspension. Neal will have a phone hearing with Shanahan Monday.

*** Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Neal “didn't really make an attempt to get out of the way” before making contact with Marchand, and Neal conceded that he might have been able to do more to avoid striking him. “He’s already going down and I guess I need to try to avoid him, but I have to look at it (on replay) again,” Neal said. “I need to be more careful and I guess get my knee out of the way, but I’m not trying to hit him in the head or injure him or anything like that.”

*** Crosby, on the reaction to the hit on Orpik: “It’s hard to think about hockey when you see someone get hurt like that, especially a teammate and a friend. … The whole building was pretty quiet. I think they realized it was pretty vicious.”

*** This was the sixth game in a row between the Penguins and Bruins that was decided by one goal.

*** Penguins center Brandon Sutter, on allowing two unanswered goals in the final minute and a half of the third period: “We have to find a way to close that out. That’s just one of those games on the road against a good team that you have to win when you’re up by a goal late like that. You have to find a way to close it out.”

*** Before tonight, the Penguins had won 11 consecutive games when getting the first goal.

*** Penguins right winger Pascal Dupuis, who had been questionable for the game because of an unspecified injury sustained 48 hours earlier against San Jose, played, his 230th consecutive appearance. That’s the seventh-longest streak in franchise history. Dupuis logged 18 minutes 34 seconds of playing time.

*** The Penguins have scored at least one power-play goal in six consecutive games.

*** Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo and forward Harry Zolnierczyk were the Penguins’ healthy scratches.