It all started from the opening faceoff and continued for 60 minutes. It finished with Zdeno Chara scoring with 13 seconds remaining in regulation to give Boston a 3-2 win Saturday night at TD Garden.
Boston trailed 2-1 late in the third period until David Krejci scored to tie it with 1:29 remaining.
Unfortunately, the game was marred by an ugly incident when the Bruins' Shawn Thornton grabbed the Penguins' Brooks Orpik during a stoppage in play, threw him to the ice and punched him twice. Orpik was taken off the ice on a stretcher and brought to Massachusetts General Hospital. The Penguins announced after the second period that Orpik was alert and conscious. Thornton was given a match penalty.
After that encounter, the physical play continued in an intense, back-and-forth game.
Pittsburgh caught a break on its first goal when Chris Kunitz's shot from the bottom of the left faceoff circle ricocheted off Chara and slipped past goaltender Tuukka Rask for a power-play goal to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 6:33 of the first period.
Boston tied it when Reilly Smith's slap shot from the left faceoff circle beat Marc-Andre Fleury at 10:13 of the first period. It was Smith's sixth goal of the season. Pittsburgh responded with another power-play goal when James Neal, who had stepped out of the penalty box only a few seconds earlier, gained control of the puck and beat Rask for a 2-1 lead at 13:13 of the first period.
After a scoreless second period, the Bruins still trailed 2-1 early in the third period when Smith had a wide-open net during a power play, but he shot it high and wide.
With 1:45 remaining in regulation and a faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone, Rask was pulled for the extra attacker. It worked as Krejci scored with 1:29 remaining to tie it at 2-2.
Chara netted the game-winning goal with a wrist shot from the high slot at 19:47.
The Bruins took two of the three regular-season games, and if these teams face off again, it will be during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Injured: The Bruins' Loui Eriksson exited the game only seconds after the opening faceoff after he was on the receiving end of a major check by Orpik. Eriksson had trouble getting to his feet, but made it to the bench before he was taken to the room. There was no penalty on the play. It was announced a few minutes later that he would not return. Eriksson missed five games earlier this season when he was on the receiving end of a late hit by the Buffalo Sabres' John Scott on Oct. 23. Scott was suspended seven games for the incident.
Drop 'em: After a major collision against the boards, the Bruins' Milan Lucic and the Penguins' Deryk Engelland dropped the gloves at 7:19 of the first period. The two exchanged punches in a spirited bout. It was only Lucic's second fighting major of the season.
D pairings: With Adam McQuaid (lower body) and Johnny Boychuk (back) out of the lineup, rookie defenseman Kevan Miller was in the lineup and paired with Torey Krug. The other two pairings to start the game were Zdeno Chara-Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg-Matt Bartkowski.
Up next: The Bruins head out on a four-game road trip, beginning Sunday in Toronto before switching to Western Canada to face the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. It will be the first trip to Vancouver's Rogers Arena for the Bruins since lifting the Stanley Cup there on June 15, 2011.