PITTSBURGH -- The Boston Bruins couldn’t have asked for a more complete game as they dominated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday night at Consol Energy Center.
The Bruins lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Friday at TD Garden. Boston has outscored the Penguins 9-1 in the first two games.
The Bruins controlled every aspect of the game and received their offense from Brad Marchand (two goals), Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.
The Bruins were hoping for a fast and strong start, and they accomplished that. With Boston scoring three goals on its first 12 shots of the game, the Penguins were forced to make a goalie change as Marc-Andre Fleury replaced Tomas Vokoun at 16:31 of the first period.
In addition to their explosive offense, the Bruins were blocking shots (15) and closing off passing and shooting lanes the entire night. Boston played with discipline and gave the Penguins only two power plays, which the Bruins killed off easily.
The Bruins struck early and often.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby failed to keep the puck in the offensive zone as it bounced over his stick at the blue line. Marchand collected the loose puck and went in on a breakaway, beating Vokoun to the top left corner 28 seconds into the game for a 1-0 lead.
Boston kept the pressure on and added to its lead.
As the Bruins’ first power play of the game concluded, Boston defenseman Torey Krug had control of the puck at the blue line and took a shot. Horton redirected the puck in front, then grabbed the rebound and beat Vokoun to give Boston a 2-0 lead at 14:37 of the first period. It was Horton’s seventh tally of the playoffs.
The Bruins weren’t done.
Krejci finished off an incredible display of tape-to-tape passing between Milan Lucic and Horton to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead at 16:31. With that, the fans began chanting “Fleury, Fleury, Fleury.” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma had seen enough, giving Vokoun the hook and replacing him with Fleury.
The Penguins responded with a goal at 19:26 of the first period when Brandon Sutter beat Rask to cut Pittsburgh’s deficit.
But the Penguins’ jolt didn’t last long as Marchand scored his second goal of the game with a sniper-like shot that beat Fleury with only 8.1 seconds remaining in the opening period to give Boston a 4-1 advantage. Patrice Bergeron assisted on the goal for his 50th career point in the playoffs.
Boston’s four goals were the most the Penguins have allowed in a single period during the playoffs.
Neither team scored in the second period, but the Bruins continued to neutralize Pittsburgh’s speed and playmaking ability, as the Penguins were able to generate only 13 shots in the first two periods.
The Penguins’ attempt to at least win the third period, and maybe create some kind of momentum for Game 3, was foiled only 27 seconds into the period when Bergeron scored to give Boston a 5-1 lead.
Boychuk scored on a slap shot to give the Bruins a 6-1 lead in the waning minutes of regulation.
With the way the Bruins have played in the first two games, and with the next two games on home ice, Boston has a chance to put a stranglehold on the Penguins -- if it hasn’t done so already.