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Petteri Nokelainen and Vladimir Sobotka scored less than two minutes apart during the first period and the Boston Bruins frustrated Pittsburgh with a smothering defense, then held on for a 2-1 victory despite allowing Evgeni Malkin's third-period goal Wednesday night.
The Bruins were so strong defensively most of the game, goalie Tim Thomas saw only a single shot during one 15-minute stretch of the second period and faced only 11 during the first two periods. Malkin scored his 32nd goal of the season with about seven minutes remaining, his fourth goal in three games.
Malkin, moved to center on the Penguins' top line after star Sidney Crosby sprained an ankle nearly a month ago, piled up 15 points during a string of five consecutive multipoint games that moved him within three points of NHL scoring leader Alex Ovechkin of Washington. Pittsburgh had won its last three and four of five.
But with 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara on the ice nearly every time Malkin took a shift, Malkin was limited to a single shot until finally scoring on a power play created by Dennis Wideman's second penalty of the third period. All but one of Malkin's five shots came in the third period.
The Penguins never got anything else going against the Bruins, who were coming off a 3-2 loss at home to Carolina on Tuesday and had dropped four of five. Malkin has four goals in three games this season against Boston.
This win may have come at a price for Boston as defenseman Aaron Ward was taken to a hospital with a neck injury after being hurt early in the second period. Ward was not bleeding when he left the ice, but the team was not immediately certain of the extent of his injury.
Ward was skating in to hit Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar near the end boards when Gonchar accidentally got either his forearm or his stick up and struck Ward in the neck. There was no penalty on the play.
Ward's injury came only four days after Florida right wing Richard Zednik's neck was accidentally sliced by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate blade, cutting his carotid artery and stopping close to his jugular vein. Zednik lost a large quantity of blood, but is recovering quickly and was upgraded to good condition in a Buffalo hospital Wednesday.
Some sloppy Penguins defensive play allowed Boston to take its 2-0 lead.
Nokelainen made it 1-0 with 12:58 gone in the first, putting in a rebound after Gonchar gave the puck up in his own end and Milan Lucic threw it toward the net.
Sobotka got his first of the season 1:45 later. Penguins goalie Ty Conklin — who made 31 saves — was attempting to clear the puck, but Shawn Thornton's hard check on defenseman Georges Laraque allowed Boston to regain possession and Sobotka scored on a soft shot from in front.
Sobotka's first goal came a night after Thornton scored his first two goals of the season in a 27-second span against Carolina.
This program aired on February 14, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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