Bruins beat Penguins in clash of East contenders

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An 82-game season begs for a lot of contests that are called “measuring stick games,” but it seemed excusable to use the term for tonight’s match between the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sure, the Pens aren’t 100 percent, but both teams have been hot lately. It just turns out that the defending champions are even hotter, as they dismissed Pittsburgh by a score of 3-1.

It’s pretty tough to exaggerate Boston’s impressive 15-game record of 14-0-1, too. (That marks the best run they’ve had since they put together 17 consecutive games without a loss in 1983, according to The Associated Press.)

They’ve been winning in much of the same way that they did in the 2011 playoffs. The Bruins managed to blow some teams out, but tends to thrive in their natural habitat: skin-tight games.

Tim Thomas was the star on Monday night, as he stopped 44 out of 45 shots. Matt Cooke (one goal) may remain a thorn in Boston’s sides, but they’re likely pleased that he was the only guy who could do any damage tonight. Tyler Seguin, Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot found the twine for the Bruins.

Again, it’s one game and the Penguins weren’t at 100 percent. Still, this exhibits another profound piece of evidence that the defending champions remain the team to beat, even if they aren’t always the sexiest choice.