BOSTON — Boston goaltender Linus Ullmark raised his arms in jubilation when the final buzzer sounded and the party was complete for the sellout crowd at Fenway Park.
Jake DeBrusk scored his second goal of the third period with just over two minutes remaining and the NHL-leading Bruins rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park.
“It’s just pure joy and happiness afterwards,” Ullmark said. “It’s something I’ve dreamt about for 14 years, since I saw the first one at home in Sweden. I always dreamt about it. I was always very jealous of the people that have played before me and had the opportunity.”
Ullmark made 26 saves for Boston, which is 8-0-3 in its last 11 games. As the “home” team, the Bruins improved their home record to 19-0-3 this season.
“It’s tough to lose a guy that early in the game,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, who didn’t have an update but said the goalie was being evaluated for a lower-body injury.
“It was obviously a real competitive game, it was a pretty even game, there was a fine line between winning and losing and we ended up on the wrong side of it tonight,” Sullivan said.
Playing on an unseasonably warm day with temperatures in the upper 40s (4 Celsius) early in the game, the Bruins won for the fourth time in the NHL’s 14th annual showcase event that was held at the home of the MLB’s Boston Red Sox in front of a sellout crowd 39,243.
Playing with the stadium lights illuminating the ice, DeBrusk swooped in and banged home the rebound of Taylor Hall‘s backhand shot with 2:24 left.
“This is Fenway Park, Winter Classic, and something you dream of doing,” DeBrusk said. “You dream of scoring in the Winter Classic.”
DeBrusk collected a pass from Brad Marchand at the side of the net seconds after a power play expired, spun in front and slipped it behind DeSmith to tie it at the 7:46 mark of the period.
“The last thing I left them with is: ‘You guys have been the best team in the league and the best third-period team and our first 40 minutes have not been what we’ve wanted. Let’s go turn it around,”‘ Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery told his team before the final period.
Kapanen collected a pass in front from Danton Heinen and shoveled it past Ullmark’s glove as he was falling to his knees 8:40 into the second period for the Penguins’ early lead.
In an interesting twist, the Penguins are owned by Fenway Sports Group, which also owns the Red Sox. They were sold to the group that’s headed by principle owner John Henry in December of 2021.
Led by Bruins’ home anthem singer Todd Angilly, the crowd sang “Take me out to the Hockey Game” midway into the third period.
During the second-period intermission, there were performers taking trick shots off Fenway’s fabled 37-foot Green Monster, which was adorned with the logos of the Bruins, Penguins and Winter Classic.
There was a souvenir foul puck in the second when Ullmark made a save and the puck popped into the air, sailing into the first row of seats behind the Penguins’ dugout.
It was the second Classic in Fenway; Boston beat Philadelphia 2-1 in overtime in 2010.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PUCK
Bruins legend and Hall of Famer Bobby Orr participated in the ceremonial puck drop between Penguins’ captain Sydney Crosby and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Orr also took a shot, sliding it to former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who squatted down and made the catch.
On a stage set up just outside the visitors’ bullpen in right field – where Red Sox Hall of Famer David Ortiz sent some of his 541 career homers -The Black Keys played during the first intermission.
During a stoppage in the second, the Boston Pops, wearing Winter Classic hats and scarfs, played Sweet Caroline, a staple in the middle of the eighth inning during Red Sox games. They also played during the second intermission.
NOTES: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang missed the game due to the death of his father in Canada. .. Pittsburgh’s Jarry left with an undisclosed injury late in the opening period after stopping all eight shots. He headed to the dugout en route to the locker room and emergency backup Mike Chiasson got into uniform. . Unlike regular games, when the goaltender leads the team onto the ice, Bergeron was the first one to step out of the dugout when the Bruins made their way from the home dugout. . Pittsburgh played in the first Winter Classic when Crosby scored the winning goal in a shootout with light snow falling against the Sabres in the Buffalo Bills’ home stadium in 2008.
Penguins: At the Vegas Golden Knights.
Bruins: At the Los Angeles Kings.