The Boston Bruins’ last-minute win was overshadowed by Shawn Thornton’s takedown of Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Zdeno Chara scored with 13 seconds left in regulation after David Krejci tied it late, lifting the Bruins to a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday night in a game that saw Orpik taken from the ice on a stretcher.
Midway into the opening period, Thornton was given a match penalty for grabbing Orpik from behind, pulling him to the ice and punching him when he was down. Orpik appeared to be dazed by a punch, but may have also hit his head on the ice.
The Penguins said on their Twitter site that Orpik returned from Massachusetts General Hospital and was to travel with the team back to Pittsburgh, according to Penguins coach Dan Bylsma.
“Obviously I made a mistake,” Thornton said. “I’m aware of it. I’ve been told that they’re having a hearing and it’s hard for me to say much more other than that’s not my intention. I feel awful. I feel sick.”
Thronton, known as the Bruins’ enforcer, knows he went over the line that comes with his role.
“It’s always my job, I guess, to defend my teammates, but I’ve prided myself for a long time to stay within the lines,” he said, speaking very quietly in the dressing room. “It’s hard for me to talk about right now. I can’t say I’m sorry enough. I’m sure I’ll be criticized, but it’s true.”
Reilly Smith also scored for the Bruins, who haven’t lost in regulation at home since late October (10-0-2).
Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for Boston.
Bruins coach Claude Julien said both teams should take some blame for physical play that went over the line at times.
“The only thing I’m going to say is it’s not just one way here,” he said. “There’s a lot of blame to go around. We can all learn from it.”
Chris Kunitz and James Neal scored power-play goals for the Penguins, who had their season-high, five-game winning streak halted.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 18 shots for Pittsburgh.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby felt an early hit by Orpik led to emotions running high.
“Julien said Eriksson left with a concussion and will not travel to Toronto for today’s game.