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Sport Bruins squander 3-0 first-period lead, fall to Penguins

07:55  20 january  2020
07:55  20 january  2020 Source:   bostonglobe.com

Bruins coach Cassidy has some harsh words for his defense

  Bruins coach Cassidy has some harsh words for his defense Charlie McAvoy and John Moore seemed to be the focus of his comments on Sunday afternoon.After scoring three first period goals, the Bruins allowed the Penguins to climb back into the game and eventually tie it on a Jack Johnson shorthanded goal early in the third period. That set the stage for Bryan Rust to score the game-winner with just over seven minutes remaining.

The Bruins fell to 8- 3 -6 over their last 17 games and are now 12-8- 3 on the road. Like Thursday night in Boston, the first shot of the game went in, but this Less than two minutes later, Bjork popped home the 2- 0 lead with only the third shot of the afternoon, with help from Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk.

The Bruins entered the third period with a lead — albeit a slim, one-goal lead — and stood just 20 minutes away from a much-needed victory. The Bruins dominated for most of the first period . They limited the Flyers offensively, preventing them from getting a single shot off until well into the second

PITTSBURGH — The Bruins on Sunday continued to redefine the term “boot camp,” once again frittering away a three-goal lead and turning certain victory into an insulting, near-inexplicable loss.

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The Bruins had a three-goal lead in two of those three losses, including when they led the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2 before After the Bruins scored on two of their first three shots and Pastrnak made it 3 - 0 with his Penguins forward Dominik Kahun left in the second period before Simon exited in the third.

Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins forgot to “goalie” on Thursday night, scoring eight goals in the first period on 21 shots, not including the one that

Out in front of the Penguins, 3-0, on goals by Patrice Bergeron, Anders Bjork, and David Pastrnak only 15:07 into their made-for-NBC matinee here at PPG Paint Arena, the Bruins ended up on the dark side of a 4-3 decision.

BOX SCORE: PENGUINS 4, BRUINS 3

Bryan Rust completed the indignity when he cashed in a Charlie McAvoy miscue, with help from Evgeni Malkin, with 12:35 gone in the third period.

Rust’s strike, his club-high 21st this season, finalized an unanswered string of four goals, a couple of those strikes delivered off velvety feeds from sublime superstar Sidney Crosby. However, getting beaten by one of the game’s best was little solace to the NHL’s original Black-and-Gold team from Boston, which has become all too familiar with booting away seemingly comfy leads.

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After opening up a three-goal lead in the first period , Boston let it all slip away, surrendering four unanswered in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins David Pastrnak then extended the lead to 3 - 0 on his 37th of the year with 4:53 remaining in the opening frame as the Bruins appeared poised for

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) skates against New York Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith (42) in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday But the B’s gagged up a two-goal third period lead and had to settle for the loser point in a 4- 3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers.

■ It was last Monday that the Bruins moved to a 5-2 lead over the Flyers early in the second period, only to depart the Wells Fargo Center with a 6-5 OT loss — dotted by Brad Marchand’s embarrassing night-ending whiff on the last attempt in the shootout.

■ It was the third time this season the Bruins have booted away a lead of three or more goals and been left with a loss. The mind-bending trio of defeats began Nov. 12 at TD Garden, where a 4-0 lead over Florida in the second period also turned into a shootout loss (5-4). The Sunrisers posted four goals in the third to pull even in that one.

■ As of late Sunday afternoon, the team from Booterville led the league in turning leads of three goals or more into losses, per the forensic accounting of the Elias Sports Bureau. Of the NHL’s other 30 teams, only the Canucks, Devils, and Islanders (two boots each) could compare.

“We saw some poor defending, poor goaltending in Philly,” noted chagrined coach Bruce Cassidy. “Tonight I think it was more of the same, to be honest with you. Not so much on the goalie [Jaroslav Halak] because they were good goals, but . . .”

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Snap Shots: Penguins 4, Bruins 3. by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins . A late first - period goal from Dominik Simon. Pittsburgh scored four unanswered goals to flip a 3 - 0 deficit into a 4-3 lead . The Bruins are now 200-2-6 when leading by three goals since 2010-11.

Patrice Bergeron scores in double overtime to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3 - 1 series lead against the Pittsburgh Penguins on 6/5/13.

Cassidy then began to review the parade of boo-boos that led to the goals by Dominik Simon, then Terry Blueger, then Jack Johnson (1:41 into the third) and finally Rust’s dagger, off a series of events that had McAvoy schooled by Malkin on the backwall.

“You need to make a play . . . you can’t turn the puck over there,” added Cassidy. “There’s too much of that going on — guys that have offensive ability have to start playing to their strength a little bit more on the back end or we have to seriously consider what kind of D corps do we want. We’re supposed to be mobile. We’re supposed to be able to move pucks out, add to our offense . . . and right now, that’s a challenge for us.”

McAvoy appeared to have control of the rock behind the goal line, recovering it after Halak’s sloppy attempt to make a stop back there on a puck rimmed in along right wing from center ice.

Option No. 1 for McAvoy would have been a safe play to partner Zdeno Chara in the direction of Pittsburgh’s right wing corner. When in doubt, get it to Big Z, who, even at age 42, has ways of making hot pucks disappear into a black hole.

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Instead, McAvoy attempted a riskier dish that would have sent the puck to Sean Kuraly out toward the left wing circle. But that was when Malkin took over. The big-shouldered Russian pivot plucked the puck from McAvoy, then tossed it by Kuraly, and in came Rust for the money shot. Textbook forecheck, pickpocket, pass.

PPG was in a thunder. Boot camp complete.

“I was trying to make a reverse play there to Kurl,” said a somber McAvoy. “I don’t know . . . good players in this league, so . . . [Malkin] made a good play. I have to be stronger on the puck. I’ll have to go look at it [on video], get better from it. Obviously, that hurt us.”

The wins have slowed to a trickle for the sons of Butch’s for the last seven weeks. They were a lofty 20-3-5, (.804 ) after a 2-0 win over the Hurricanes on Dec. 3. A win rate of 10 per month. They have won but eight of 22 games (8-7-7) over the last 47 days and now have the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning climbing up their tattered backsides.

The Bolts, 29-15-4 with two games in hand, are but six points from tying the Boots (28-10-12) for the lead in the Atlantic Division. Following Tuesday’s visit by the Golden Knights, the Bruins go on their bye break and won’t get after it again until they face the Jets in Winnipeg on Jan. 31.

Once back in the grind, they’ll have 30 games remaining on their regular-season schedule. If they can hold off the Bolts, it’s all but guaranteed they’ll clinch the Atlantic and face a wild-card team in Round 1. If they can’t, then they get the third-best team in the division, which the last two years has meant going the full seven to eliminate the Leafs.

It has tightened up, considerably, like a stiff tug of leather laces of a steel-toed boot. Upon returning, they’ll need to keep from aiming that toe at themselves.

Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKPD.

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