The Boston Bruins momentum coming off a 5-4 shootout win versus the New Jersey Devils came to a halt on Thursday night as they were dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 at TD Garden.
Pittsburgh came out flying early on in the first period generating a bunch of zone time and offensive zone chances. Dan Vladar kept the Bruins in the game holding the Penguins scoreless through 20 minutes.
It was not until the second period where the Penguins opened the flood gates. Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese tallied the Penguins first goal at 2:01 of the second period. Reese crashed the net hard as the Bruins were lost in coverage and found himself with a tap in goal. Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson tallied a beautiful end to end goal. Matheson took the puck on the right board and turned on the jets skating around Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon and tucking the puck underneath Vlader’s pad to give the Pens a 2-0 lead.
Bruins offense struggled mightily in this one as they failed to hit the net on numerous occasions and the scoring chances were minimal. The Bruins were held to just two shots in the first period. The Bruins however got life from the top line as Brad Marchand buried one late in the third period cutting Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-1.
Then in the late stages of the game, Bruins forward David Pastrnak tried a self pass in the neutral zone which was stolen by Pittsburgh. Penguins had a 2 on 1 which was capped off by Penguins forward Jason Zucker sucking all possible momentum out of the Bruins sails. The Pens would take a 3-1 advantage and tac on an empty net goal to make the final score 4-1.
Mike Matheson: The Penguins defenseman shined bright in this one earning the first star of the game. He embraced his inner Bobby Orr and scored a masterful goal to put the Penguins in the driver seat. On the other side of the puck Matheson got in shooting lanes and disrupted passes all night long.
Frederick Gaudreau: This was the first time this season that Frederick Gaudreau played against the Bruins and he performed very well. Gaudreau, notched an assist on the first goal of the game for the Penguins. He was physical and generated a lot of zone time by winning one on one puck battles and keeping plays alive.
Charlie McAvoy: The minutes eater himself played a great game tonight continuing his strong play. Like Grzelcyk, McAvoy showed off his fluid skating ability and offensive skillset creating numerous scoring chances and getting in shooting lanes and laying out this big hit.
Charlie McAvoy with a big hit on Zach Aston-Reese.
BU on Northeastern violence. pic.twitter.com/em3qiWap5s
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 2, 2021
With the Bruins gaining life after the Marchand goal cutting the lead to 2-1 all the momentum seemed to be in their favor.
But that came to an abrupt halt after Bruins forward David Pastrnak turned the puck over in the neutral zone leading to a Penguins 2 on 1, resulting in a Jason Zucker goal and a 3-1 Penguins lead.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Penguins now extend their winning streak to 5 games and have 12 wins in their last 15 games played. This win against Boston snapped a ten game losing streak at the Garden for the Penguins.
ICE TO SEE YOU
Anders Bjork was another burst of energy for the Bruins on Thursday night. Using his blazing straight away speed on the forecheck, wreaking havoc for Pittsburgh’s Defenseman. Bjork did not contribute on the scoresheet but he was noticeable on the ice, which is something you can’t say for most of the Bruins players.
HOW TWEET IT IS
This tweet by BSJ writer Conor Ryan sums up most Bruins fans in a nutshell. Not much to cheer about on Thursday night. The Penguins sustained pressure for most of the game and the Bruins did not look ready to play.
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 1, 2021
THAT’S WHAT HE SAID
Bruce Cassidy sounded like a parent postgame after the Bruins loss. Cassidy emphasized his dismay towards his veteran group of players, stating that he is not frustrated but disappointed in how they have been performing as of late.
“One of the reasons why are offensive number are down, we aren’t clean. We don’t take care of the puck well enough” Cassidy stated.
Cassidy went on to discuss the play of the top guys stating that “I am not frustrated with those guys, I am disappointed that they don’t recognize the value of the puck and where we are at in the game”