BOSTON – Here are the Talking Points from a very lackluster 4-1 Boston Bruins defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.
GOLD STAR: It was actually difficult to discern which Penguins player deserved individual recognition on a night when they played well from top-to-bottom, but Jason Zucker turns out to be the guy for scoring the backbreaker in the third period. Zucker came flying in to finish off an Evan Rodrigues pass after a weak David Pastrnak turnover in the neutral zone and really things out of reach for the Black and Gold. That was after Zucker very nearly had a chance to score at the end of the first period on a breakaway, but instead winged his backhander over the crossbar on the shot attempt. Zucker finished with a goal and a plus-1 rating in 14:36 of ice time and two shots on net, three hits and a pair of blocked shots in a pretty good performance up and down the scoresheet.
BLACK EYE: It was pretty close to rock-bottom for David Pastrnak on Thursday night as he once again was kept off the score sheet and now has just one point in his last five games. He was barely noticeable for most of the game with just a single shot on net and two shot attempts overall as Bruce Cassidy toggled him between the first and second line to get him going. Worst of all, though, was the only impactful play he made was a third period turnover in the neutral zone when he tried to throw a self-pass off the boards with three Pittsburgh defenders around him. The puck was quickly intercepted and turned into a Jason Zucker goal in transition that gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead and officially iced the Bruins for the rest of the evening. Pastrnak is struggling right now and a return to basics might be the best solution.
TURNING POINT: Clearly the game was ultimately lost on the third period play where David Pastrnak coughed it up along the boards leading to Pittsburgh’s first goal after the Bruins had finally put one up on the board. But the Bruins really set the tone for the entire game when they dropped a stink-bomb in the first period while managing just two shots on net in the first 20 minutes. Worse still, both of those shots on net came from defensemen as the entire Boston Bruins forward group was shut down offensively to start the game. That’s a pattern that seems to be playing out for the Bruins lately, but they had been able to get away with it while mounting third period comebacks against teams like the Sabres and Devils. That kind of things isn’t going to fly with the Penguins, and they showed that on Thursday night.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Tanev clearly wasn’t happy with Trent Frederic after a tangle between the two at the end of the second period and he went on an epic rant against the Boston Bruins rookie headed into the second intermission. Credit to the Pens Report for some expert lip-reading here as they managed to piece together the streak of F-bombs that the gritty Penguins forward was throwing at Frederic as the players began leaving the ice. As far as chirping and trash-talking on the bench goes, Tanev has got some skills. We just wish we could hear what Frederic was saying back to him.
OK I think I’ve got this transcript down:
“You f*cking loser. You think you’re the f*cking sheriff? You played f*cking 10 games. You played 10 games, buddy. Who are you? Go back to the minors you f*cking joke.” https://t.co/Tw0WS7GhBQ
— PENS REPORT (@pensreport) April 2, 2021
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 – the number of shots on net for Craig Smith in the loss, which is a rarity for a player that usually shoots a ton in every game. In fact, in 32 games this season tonight was the first time all year he was held without a shot on net.=
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I’m not frustrated. I’m disappointed those guys don’t recognize the value of the puck.” –Bruce Cassidy, on some of his top players making key mistakes with the puck and the game on the line.