Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday afternoon.
GOLD STAR: Jake Guentzel was the difference-maker in a defensive battle between the two games. It was the skilled winger that stepped into a contested Sidney Crosby dish at the face-off dot and sizzled a top corner one-timer past Jeremy Swayman with a perfect shot. Guentzel has been the trigger man for Sid the Kid pretty much all year as attested by his 21 goals on the season, and once again he provided the game-winner for the Penguins. They were the only line getting consistent traction against the Bruins as things started to turn in the second period when Crosby, Guentzel and Bryan Rust began generating offensive chances. Guentzel finished with two shots on net, two hits and a giveaway along with a plus-1 rating in 18:39 of ice time. But it was the perfect sniper shot one-timer that banked the two points for Pittsburgh.
BLACK EYE: The score sheet said that Jake DeBrusk had three shot attempts, a hit and a takeaway in his 13 plus minutes of ice time, but it was difficult to notice him on the ice at all during the game. Charlie Coyle had another very limited showing as well, and there were long portions of the game where Curtis Lazar bumped him to wing while getting some spins at third line center. And Nick Ritchie was dropped to the fourth line where his icing set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal. The Boston Bruins third line is so bad that Bruce Cassidy began taking apart what’s been a solid fourth line trying to look for some answers to spark them up. Instead, they provided zero offensive push and ultimately the bottom-6 was responsible for the goal allowed to the Penguins. The Bruins need to figure things out with the third line and find some ways to perk up Coyle, DeBrusk and Ritchie.
TURNING POINT: The Boston Bruins and Penguins battled to a scoreless tie through the first 40 minutes, so it was going to come down to one play in the third period that would be the difference-maker in the game. And Pittsburgh’s best players made it happen as they took advantage of the Bruins fourth line out on the ice after a Nick Ritchie icing, and Crosby fed Guentzel for the perfect one-timer that managed to beat Jeremy Swayman. It took that exceptionally executed Penguins play in a mismatch caused by a Bruins error to ultimately win a heavy, hard-fought game between two hockey teams trying to will themselves to victory.
Further honorable mention goes to the young Penguins fan that came to PPG Paints Arena with this sign prior to puck drop:
Kids make the darndest signs pic.twitter.com/iURbp30ACB
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) April 25, 2021
HONORABLE MENTION: Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman was again outstanding for the Bruins, and it took a perfect play from Crosby to Guentzel followed by a perfect shot to beat the 22-year-old puck-stopper. It was Swayman’s second loss in seven games with the Bruins this season, but he has yet to give up a single “bad” goal in any of those seven games while making 28 saves in this loss. And Swayman stood tall in the second period while the Bruins were in a stretch getting outshot by an 11-4 margin while getting very little offensive push at the other end. It remains to be seen how the Bruins goaltending rotation is going to be deployed moving forward, but I’d be very surprised if Swayman wasn’t a prominent factor the rest of the way out given the way that he’s played this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 27 – the number of games it’s been since Charlie Coyle has scored a goal as the Bruins continue to try to find some answers on their third line.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “You saw I think the effects of a long week for both teams. I don’t think the legs were truly there for either team. They kept us to the outside. We had some guys that were certainly willing to go [inside] and some that are refusing to work to the inside and attack the net with the puck. As a result, there were limited chances.” –Bruce Cassidy, on a Sunday matchup that didn’t feature a ton of offense or scoring from a couple of hockey teams run down by a heavy schedule this month.