Bruins

Bruins’ struggles with closing out wins continues to be an alarming — and inexcusable — trend this year

(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The current outlook of the NHL standings likely shouldn’t incite much panic from Bruins fans — at least at a quick glance. 

Now 50 games into the 2019-20 season, the Bruins are still entrenched in first place in the Atlantic Division — a spot they’ve held steady in for a majority of this campaign.

Even with some secondary-scoring issues, the Bruins are still piling on points at a consistent rate. Their 68 points are tied with the St. Louis Blues for second overall among NHL clubs, trailing only the Capitals (71 points).

But Boston’s current standing is far from a lock, especially with a surging Lightning team (12-2-0 in last 14 games) clawing its way out of the cellar of the Atlantic.

With points at a premium down the stretch, perhaps we'll look back at Sunday’s disheartening 4-3 loss to the Penguins as a regular-season bout that held much more weight than just another tuneup in the middle of January.

Entering Sunday’s matinee matchup at PPG Paints Arena, the Bruins had posted an impressive record of 200-1-6 when leading by at least three goals since the start of the 2010-11 season.

That lone loss was way back on April 4, 2011 against the Rangers — a game in which a 3-0 Bruins lead evaporated en route to a 5-3 victory for the Blueshirts.

But on Sunday, another 3-0 cushion for the Bruins in the opening period of play wasn’t enough to secure at least one point in the standings.

For just the second time in the past decade, Boston left the rink empty-handed despite building itself a convincing lead — as Pittsburgh tallied four unanswered goals over the final 43 minutes of play to stun the B’s.

Fair to say, it’s the low point in what has primarily been another successful season for Bruce Cassidy’s crew. 

But much to the Bruins’ chagrin, this loss has plenty of company in 2019-20.