Bruins

BSJ Game Report: Penguins 4, Bruins 1 – Stagnant offense, leaky defense lead to brutal result against Pittsburgh

(Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 4-1 loss to the Penguins in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

Box Score

HEADLINES

Well, what was worse in this one?

Another anemic offensive effort from all guys not named Bergeron and Marchand?

Or, in what has been a concerning trend for the last week or so, another brutal defensive showing from Boston's crop of young blueliners — which put Dan Vladar on the ropes from most of the evening?

Whichever option you pick, it made for an all-around miserable night at TD Garden, as Boston was bested down both ends of the ice in what was ultimately a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Even though neither club managed to get on the scoresheet in the opening 20 minutes of play, the Penguins spent most of that first period cycling in Boston's zone, with the B's only managed to land two shots on goal against netminder Casey DeSmith.

That lopsided time spent defending ultimately caught up to the B's, as the Penguins eventually beat Vladar on the rush at 2:01 in the second, with Zach Aston-Reese knocking one home to put the visitors on the board. A much more egregious sequence allowed the Penguins to pad their lead for good — with feared offensive dynamo Mike Matheson (a stay-at-home blueliner with 35 career goals) doing his best Orr impression as he blew past Jeremy Lauzon and tucked one past Vladar to make it a 2-0 game at 13:12 in the second.

Brad Marchand gave the Bruins life with his 14th goal of the season at 11:14 in the third period, but any potential momentum was snuffed out by a brutal turnover by David Pastrnak — with a careless miscue in the neutral zone leading to a Jason Zucker tally less than two minutes after Marchand's goal, sealing Boston's fate. Jake Guentzel added an empty-net goal at 17:51 to close out the win for the Penguins, who last won a game at TD Garden way back on Nov. 24, 2014.

Bruins lose Brandon Carlo to injury

To add injury to Thursday's insulting showing, an already slumping D corps lost one of its few stout bodies in the top-four, as Brandon Carlo did not return to the game after the opening period of play due to an upper-body injury.

Postgame, Bruce Cassidy didn't have much of an update on the dependable blueliner. "Left, didn't come back," Cassidy said. "That's never a good sign."

Even if Boston's youngsters on defense weren't severely laboring, losing Carlo for any additional time would still obviously be a severe blow to this defense, given Carlo's knack of snuffing out scoring plays near the netfront and anchoring the penalty kill. Carlo had missed 10 games in a row last month after getting severely concussed by Washington's Tom Wilson, with Thursday standing as just his second game back on the ice after an extended layoff.

TWO UP