David Pastrnak netted two goals in the first period, including one on the power play, to give the Bruins a solid 2-0 lead.
The B’s did the little things right in those 20 minutes, as the defense worked the boards to create rushes which paid off on the second line’s 3-on-1 breakout for the two-goal lead.
But the next 40 minutes favored the Penguins.
Despite the fact that the Bruins outshot the Pens 18-8 in the second period – and 45-25 overall- goaltending swayed against the Bruins along with some defensive miscues and poor coverage.
“Goaltending can pick you up and it can deflate you,” Bruce Cassidy said. “I think we saw both sides.”
Jeremy Swayman had a less than ideal first start back, giving up three goals on eight shots in the middle frame, while Tristan Jarry on the other end made 43 stops and was a huge difference maker for the Pens.
A pair of goals 28 seconds apart from Danton Heinen tied the game early in the second period and shifted momentum to Pittsburgh. 2-2 game.
Then Sidney Crosby scored the go-ahead on the power play to make it 3-2.
The Bruins pressed in the final minutes of the second and the opening of the third with better offensive-zone coverage and had substantial scoring chances. But there were also a number of shots that lacked finish with rebound opportunities wasted (and a few wide-open nets).
To deliver another blow, Patrice Bergeron exited the game on a possible concussion with 12 minutes remaining after a collision with Crosby that sent him into the boards.
With time expiring and Swayman pulled, Rust potted an empty-netter to cushion the Penguins’ lead at 4-2.
Brad Marchand ended the game with a misconduct as he punched Jarry in the head - to add salt to the Bruins’ wound.
Final: 4-2 Penguins.
The Bruins return to action on Thursday February 10 against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 pm.
Here’s a look at the goals by period:
The Bruins opened the scoring at 2:01 of the first period on the power play.
Taylor Hall found Pastrnak inside the left-wing circle for a one-timer past Jarry. 1-0 Bruins.
The Bruins extended their lead at 15:34 of the first period on Pastrnak’s second goal of the night.
On a 3-on-1, Pastrnak found the loose puck from Hall’s shot. From the goal line, Pastrnak knocked the puck down and past Jarry’s glove. 2-0 Bruins.
The Penguins got on the board at 4:18 of the second period.
Brock McGinn hit Heinen with a pass as he was cutting across the front of the net where he shifted to put a backhander low past Swayman’s left skate. 2-1 game.
DANTON HEINEN IS BACK, BABY! pic.twitter.com/JOznXOEN81— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 9, 2022
The Penguins tied the game moments later at 4:46 of the second period on Heinen’s second goal.
John Marino slid the puck over to Heinen inside the right-wing circle where he threw a wrist shot on net that bounced over Swayman’s right shoulder. 2-2 game.
The Penguins took the lead at 12:53 of the second period with a power-play goal.
Rust wrapped behind the net to hit the tape of Crosby low outside the left-wing circle for a one-timer over Swayman’s blocker. 3-2 Penguins.
Fun fact: No active player in the NHL has more points against Boston than Sidney Crosby. pic.twitter.com/WLZC7QK4Mc— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 9, 2022
The Penguins added an empty-net goal at 18:31 of the third period.
Jake Guentzel stole the puck at the blueline to send a forwarding pass to Rust for the empty-netter. Final score: 4-2 Penguins.