Bruins Wrap: Boston’s Comeback Falls Short In 5-3 Loss To Penguins

The Boston Bruins didn’t come out on top Friday, but it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of guts.
After facing two separate two-goal deficits to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins rallied to tie the score just over the midway point of the third period. Boston’s win streak would be halted at four, however, as Pittsburgh stayed the course and secured a 5-3 win.
The B’s received two goals from unlikely sources, but Casey DeSmith’s career-high 48 saves guided the Pens to a hard-fought win.
With the loss, the Bruins fall to 17-11-4, while the Penguins improve to 14-11-6.
Here’s how it all went down:
The Bruins didn’t play overly poorly in the opening frame, but they left a bit to be desired.
Boston’s woes started fairly early on when Brandon Carlo was tabbed for a holding penalty just over two minutes into the game. Luckily for the visitors, they kept the Penguins off the scoreboard while on the man advantage.
Pittsburgh ultimately drew first blood, though, as Matt Cullen slipped a slick backhanded pass to Derek Grant, who gave his team a 1-0 lead with 2:12 remaining in the first.

Set up game is REAL good. pic.twitter.com/KIhqk7LWyo
— NHL (@NHL) December 15, 2018

It very easily could have been the Bruins to crack the scoreboard first, but a stellar glove save by DeSmith left Brad Marchand shaking his head.

DeNied. pic.twitter.com/9OhZ4QrGWk
— NHL (@NHL) December 15, 2018

It didn’t take the Penguins very long to double their lead.
Less than two minutes into the second period, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin executed a perfect give-and-go, capped off by the former Bruin netting his 13th goal of the season.

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Fun fact: Phil Kessel now has a seven-game point streak against the Bruins (5G-4A). pic.twitter.com/PokZaQ1GeU
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 15, 2018

But Boston had an answer shortly thereafter. With just over eight minutes remaining in the second, Chris Wagner’s attempted wraparound kicked out to Brandon Carlo, who blasted a one-timer past Smith for his first goal in 116 games.
The Bruins appeared to be on the verge of tying things up on the power play following a Jake Guentzel tripping penalty with just over two minutes remaining in the frame. But after applying some pressure in Pittsburgh’s zone, Charlie McAvoy’s failed attempt to dump the puck resulted in a two-on-one with Riley Sheahan and Zach Aston-Reese against Torey Krug. The Northeastern product zipped a wrister past Halak to swell the Penguins’ lead back to two.

Zach Aston-Reese gave everyone (well, at least Penguins fans) a reason to smile in the final minute of the 2nd period. pic.twitter.com/7L41nXIyHA
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 15, 2018

Right when it seemed like the Penguins were going to run away with it, the Bruins made things interesting.
Just over seven minutes into the final frame, an unguarded Wagner received a tape-to-tape pass from McAvoy in the slot, and the first-year Bruin did the rest by firing a quick slap shot past DeSmith’s glove side.
The score was brought to a deadlock in a blink of an eye, as David Krejci knotted things up less than a minute after Wagner’s tally. After Pastrnak rung the post with a backhanded shot, Boston’s top-line center cleaned things up with his fifth goal of the season.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, the Penguins didn’t succumb to their rally. Less than three minutes after Krejci evened the score, Kris Letang’s wrist shot from the point caught Guentzel’s stick en route to the back of Boston’s net.

Well, that escalated quickly.
Pens points (thus far) →Aston-Reese 1G-1AGrant 1GKessel 1GGuentzel 1GCullen 1AWilson 1AMalkin 1ASheahan 1ADumoulin 1ALetang 1ACrosby 1A pic.twitter.com/wd6FK0WS2y
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 15, 2018

Boston made a valiant effort down the stretch, but DeSmith stood tall to after Krejci’s goal. Aston-Reese delivered the dagger via an empty-net goal with six seconds remaining.
The Bruins return home Sunday night for a date with the Buffalo Sabres. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 5 p.m. ET.