Boston Bruins

The Bruins had a field day on offense against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at TD Garden. Led by a hat trick from David Krejci, the B’s scored five times in the first period en route to a dominant 8-4 win in Boston.

For much of the night, the Bruins’ aggressive forechecking took advantage of the Penguins’ shaky team defense in their own end. And for the most part, Pitt’s backup goaltenders couldn’t bail them out like the injured Matt Murray has in the past.

The game got off to an unfavorable start for Boston when Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta beat Tuukka Rask glove-side just 35 seconds in to put the Pens up 1-0. But it was almost all Bruins from there, as they finished the first period with a 5-3 lead and never looked back.

Bruins-Penguins Highlights

David Krejci scored the first of his three goals just 1:10 after Maata’s score when he tipped a centering pass from Rick Nash past Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith.

Then just 1:08 after that, David Pastrnak scored his 23rd goal of the season off a wrister that took a tricky bounce and floated over DeSmith’s shoulder before trickling in.

Later in the first, Rick Nash buried his second goal as a Bruin on a power play. Torey Krug slipped a pass to the front of the net, where Nash tapped it in for his 20th goal of the season overall.

Minutes after the Penguins’ Phil Kessel made it 3-2, David Backes took advantage of a turnover and fired the puck far-side over the shoulder of replacement goalie Tristan Jarry to make it 4-2 Bruins. Newcomer Brian Gionta forced the turnover and fired the puck down low to get the play started.

Krug made it 5-2 when he slapped a point shot off his back foot that somehow found its way through Jarry.

David Krejci scored his second goal of the night when he tapped home a slick pass from the point by another Bruins newcomer, defenseman Nick Holden. Rookie Jake DeBrusk made the play possible when he beat the Penguins’ Carter Rowney to a loose puck and made the pass to Holden.

Krejci completed the hat trick on another power play goal. Charlie McAvoy fed the puck down low looking for a redirect to Gionta, who tipped it 90 degrees to an open Krejci. He roofed it over the sprawled Jarry to put the Bruins up 7-3.

And just 3:09 later, David Pastrnak made it 8-3 when he scored in almost the exact same fashion as Krejci’s second goal. This time the pass came cross-ice from Zdeno Chara, giving “Pasta” a practically wide-open net.

The Bruins have now won two straight after losing two in a row. They await Claude Julien and the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Leftover Notes

— It’s official: Charlie McAvoy looks like a hockey player.

— If not for an ugly first period for Tuukka Rask, this would have been a gargantuan blowout for the Bruins. Not to nitpick in what was a dominant offensive effort for the B’s, but the first three goals allowed by Rask were less than good. He had a mostly clean look at Maatta on the first score and at Riley Sheahan on his late-first-period goal, and Kessel’s short-side squeaker was simply inexcusable. But Rask battled from there and made some good saves along the way. He certainly didn’t need to be great tonight, anyway.

— The Rick Nash era is off to a fine start here in Boston. David Krejci is up to 4 points in 3 games, and Nash has two goals and an assist. DeBrusk also looks re-energized with three assists and some relentless forechecking in his last three games.

— Did Sidney Crosby play tonight? Indeed he did – 20:49 of ice time, in fact. Outstanding job by Chara and the Bruins defense to limit Crosby’s chances and eliminate him from the score sheet. But for the most part, the Bruins’ best defense tonight was their offense and forechecking in the Penguins’ zone.

OLD TIME HOCKEY WARNING!!!

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.