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Boston Bruins

Apr 1, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettrsson (28) celebrates with teammates after Zach Aston-Reese (12) scored a goal against the Boston Bruins in the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Kathryn Riley-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s Groundhog Day. Again.

Two days after mounting a two-goal, third-period comeback in a 5-4 shootout win over the Devils, the Bruins crash-landed back down to the depths of goal-scoring hell with a 4-1 loss to the Penguins.

“We’ve had trouble executing for a while now,” a frustrated Bruce Cassidy said after the loss. “It’s one of the reasons our offensive numbers are down. We’re not clean. We don’t take care of the puck well enough.”

Beginning their night with a two-shot opening period, the Bruins failed to kick off their second period with a bang, and were instead put in a hole by way of a Zach Aston-Reese strike just 2:01 into the frame.

And things truly bottomed out for the Bruins in this contest when Penguins defenseman Michael Matheson turned on the jets and absolutely torched the Bruins’ Jeremy Lauzon and beat Daniel Vladar for a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead at the 13:12 mark.

It was more than enough for Bruce Cassidy to throw his lines back into a blender — the Bruins moved Zach Senyshyn up to the first line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, dropped David Pastrnak down to a second line with Nick Ritchie and David Krejci, and skated Craig Smith to the right of Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle — and the Bruins actually finished the frame with 13 shots. But, still, and most importantly, without a single goal to their name.

But with the Bruins in need of a kickstart, it was Brad Marchand who once again came to their aid for the second game in a row, this time with a deficit-halving tally with 8:46 remaining in the third period.

Marchand’s tally failed to matter much, however, as a David Pastrnak giveaway in the neutral zone helped spark a two-on-one for the Penguins, where an Evan Rodrigues-to-Jason Zucker look gave a two-goal edge back to the Penguins.

This was the last kind of highlight Pastrnak, who is being asked to play a bit of a grittier game to fight his way out of his current slump, wanted to be involved in after another his fourth 0-0-0 donut in his last five outings.

It was the theme of the night for Vladar in a lot of ways, too, as he was just straight-up hung out to dry on too many sequences. Finishing with a 19-of-22 line in net, the 6-foot-6 Vladar came through with numerous key saves, including a pair of breakaway saves, before the walls finally closed in on him for the first loss of his NHL career.

The Penguins then added an empty-net goal with 2:09 remaining in the game to make it a 4-1 final.

The B’s suffered an in-game loss, too, with Brandon Carlo exiting this contest after the first period due to an apparent upper-body injury. It’s unclear what exactly happened to Carlo, but this was just his second game back in the B’s lineup after missing the previous 10 due to a concussion.

“[Carlo] left, didn’t come back… never a good sign,” said Cassidy. “We’ll have a better update tomorrow.”

The Bruins will remain at home for a Saturday afternoon rematch with the Penguins.