Video: Pastrnak, Marchand and the Bruins overpower Penguins

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In a game that had a playoff vibe, the Boston Bruins completely took over late in the third period to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

It was close through two-and-a-half periods. But the final 10 minutes of the game belonged to the Bruins, as they erupted for three goals in that span to secure a 5-1 victory over Sidney Crosby and the visiting Penguins. Tuukka Rask made 41 saves for the win.

The win vaults Boston into third in the Atlantic Division, while Pittsburgh remains in the final Wild Card spot in the East, one point ahead of the New Jersey Devils.

David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston, including a goal on a penalty shot to set a new Bruins franchise record for most penalty shot goals in a season.

And Brad Marchand continued his stellar 2015-16 season.

He scored Boston’s fifth goal of the night, giving him 31 in 56 games, as he piles on to a career best season in that category. He’s now tied for fourth in the NHL in goals with former Bruin forward Tyler Seguin.

Video: Pastrnak penalty shot goal makes Bruins history

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David Pastrnak gave the Boston Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first period of Wednesday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, making franchise history in the process.

Late in the first period, Pastrnak beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the one-on-one opportunity with a low shot to open the scoring.

That gave Pastrnak seven goals on the season.

Pastrnak scored again in the second period, giving him eight goals on the season. That put Boston up 2-0, before Tom Kuhnhackl cut the lead in half with a goal for Pittsburgh 55 seconds later in the middle frame.

WATCH LIVE: Penguins at Bruins

Zdeno Chara, Beau Bennett
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Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be in for a tough test as they take on Eastern Conference rival Boston at TD Garden. You can catch the game on NBCSN starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, or watch live online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE ONLINE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

Malkin, Bonino could return Saturday for Penguins

Lovejoy injury ‘long term,’ Pens confirm

The Bruins got smoked at home again

Video: Marchand sets career-high for goals in style

 

The Bruins got smoked at home again

Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (37) skates off the ice as the Columbus Blue Jackets, behind, celebrate after defeating the Bruins 6-4 during an NHL hockey game in Boston, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP
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Last night in Boston, another team rolled into TD Garden and opened the floodgates against the Bruins.

This time, it was the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.

“Our defensive game needs to be better,” Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow said after the 6-4 loss. “Just whatever curse we have at home where we can’t seem to find the energy or get the tempo of our game up, it just has to change sooner than later and we don’t have the time to turn it around. It’s pretty unacceptable.”

If last night had been a one-off, no problem, the Bruins could’ve just regrouped for Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh.

But it wasn’t. Far from it. In fact, it was the 12th time this season that the Bruins had allowed at least four goals at home. Included among those was a 9-2 drubbing by the Kings and a 5-1 no-show versus Montreal in the Winter Classic.

Of course, the B’s have also had their share of good days. Like Saturday’s 7-3 win in Dallas, for example. That was Boston’s 11th win by three goals or more. Only six other teams have more of those than that.

So, interesting times for GM Don Sweeney, who has until Monday to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agent Loui Eriksson.

If Eriksson is traded to a contender — and that’s the kind of team that’s going to be most interested, presumably — it’s unlikely that team is going to want to give up anything significant from its current roster. Which would mean the Bruins lose a guy with 23 goals and 25 assists for a return that, hopefully, will help them in the future, but is unlikely to help them in the playoffs, assuming they get there.

The best-case scenario for the B’s would probably be to re-sign Eriksson, but — given we’re talking about a 30-year-old that’s played over 700 NHL games — not for longer than three or four years.

Whether Eriksson would agree to a shorter term remains to be seen. He’d need an incentive to avoid hitting the open market. Perhaps the B’s could take a cue from the Jets, who were able to keep Dustin Byfuglien’s term to five years, but only because they gave him $7.6 million per season.

Though considering the state of Boston’s defense, that cap space may be better used elsewhere.

Related: Should the Bruins be sellers at the deadline?

Bruins squash Stars, but Krug might be injured

Dallas Stars' Mattias Janmark (13) of Sweden skates back to the bench as Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak (88), of the Czech Republic, and Kevan Miller (86) celebrate a goal by Miller in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP
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The Boston Bruins generated an impressive win against the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, that victory could be pretty costly.

Boston bombarded Dallas by a score of 7-3, leaving the Stars stumbling into a three-game losing streak.

Brad Marchand stood out among the many Bruins performers who enjoyed great nights, as No. 63 hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career thanks to his two goals (and added an assist for good measure). Patrice Bergeron also managed his 600th point in this win.

Zdeno Chara also quietly put together a brilliant game, apparently:

The Bruins might not get much of a chance to savor this, however, as Torey Krug may have been injured by a Jason Demers hit late in the game.

Boston seems that much more comfortably seated in playoff position, yet there’s no denying that this is a cause for concern.