PITTSBURGH - For the second time in four games, the Bruins left the rink feeling like they could have had so much more. After opening up a three-goal lead in the first period, Boston let it all slip away, surrendering four unanswered in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.
"We've got to bear down," said Patrice Bergeron, who opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game with his 21st goal of the season. "You can't just have a good effort, be satisfied with that, and then just play for a half a game or whatever that was. We need to take it upon ourselves. We all have to take responsibility and be accountable for how we're able to play in this locker room. I've said that many, many times.
"I think it's one of those games where we were playing a good team, they're gonna give you a push, but you can't let that go by. It's a 3-0 lead and you know there's a lot of game left. You've got to play the right way and keep pushing to keep increasing that lead."
Just six days after seeing a 5-2 advantage erased in Philadelphia - en route to a 6-5 overtime defeat - Boston once again had its urgency level dip after building a sizable advantage. Following Bergeron's tally off the opening faceoff, Anders Bjork delivered his eighth of the season with a glove-side snipe to make it 2-0 just 2:02 into the contest.
David Pastrnak then extended the lead to 3-0 on his 37th of the year with 4:53 remaining in the opening frame as the Bruins appeared poised for their second straight win over the Penguins. But there was far too much time remaining for the high-flying Pittsburgh offense.
"Think we got away from what's been good, what's been successful," said Bergeron. "I don't think it's a matter of effort, I think it's a matter of being smart. When you're forcing plays all the time in the wrong areas of the ice, they make you pay."
Video: The Bruins Address Media After Losing 4-3 to PIT
And that the Penguins did. Pittsburgh struck just 1:27 after Pastrnak's tally to pull within 3-1, giving them some momentum heading into intermission. The Penguins rode that swing into the middle frame, connecting just 33 seconds into the second to make it 3-2.
"I saw them bump their urgency up, which you expect will happen at home," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "They're a good hockey club. You can usually tell when you come in, your chances that you're giving up…we got out-chanced in the second, but I don't think it was to the point where they were bombarding us. They were better, we turned away.
"But the goals we're giving up…what is it? Lack of focus, do we lose our urgency? They're gifts…you can get outplayed, you will by good teams in stretches. But they were gifts tonight."
The Penguins tied the game at just 1:41 of the third period with a shorthanded tally by Jack Johnson and completed the comeback with 7:25 remaining when they capitalized off of a poor turnover behind the Boston net.
"Guys that have offensive ability have to start playing to their ability a little bit more on our back end or we have to seriously consider what type of D corps we want," said Cassidy. "We're supposed to be mobile, we're supposed to be able to move pucks, break pucks out, be mobile, add to our offense. Right now, that's a challenge for us."
The Bruins, who held a 200-1-6 record when holding a three-goal lead since 2010-11 entering Sunday's game, have now lost three games after holding such a lead this season.
"You've got to play the same way you start a game and the way you know you're able to play," said Bergeron. "To me, the mindset should always be about the next shift and no matter what the situation is. That's what we've got to go back to."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins can't hold three-goal lead in loss