Bruins vs. Penguins takeaways: Blown lead magnified by status of Tuukka Rask

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B's vs. Pens takeaways: Blown lead amplified by status of several key veterans originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Twenty minutes in, the return from the All-Star break couldn't have been going much better for the Boston Bruins.

Playing their first game in a week, the B's enjoyed a 2-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins on a pair of goals from David Pastrnak at the end of the first period.

That's about where the good vibes ended, as separate events involving the three longest-tenured members of the Bruins intertwined with the Penguins scoring four straight goals to close the game out and leave the TD Garden with a 4-2 win, dropping Boston to 26-14-3.

Report: Rask expected to end comeback attempt with Bruins

Tuukka Rask is reportedly about to retire, Patrice Bergeron left the game after hitting his head along the boards, and Brad Marchand embraced the wrong side of his agitator self late in the game.

Here are some takeaways from the evening, in which the Bruins appear to be back to the same goaltending tandem they had at the start of the season:

Brad Marchand blows his top

Bergeron was an All-Star, but there's little doubt that Marchand is Boston's best player at this point.

Which is what makes his conduct at the end of the game all the more troubling.

Marchand had a funny moment earlier in the game, when he swatted a puck away from Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry between periods, embracing the welcome parts of his agitator persona. Sticking Jarry in the mask as part of the skirmish at the end of the third period is unacceptable for any player, however, particularly a star player whose team relies on him.

Marchand is no stranger to discipline from the NHL -- he's already been suspended once this season -- and should be expecting a call from the league for this latest incident.

The Bruins need Marchand anyways, but they'll especially need him just in case Bergeron misses any time.

Patrice Bergeron leaves after hitting head on boards

Fresh off his appearance at the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas, Bergeron suffered what coach Bruce Cassidy called an upper body injury in the third period against the Penguins after colliding with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby.

Bergeron suffered a number of concussions earlier in his career, including one in 2007 which forced him to miss the majority of the season, so while he's been safe from any head trauma lately, it always warrants mentioning when a player with a history like that goes down hard.

"He didn't come back to the bench. I went to the training room and he wasn't there," Cassidy said postgame.

With Rask reportedly retiring, Swayman inspires little confidence

The biggest story of the night for the Bruins didn't even involve the game itself, but rather, the reported end of Rask's comeback attempt with the black and gold.

Rask wasn't good in his four games back with the Bruins, going 2-2 with a 4.28 goals against average and an .844 save percentage.

But Swayman, who was sent to AHL Providence as part of the numbers crunch to accommodate Rask's return, allowed three goals on 24 shots Tuesday night, including two in a 28-second span to former Bruin Danton Heinen which allowed Pittsburgh to tie the game in the second period.

Going back to his relief appearance for Linus Ullmark -- who has been up and down again of late after seemingly steadying the ship -- on Jan. 30 against the Dallas Stars, Swayman has allowed five goals on the last 38 shots he's faced, an uninspiring .868 save percentage.

"If he has something to say, I think I'll leave it to him," Cassidy said of Rask's reported retirement.

Secondary scoring goes silent

Pastrnak has simply been on a tear in 2022, with 16 goals now in his last 16 games.

It's only been one game since the All-Star break, but where was anyone else in support? Pastrnak also scored two of Boston's three goals -- both on the power play -- in a win over the expansion Seattle Kraken on Feb. 1.

Jarry was dialed in for the Penguins, making a season-high 43 saves against the Bruins on Tuesday. Still, someone other than Pastrnak has to step up now, especially with the statuses of Marchand and Bergeron murky in the short term.

Boston hosts the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday at TD Garden at 7 p.m. before embarking on a stretch of 10 out of 11 games on the road.