The Bruins were seven minutes away from stealing a win. They held a 2-0 lead over the Penguins. Anton Khudobin was making timely saves. Zdeno Chara had kept Sidney Crosby (20 points in his last eight games) off the scoresheet.

But the Bruins were sitting on their lead. It is no way to play against any opponent, far less one as lethal as Pittsburgh. The Penguins made the Bruins pay for their indifference.

In just 4:15 of third-period play, the Bruins watched a 2-0 win explode into a 3-2 kick-to-the-teeth loss before 18,640 at the Consol Energy Center.

“Some really, really bad decision-making led to those goals,” said coach Claude Julien. “It’s of our own doing. We gave them that game when we had control of it.”

A multi-goal lead in the third period used to be the equivalent of a lights-out sleeper hold for the Bruins. But the Bruins are a pedestrian 7-3-1 in games when they’ve led after 40 minutes. On Tuesday, for the second time in a week, they watched a third-period advantage turn into a loss.

“They were able to build the game and score three goals in the last seven minutes,” Milan Lucic said. “It [stinks]. We’ve got to learn from it again. It’s happened to us too many times where we’ve blown leads going into the third period.”

Marc-Andre Fleury saw only 16 pucks come his way. The Bruins put just four shots on goal in the third. Instead of being aggressive and controlling the play, the Bruins gave the Penguins far too many attacking opportunities and time with the puck in their zone.