March 18th, 2010 by

Pregame notes: Bruins vs. Penguins – the payback

The Bruins and Penguins are best exemplifying the saying, “save the best for last”, as they are meeting for the fourth and final time this season – with the Bruins holding a 1-1-1 record. Tonight will mark their 178th meeting in their lifetime series, with the B’s holding a 100-52-21-4 record and a 698-551 scoring edge.

But this game has been hyped-up since Mar. 7, when Matt Cooke gave Bruins’ No. 1 center, Marc Savard, a blindside cheapshot in which Savard suffered a Grade 2 concussion, and is most likely done for the rest of the 2009-10 season.

Something tells me Eric Godard could make a miraculous return from his groin injury tonight.

Despite going .500 on their road-trip, the B’s are definitely missing Marc Savard’s presence on the power play: now having gone 0-10 in their last four games, and 1-14 in their last five [7.1%] on the man-advantage without No. 91. The Bruins play 12 games in which their opponent has played the night before – Pittsburgh lost to New Jersey 5-2 last night – and are 4-5-0 in those contests.

Home Team Boston Bruins: 31-26-12, 74 points, 4th Northeast Division, 8th Eastern Conference, 14-13-6 at home, 5-4-1 last 10 games

  • 17.9% on the power play – 18th in the NHL
  • 4th overall on the penalty kill with a 85.6% success rate
  • 2.55 goals-against per game – 5th in the league
  • 30th in the league with 2.39 goals-for per game [last five games: 3.40 goals-for]

Entering tonight’s game, the Bruins are just three points back of the seventh-place Philadelphia Flyers [versus the Stars tonight] – yet still three points ahead of the ninth-place New York Rangers [tonight against the Blues]

But let’s face it; the majority of the folk watching this game tonight will be looking for the Bruins’ retaliation on Matt Cooke – waiting for someone to hand him his lunch after blindsiding Marc Savard in the last meeting on Mar. 7 at the Mellon Arena.

And for those of you who are on the fence about the retribution in tonight’s game – and whether or not you want to see the bloodshed that may occur, but rather playing hockey and gaining two must-needed points in the standings – I bring to you, “The best stat of the night”.

The Bruins are 10-3-3 in 16 games in which Shawn Thornton has had at least one fight; 3-1-0 when Milan Lucic engages in fisticuffs; and 3-1-1 when Mark Stuart drops ‘em. It’s like a win-win scenario and an ideal situation for both sides.

After starting last game, stopping 30-of-32 shots against the Carolina Hurricanes, Tuukka Rask is sure to get the nod once again tonight. Rask, 16-9-4 record, ranks second in the NHL in save-percentage [.928] and first in goals-against average [2.09].

Tuukka Rask: 2-2-0 (one ND) .928 save-percentage and a goals-against average just north of 2.00 in March.

Tim Thomas: 2-2-1, .907 save-percentage, and a goals-against average just under 2.50 this month.

Patrice Bergeron: 4-3-7, plus-6, 13 shots on goal – his last five games
Dennis Seidenberg: 0-5-5, plus-6, 13 SOG – last five contests
Zdeno Chara: zero points – last five games
Mark Recchi: 3-3-6, plus-6, 9 SOG – last five games
David Krejci: 2-5-7, plus-8, 8 SOG – last four contests
Michael Ryder: 1-3-4, plus-5 – last four contests
Blake Wheeler: 3-1-4, plus-7, 9 SOG – last four games
Marco Sturm: point-less – last three games

Away Team Pittsburgh Penguins: 41-24-5, 87 points, 2nd Atlantic Division, 4th Eastern Conference, 20-14-2 away, 5-2-3 last 10 games

  • 17.1% on the power play – 21st in the NHL
  • 8th overall on the penalty kill with a 83.6% success rate
  • 2.87 goals-against per game – 21th in the league
  • 5th in the NHL with 3.03 goals-for per game

Injuries: Evgeni Malkin, 23-46-69 scoring totals, did not play in last night’s 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils after being struck by a Kris Letang shot on Sunday. Eric Godard: groin.

Marc-Andre Fleury: 1-2-0, .881 save-percentage, and a goals-against over 3.30 in his last three games between the pipes
Sidney Crosby: 6-7-13 in nine of his last 10
Evgeni Malkin: 1-1-2, minus-3 in his last five
Pascal Dupuis: 3-3-6, plus-3, 24 shots on goal, last seven games

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