Bruins set to battle red-hot Penguins
The Bruins will finish off their brief two-game road trip with their second game in as many nights when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on Sidney Crosby and the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. Tonight is the first of two matchups in Pittsburgh this week as the Bruins will end the week with a Sunday afternoon St. Patrick’s Day date with the Pens.
The Bruins are coming off an impressive 3-2 come-from-behind shootout win last night north of the border in Ottawa. Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille scored in regulation with David Krejci’s shootout goal securing the two points for the Bruins who have now won three straight.
The win did come at a cost for the Bruins as B’s forward Chris Kelly left the game after a knee-to-knee collision with Senators forward Chris Neill. The Bruins had no update on Kelly after the game, but it has been confirmed that Kelly did travel with the Bruins to Pittsburgh for tonight’s game.
The Penguins enter tonight winners of their last five and are coming off an impressive 6-1 win over the New York Islanders on Sunday. The line of Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, and Pascal Dupuis had a combined 12 points. Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves in the win.
The Bruins will catch a bit of a break as Evgeni Malkin will miss both games against the Bruins this week with an undisclosed injury.
After the jump: lineups, storylines, linkage and tweets of interest
Gametime: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Consol Energy Center
TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (17-3-3, 37 points), Penguins (18-8-0, 36 points)
Bruins’ projected lineup
*Will be updated as soon as more information develops*
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Jay Pandolfo-Jordan Caron-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dougie Hamilton-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid
Penguins’ projected lineup
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Beau Bennett-Dustin Jeffrey-James Neal
Matt Cooke-Brandon Sutter-Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass-Joe Vitale-Craig Adams
Paul Martin-Brooks Orpik
Mark Eaton-Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen-Simon Despres
Bruins to watch
For the first time all season, Brad Marchand has gone three consecutive games without a goal. Marchand has gotten off to a fast start this season as “The Little Ball of Hate” leads the team with 12 goals. Marchand has two goals in nine career games against the Penguins. With just the one goal in his previous five games, I would look for Marchand to find the back of the net tonight.
The Bruins haven’t gotten much production from their fourth line this season, but in their last two wins, the Bruins “Merlot” line has been exceptional. Led by Daniel Paille with goals in back-to-back games, the fourth line has combined for five points. With goals by Paille and Thornton over the past two games, look for Gregory Campbell to join in on the fourth line fun and score tonight.
Penguins to watch
Everyone knows how dangerous Sidney Crosby and James Neal can be, but lately it’s been the Chris Kunitz show in Pittsburgh. Kunitz—who shares the team lead in goals with James Neal at 17—is coming off a five-point performance which included his second hat trick of the season against the Islanders on Sunday. Playing alongside Crosby’s wing, Kunitz has 17 goals and 19 assists on the season.
Playing to the right of Kunitz and Crosby is Pascal Dupuis, who is sure enjoying playing with that dynamic duo. In 26 games for the Penguins, Dupuis has 11 goals and six assists. Dupuis too had himself a night against the Islanders with two goals. Dupuis enters tonight with goals in three straight games. I think it is safe to say that Zdeno Chara and company will have their hands full with the Penguins red-hot first line.
Michael Hurley of CBS Boston asks Who is the face of the Boston Bruins?
Stanley Cup of Chowder’s Sarah Connors recaps last nights Bruins win
The highly entertaining Thepensblog.com takes a look at all four of last seasons Bruins/Penguins matchups
Killing penalties remains a problem for Penguins (Dave Molinari/Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Tweets of interest
Per Mark Divver, no Bruins call-ups for tonight’s Bruins game
No callups from @ahlbruins this morning after Kelly injury. Ryan Spooner and everyone else present and accounted for @ practice
— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) March 12, 2013
Pens coach Dan Bylsma confirms his goalie for tonight
#Pens coach Bylsma: Malkin skated today on his own. Game-time on lineup. Fleury starting in goal.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 12, 2013