Game Day Preview: Penguins at Bruins
For the first time since last year’s debacle with Shawn Thornton, Brooks Orpik and James Neal, the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins finally get a chance to renew acquaintances.
This year’s version will be without Thornton, Orpik or Neal. Thornton, who now plays with the Florida Panthers, was suspended 15 games after losing his cool on Orpik (now with the Washington Capitals). Neal (now lacing up the skates with the Nashville Predators), was banned for five games for kneeing Brad Marchand.
Even with a new cast of members, and a possible debut of David Pastrnak, the first 2014-15 installment featuring the Bruins and Penguins should still be very entertaining.
Here is your complete Penguins-Bruins preview:
Gametime: 7:00 PM
TV/Radio: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins 13-9-0, 26 points/Penguins 13-4-2, 28 points
Location: TD Garden
Bruins’ projected lines
Brad Marchand/Matt Fraser-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Milan Lucic-Carl Soderberg-Loui Eriksson
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Simon Gagne
Jordan Caron-Alexander Khoklachev-David Pastrnak
Dennis Seidenberg-Kevan Miller
Dougie Hamilton-Joe Morrow
Torey Krug-Matt Bartkowski
Penguins’ projected lines
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Blake Comeau
Nick Spaling-Evgeni Malkin-Patric Hornqvist
Beau Bennett-Brandon Sutter-Steve Downie
Zach Sill-Marcel Goc-Craig Adams
Paul Martin-Kris Letang
Olli Maata-Christian Ehrhoff
Rob Scuderi-Simon Despres
Who to watch for Bruins: David Pastrnak
“Pastamania” is about to run wild in Boston, and no I’m not talking about Hulk Hogan’s failed adventure either.
David Pastrnak, the Bruins’ first round pick in 2014, is set to make his debut with the Black and Gold, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With the B’s still hit with the injury bug, and with Pastrnak shining in his first month and a half in the American Hockey League, the 18-year old will have his first chance to showcase his skills in a matchup with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins.
Pastrnak, who tallied 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) in 17 games with the P-Bruins, skated with Jordan Caron and Alexander Khoklachev during the morning skate. That trio performed well in Providence, so it’s easy to see why Claude Julien would want to keep this unit together. At the same time, they’ll likely be getting fourth line minutes.
As excitement from Bruins fans continues to grow, Pastrnak will hope to give them something to cheer for in his debut.
Who to watch for Penguins: Patric Hornqvist
Anytime a member of the Penguins skates with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin, they are bound to get a boost in production. The same can be said for Patric Hornqvist.
Through 23 games, the former Nashville Predator has compiled 23 points (good for a tie for sixth in the NHL) on 10 goals and 13 assists and has a plus-6 rating. Additionally, his presence on the power play gives the Penguins another weapon as he’s tallied 11 points on the man advantage.
With all the injuries to the Bruins’ defense, they’ll need to minimize their mistakes, get pucks out of their own end quickly and try to keep the Penguins’ lethal attack in check. Otherwise, they will be in for a long night.
Game Day Edge: Get traffic in front of Marc-Andre Fleury
Although the Bruins fired 33 shots towards Carey Price during their 2-0 loss to the Canadiens on Saturday night, they did not get enough traffic in front of Carey Price. For the most part, the Black and Gold had to settle with chances from the perimeter and didn’t do enough work in the dirty areas. Some of that was due to the Habs getting the shooting lanes, and some was due to the inexperience and reshuffling of the forward lines.
All of this will need to change on Monday. For the criticism he’s received over his shaky performances in the playoffs the last few years, Marc-Andre Fleury is very capable of stealing a game if needed. With his 6-foot-2 stature, Fleury gives up little space and his quickness is certainly an asset when pucks get in the dirty areas. The Bruins will need to get bodies in front of him and make him work, otherwise they’ll be in for another long night.
Game Day Video
Relive what Milan Lucic had to say about the Dalton Prout punch.
Also, hear what the Bruins had to say after their loss to the Canadiens on Saturday night.