The Penguins and Bruins meet for the first time since Matt Cooke knocked Bruins’ forward Marc Savard out with a controversial head shot eleven days ago. Here is my formatted preview for the game, but you can read my specific thoughts on what I expect to see in a piece I wrote for Hockey Independent this afternoon.
Also, since I neglected to mention it below, Evgeni Malkin will be out of the line-up again this evening and Marc Andre Fleury will be back in the net. Eric Godard is expected to be a game time decision.
On to the preview…
Previous Meetings This Season
The Penguins have gone 2-1-0 against the B’s this season. Tonight will be the two team’s fourth and final match-up.
Teams records in last 10 games overall
The Penguins have posted a 5-2-3 record over their last 10 games, while the Bruins have gone 5-4-1.
It hasn’t been often, that Sidney Crosby hasn’t been amongst the names mentioned when pointing out who is hot. Crosby has posted 13 points (6G-7A) over his last 10 games and has also been amongst the leading Penguins scorers against the Bruins this season. The Penguins Captain has posted 4 points (1G-3A) in the three games thus far. Chris Kunitz has also been hot as of late, picking up 7 points (3G-4A) in his last seven games.
For the Bruins, Patrice Bergeron has been lighting it up since Marc Savard went down with a concussion. He has picked up 8 points (4G-4A) in his last 7 games. David Krejci has also been very productive picking up 7 points (2G-5A) over his last four games.
Tyler Kennedy has probably been the coldest Penguin over the month. He recently found himself as a healthy scratch for two games in a row and has not scored a goal in 18 games, picking up only 5 assists over that span. Sergei Gonchar has also tailed off a bit of late, as the veteran rearguard has only picked up 1 point, a goal on Sunday in Tampa Bay, over his last five games.
On the Bruins side, two players that appeared in the Olympics for their respective countries have been chilly. Marco Sturm, who skated for Germany, has no points in his last three games. While Miroslav Satan, the former Penguins who skated for his native Slovakia, has only picked up 1 assist over his last four games.
In the last 20 games, either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin has figured in on 45 of Pittsburgh’s 60 goals scored (75.0 percent), at one point the duo was in on 17 straight.
Nine of the Bruins last ten wins have come on the road, including a 3-3-1 mark on their recently completed seven game trip. The Bruins have posted a 5-8-4 record against Atlantic Division teams this season.
What to look for:
Hopefully we will see a good, hard fought hockey game between these two teams. There has been much made about what could happen in this one and I hope that it is much adieu about nothing. I wrote a piece on what I think we will see for Hockey Independent this afternoon. Check it out at the link below.
The Penguins have blended their great skill and talent with a gritty and physical game. The Penguins rank third in the NHL in hits (1846) and seventh in blocked shots (1028). Three Penguins rank in the top 25 in the league in hits: Brooks Orpik (214, 6th), Mike Rupp (180, 15th) and Craig Adams (167, 24th).
Tampa Bay took 24 second period shots on Dec. 28, the most shots against in a period by a Boston opponent since Nov. 17, 2007 (Montreal, 25) …The Bruins have allowed 20+ shots in a period on three occasions this season.