After beating the champs, the Bruins were blanked 1-0 in a shootout loss to the Panthers on Thursday. The Penguins are in the midst of a four-game losing streak and lost 4-1 to New Jersey at home on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh could have a jump in their game Saturday, however. Playoff MVP and last season’s leading scorer in the NHL, Evgeni Malkin, may come back from a shoulder injury.
Even if Malkin doesn’t return, the Penguins will be very tough as they attempt to snap out of their current funk and get revenge on the Bruins for Tuesday’s loss. It should be another good Eastern Conference battle.
Saturday, Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Bruins (8-7-3, 19 points, second in Northeast Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference)
Penguins (12-7-0, 24 points, second in Atlantic Division, fourth in Eastern Conference)
The Bruins are 1-0-0 against the Penguins this season after a 3-0 shutout win Tuesday. In addition to Saturday night's game, the two teams play again March 7 at Pittsburgh and March 18 in Boston.
The Bruins were 2-1-1 against the Penguins last season.
Boston leads the all-time series 100-51-21-3.
The Bruins ran into a hot goalie Thursday night in Tomas Vokoun, but these B's aren't going to let the latest shutout loss get to them.
"I think you got to take the positives out of it," forward Shawn Thornton said following the loss to Florida. "It's the way we've been all year. We've been very sound defensively. We are getting chances. But again you have to tip your hat to [Vokoun], too — he played a hell of a game. I think we did a good job with everything except putting the puck into the net again, so we'll take the positives."
The Penguins are going through much more serious scoring woes and confidence issues. For a team picked by many to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, Pittsburgh has looked like anything but the team that hoisted the Cup last June.
Obviously, injuries have decimated the Penguins’ lineup, but two of the reasons they won it all was because of their depth and goaltending. While the latter hasn’t really been to blame, the former has been an issue as captain Sidney Crosby appears to be the only one producing — which can be blamed due to the absence of fellow superstar Malkin. Crosby remains positive.
"It's not easy right now," he said. "But the chances are there."
The Penguins will get a boost if Malkin plays.
"It's not only the points, [it's] the speed and how he plays with the puck," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "There's a work ethic there, and a guy who leads the league in takeaways as well. There's a tenaciousness that he brings to the game that adds not just in the point totals."
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Daniel Paille–Trent Whitfield–Vladimir Sobotka
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Byron Bitz
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Matt Hunwick–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Andrew Ference
*Evgeni Malkin–Sidney Crosby–Ruslan Fedotenko
Matt Cooke–Jordan Staal–Bill Guerin
Pascal Dupuis–Mike Rupp–Mark Letestu
Eric Godard–Craig Adams–Chris Bourque
*Note: Forward lines are based on Malkin playing
Alex Goligoski–Jay McKee
Martin Skoula–Deryk Engelland
Mark Eaton–Ben Lovejoy
Tim Thomas is 5-6-2 with a 2.05 GAA and .967 save percentage. Thomas made 23 saves in the shootout loss to Florida, earning his second straight shutout and third overall. Thomas has not allowed a goal in 167:28 since 17:32 of the first period against Montreal on Nov. 5, when Canadiens forward Glen Metropolit beat him.
Tuukka Rask is 3-1-1 with a 2.33 GAA and .919 save percentage. Rask has one shutout this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury is 10-6-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .904 save percentage.
Brent Johnson is 2-1-0 with a 2.38 GAA and .915 save percentage.
Forward Patrice Bergeron leads the team in goals with six and points with 12.
Forward Steve Begin had one helper on Tuesday to bring his season total to seven assists and nine points.
Forward Mark Recchi got his 900th assist Tuesday and now has three helpers and three goals this season.
Defensemen Derek Morris and Zdeno Chara both have a goal and eight assists to lead the defense in assists and points. They are also tied with Steve Begin for the team lead in assists.
The Bruins have scored and allowed 39 goals this season. They are averaging 2.17 goals per game and 2.17 goals against.
The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the power play against the Panthers and are now 2-for-7 in their last three games. Boston is 8-for-62 on the power play this season for a 12.9 percent rate.
The Bruins' penalty kill continued their amazing success Thursday night, killing off three Florida power plays. Boston has now killed off 17 straight and 31 of the last 32 power plays they’ve faced. They have only allowed 11 power-play goals on 64 power plays faced for an 82.8 percent success rate.
The Bruins are 2-3-1 on the road this season.
The Bruins are 3-2-1 against the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins are 5-3-3 against the Eastern Conference this season.
Sidney Crosby leads the team in goals (nine) and points (17).
Evgeni Malkin leads the team with 10 assists and is second in points with 14.
Defenseman Alex Goligoski is third on the team with 13 points. Goligoski leads the Penguins' blue line in points, goals and assists.
The Penguins have scored and allowed 51 goals. They are averaging 2.68 goals per game and have allowed 2.68 per game.
The Penguins' power play is struggling and is 0-for-26 in the last six games. The Penguins are 11-for-80 on the man advantage this season, scoring at a 13.8 percent clip.
The Penguins have allowed 14 goals on 77 power-play chances against them for an 81.8 percent success rate.
Forward Marc Savard is still recovering from broken left foot but is expected to skate next week.
Forward Milan Lucic remains on injured reserve with a broken right index finger but practiced with the team for the first time Friday and is eyeing a Nov. 19 return.
Evgeni Malkin remains out with an injured shoulder and could miss two more weeks. He has been out since Oct. 29.
Maxime Talbot remains on injured reserve after offseason shoulder surgery. He is still eyeing a late November return.
Forward Tyler Kennedy is doubtful with a groin injury.
Forward Chris Kunitz is expected to miss up to two weeks with a shoulder injury.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik suffered a lower body injury against the Bruins on Tuesday night and is expected to miss two weeks.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar remains on injured reserve with a broken left wrist, his shooting side. He recently had the cast removed and is expected to be out 10 to 14 more days.
Defenseman Kris Letang is expected to be sidelined at least another 10 days with an upper-body injury.
Chris Kunitz is out two weeks with a lower body injury. Mark Letestu will take his place on the roster.
NHL President Frank Calder presents the Bruins with the gold Stanley Cup medals on Nov. 14, 1939, and the 1938-39 Stanley Cup banner is raised.
“Right now, it’s pretty obvious that there’s just one area that’s preventing us from probably winning a bunch of games, and that’s scoring goals. You’ve got to build on all the good things that have happened, then say, ‘OK, let’s attack the area that we think needs to get better.’”
–Head coach Claude Julien
The Bruins' interest in Peter Forsberg seems to be stronger.
Here's the latest edition of Plus-Minus.
Jack Edwards wants you to name the Bruins' checking line.
The Bruins are still in a good position.
Conn Smythe winner Evgeni Malkin is expected to be back in the lineup.
For a look at the state of the Penguins, check out Across Enemy Lines.
Here's an injury update on the Penguins.
Former NHLer Markus Naslund (and a childhood friend of Forsberg) thinks Forsberg will keep playing but that he should stay in Sweden.
For the latest NHL trade rumors and analysis, check out Spectorshockey.net.
Who will captain the Maple Leafs?
A nice shootout goal by Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash.
Although the Penguins may get a boost on the power play with the return of Malkin, it doesn't necessarily mean the Bruins are doomed if they happen to put Pittsburgh on the man advantage. The penalty kill has been the Bruins’ biggest strength, and if they continue to maintain their stingy and instinctive ways, they have a very good chance at containing the explosive Malkin and the Penguins’ power play.
As a whole, the Bruins must remain within their game plan and not let the raucous atmosphere at the Igloo or the Penguins' potentially quick-strike offense disrupt them in any way.
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