Barring a playoff encounter, the Bruins will face Pittsburgh for the final time this season on Saturday, which is sure to get the blood boiling around the region in light of the recent history between the clubs.
And while Public Enemy No. 1 Matt Cooke will be in the lineup, the focus of this game might be on who isn't be on the ice as much as who will actually be at the Garden.
The Penguins come in having been ravaged by injuries of late. They're missing eight players, with a ninth out for a suspension as enforcer Eric Godard serves the final game of his 10-game ban for leaving the bench in a brawl against the Islanders back on Feb. 11.
Sidelined with injuries are superstars Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee), along with forwards Chris Kunitz (lower body), Arron Asham (concussion), Eric Tangradi (concussion), Mike Comrie (hip) and Nick Johnson (concussion) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (finger).
Not that they'll get much sympathy from the Bruins, who are still without center Marc Savard. He is sidelined from a concussion suffered in Colorado in January, but his problems really stem from a brutal blindside cheap shot from Cooke almost exactly a year ago.
Boston will also be without defensemen Andrew Ference (lower body) and Steven Kampfer (concussion), while center Patrice Bergeron will miss the game for personal reasons.
Despite the revamped rosters, the Bruins know better than to underestimate the Penguins, who have managed to stay in fourth place in the East despite their injuries. They have just one less point than second-place Boston.
"We've played some games in the past where there hasn't been the lineup that the other team should have had, but the guys that were there came to play and played hard and we weren't ready for that," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "And at the end we regretted it. So that's the kind of thing you hope your team has matured enough to understand that concept.
"You've got to respect your opponent," Julien added. "Never lose respect for your opponent. But have the confidence as a team to go out there and feel like you can be the best team on the ice if you play the way you can."
The Bruins have been the best team just about anywhere of late, as they come in riding a seven-game win streak. More than the victories, Julien is pleased with how his club has played en route to those wins.
"I think the guys are feeling good not about the wins necessarily, but the way we're playing," Julien said. "And the way we're playing is giving us some wins. If your focus is in the right place you'll have success and right now our focus is on our play and not so much the end result."
That doesn't mean the Bruins don't want the end result to be another two points in the standings at the expense of the Penguins. They've done that twice already, rallying for five unanswered goals in the third period in a 7-4 win in Pittsburgh on Nov. 10 and four goals in the final 3:23 of the third for a 4-2 win on Jan. 10. But the Penguins returned the favor by scoring the only goal in the third for a 3-2 win at the Garden on Jan. 15.
That result, more than any names missing from the lineup sheet, is what Julien wants the Bruins to focus on and remember when they take the ice on Saturday.
"They came in here the last time and they really battled hard because of the fact that we had come from behind twice in their building in the third period and overcame some deficits to win hockey games," Julien said. "To me, when a team comes and competes hard it gives itself a chance to win. If you stand looking at names and not so much at what you have to do [that's when you get in trouble]. We have to worry about our game and continue to play the way we can. That's what our focus has to be, and so far it's been pretty good. The guys have been really focused on that."