Bruins-Penguins Notes: 5-Game Win Streak Strengthening Playoff Chances

The Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 at Consol Energy Center on Saturday afternoon, a win that increased the Original Six club’s chances of reaching the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs by 7.2 percent.

According to Sports Club Stats, Boston has an 87.1 percent chance of making the playoffs. The two teams chasing the Bruins for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference are the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers, who have 23.1 and 3.6 percent chances of making the postseason, respectively.

Saturday’s win puts the Bruins into a tie with the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card playoff spot, and Boston also has a game in hand. These teams meet Sunday night in Washington.

The Bruins’ five-game win streak also has put them within striking distance of third place in the Atlantic Division, which is a guaranteed playoff spot. The Detroit Red Wings occupy this position and have just a three-point lead over the Bruins after a 7-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

— David Pastrnak (assist) and Milan Lucic (goal) extended their point streaks to four games in the first period. The Lucic-Spooner-Pastrnak line has been excellent offensively for the Bruins in the 10 games David Krejci has missed since mid-February. [tweet https://twitter.com/bruins_stats/status/576815280929796098 align=”center”]

— Dougie Hamilton’s assist on Lucic’s goal was his 30th helper of the season, which leads the team. His 40 points are the most among NHL defensemen ages 18 to 21.

— The Bruins have scored first in 11 straight games. That’s their longest such streak since February of 1990 when they opened the scoring 12 consecutive times.

— The Bruins won 37 of 64 faceoffs (58 percent), led by Patrice Bergeron (16-for-30, 53 percent) and Gregory Campbell (11-for-16, 69 percent).

— The Penguins earned a 45-41 shot attempt edge over the Bruins at even strength. Boston has lost the puck possession battle at even strength (a sub-50 percent Corsi-for percentage) in four of its five games during this win streak.

— The Bruins’ fourth line played a solid game. Gregory Campbell, Daniel Paille and Max Talbot all were a plus-3 Corsi at even strength despite starting less than 20 percent of their even-strength shifts in the attacking zone. Campbell earned his fifth assist of the season on Zdeno Chara’s empty-net goal late in the third period.

— Boston’s penalty kill went 3-for-3 against the eighth-best power-play unit in the league. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made four shorthanded saves.

— Rask made 30 saves for his third shutout of the season and made Bruins history in the process. [tweet https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/576832233736142848 align=”center”]

— Penguins backup goaltender Thomas Greiss allowed just one goal and made 29 saves for a .966 save percentage. He’s 8-4-3 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.66 goals against average this season.

–Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took the warmup but didn’t play. It appears his absence was more illness-related than an injury. [tweet https://twitter.com/penguins/status/576835459852169217 align=”center”]

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin collided with Bruins center Chris Kelly early in the first period. He re-entered the game later in the opening period but missed the last 40 minutes. [tweet https://twitter.com/penguins/status/576835575732404224 align=”center”]

Rask’s brilliance is behind Boston’s recent surge>>

Thumbnail photo via Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports Images

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