BOSTON — The Bruins routed the Pittsburgh Penguins by a combined score of 9-2 in the teams’ only two meetings this season. They’ll see a much-improved Penguins team Wednesday night.
Since being blown out by Boston in both ends of a home-and-home back in mid-December, Pittsburgh has turned it around, going 15-6-4 over its last 25 games to remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Penguins enter Wednesday’s tilt at TD Garden in possession of the East’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Bruins in the conference standings.
“To me, honestly, two points are important no matter if they’re two points behind us or four or five,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said Wednesday morning. “Every point is important, and we have to keep looking at it that way.”
The Penguins have been bolstered of late by goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s return from injury and the lofty scoring pace set by star center Sidney Crosby, who has racked up 29 points over his last 21 games.
Injured forwards Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bonino skated Wednesday morning but will not play against the Bruins.
Boston, meanwhile, is looking to translate its road success into points on home ice, on which it has gone just 12-15-3 this season. The Bruins have not scored a home win over a team currently in possession of a playoff spot since they shut out the Penguins 3-0 on Dec. 16.
“I think right now, we’re playing a little bit too cute,” center Ryan Spooner said. “Especially at home this year, I think we’ve played a little bit too much like that. On the road, we keep things a lot more simple, and we need to do that here.”
Here are Wednesday’s projected lines and pairings:
BOSTON BRUINS (32-22-6)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Kevan Miller
Joe Morrow — Dennis Seidenberg
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (30-20-8)
Chris Kunitz — Sidney Crosby — Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin — Matt Cullen — Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl/Sergei Plotnikov — Oskar Sundqvist — Eric Fehr
Scott Wilson — Kevin Porter — Conor Sheary
Kris Letang — Olli Maatta
Brian Dumoulin — Trevor Daley
Derrick Pouliot — Ian Cole
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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