Pens Points Thursday: Rivalry Day

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Pens play their biggest rival today. Tim Thomas set to face the Bruins. Lundqvist gets a much-needed shutout.

The Metropolitan Division has a snazzy name but so far the level of play has been dismal: 10-17-13. We play one of the teams at the very bottom today, but don't let that deceive you. Tonight will be all too familiar and by no means easy.

Kris Letang is nearing return and went through a full practice yesterday, but will be out tonight. Probably the only decision up in the air for Bylsma will be Bortuzzo or Engelland on the third pairing.

Marc-Andre Fleury has started the year 5-0 and the influence of new coach Mike Bales has been evident. Of course it's only been 5 starts and it's a long season, but the work they're putting in is the most important thing.

No Hartnell and Lecavalier still for the Flyers. Tye McGinn and Michael Raffl step up to the plate. AHL call-up McGinn has only been around since the weekend and has potted three goals already skating with Giroux and Voracek. Also, there are some opinions on the Flyers potentially going after Thomas Vanek.

Tim Thomas is set to face his old team that he led to glory in 2011. They’ll see one another on the ice for the first time since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

Henrik Lundqvist earned his 46th career shutout Wednesday night in Rangers' 2-0 win over the Caps. I watched a good part of that game to see that vaunted power play, but not much going. They had a long 5-on-3 (apparently 7th such instance dating back to game 4 of their playoff series with the Rangers), and nada. Watch Joel Ward whiff on this one.

As I was looking at the stat leaders just now, one face caught my attention: that of Josh Harding, league leader in GAA with 0.94 and 3-1 as a starter so far this year. Niklas Backstrom is almost ready to return so Darcy Kuemper, who really had a tough night against Toronto on Tuesday, will be sent back down.

And just because I miss Vokie a lot, and I hope he's on his way to a full recovery, here's that Pop Goes the Goalie video. I don't know what I love more about it: Vokoun's pop off the boards itself, or the way Letang pats his head, then pushes himself up off of it.

My first game of the season tonight. Go Pens.

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