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Penguins face tough matchup as they welcome the surging Bruins to town

Boston’s coming off a 7-1 rout of Carolina, a team the Pens laid an egg against last week. Will Pittsburgh disrupt the Bruins momentum?

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins arrive in Pittsburgh today high off the heels of an absolute massacre of the Hurricanes Saturday night. Assistant captain Patrice Bergeron dropped four goals on Carolina before the third period even started, and the Canes, a usually solid defensive team, looked absolutely lost.

Currently sitting second in the Atlantic division behind the gargantuan Lightning, Boston has blown past all the tepid expectations placed on it in the preseason and shown that its a capable Cup contender this year. Many Boston-affiliated media sites predicted that, since the Bruins management didn’t bring in any new additions to the team, they’d perform just about as well as last season. The 23-10-6 B’s proved that they’re not “too thin” and are actually making an excellent run into the postseason.

This doesn’t bode well for the Penguins, who, though are coming off a pretty spectacular win of their own against the Islanders, have of course been struggling. What Boston does super well is play hard in all three zones — something Pittsburgh, especially defensively, hasn’t proven it can consistently do. The Bruins also distribute scoring throughout all four lines; another smudge in the Pens scouting report.

Back in November, in the two teams’ first meeting in the 2017-18 season, Pittsburgh managed to rallied back from both a 2-0 and 3-1 deficit. Sidney Crosby tallied a goal and an assist, and Matt Murray had 30 saves. However, the Penguins would eventually go on to lose 4-3 off a late dagger by David Pastrnak and ultimately drop their third straight.

My favorite moment was actually in Mike Sullivan’s post-game media conference, where he went on to state, “I think everybody could be better. We need to be better if we’re going to get the results. We need to be more consistent. We can’t show up after the first 20 minutes of the game and expect to win games consistently.”

Sound familiar?

Though Boston played exceptionally well yesterday, it will be coming into an away arena off the likes of a back-to-back -- something the Penguins, desperate to earn as many game points as possible, can take advantage of. Pittsburgh has Crosby seeimingly playing like Crosby again, a pure sniper in Daniel Sprong assisting with the lack of scoring, and a surprising pop of offense coming from its fourth line.

If the Penguins can break this year’s standard of playing poorly right after having a phenomenal game and ride off the coattails of their seemingly perfect showing in Brooklyn, tonight’s matchup will be huge in adding to a critical need for a win streak to get back into playoff berth talks. Since it scored at will last night, hopefully Boston doesn’t have any goals left in the tank.

One can only hope.