Who: Boston Bruins (27-13-6, 60 points, 4th place in the Eastern Division) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (31-14-3, 65 points, 1st place in the Eastern Division)
When: 3:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: National game on NBC
Opponent Track: The last time the Pens saw Boston was on April 4th (a 7-5 Boston win). Since then the Bruins are an impressive 8-3-1, and they were on a six game winning streak until hitting a bump in the road and surprisingly dropping a 6-4 game to Buffalo on Thursday in their last game.
Pens path ahead: Boston sticks around to play again at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night, then Pittsburgh hits the road to play games in Washington on Thursday and Saturday 5/1, followed by two games in Philly next week on 5/3 and 5/4.
Season Series: Boston is up 4-2 on the season series (though Pittsburgh is a 2-3-1 from their perspective). The Bruins won 3-2 in OT back on January 26th in the first PIT/BOS game of the season. And then on January 28th the Bruins took a 4-1 decision. The Pens struck back at home for a 4-1 win on 3/15 and then Boston took the game on 3/16 by a score of 2-1. In game 6 on April 1st, the Pens won 4-1, but the Bruins bounced back to win 7-5 two days later. Today and Tuesday will be the last PIT/BOS games of the regular season.
Recent History: It’s not been great for the Pens against the Bruins, a team that they have traditionally struggled to get results from, especially in the city of Boston.
Hidden Stat: Today ends a back-to-back situation for Pittsburgh. So far this season, the Penguins are 11-3-1 totals in b-2-b’s (8-0-0 the first game; 3-3-1 the second game).
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Stanley Cup of Chowder for the latest news to know about the Bruins.
Player Stats at a Glance
—Youngster Jeremy Swayman came up and did an excellent job when both Rask and Halak were unavailable for the Bruins recently. Fortunately for them, they’ve had a return to health for both of their top goalies.
—Taylor Hall is always going to draw a ton of attention and eyeballs into what he does, and so far he’s been doing pretty well to start his Boston stint. A lot of his analytics and advanced stats hinted that while his finishing and teammate troubles hindered a pretty good process to start the season with Buffalo. Obviously no point of his Sabres experience can be considered a success, but as a supporting player in Boston he may fit in a lot better.
—Quickly, Brad Marchand has passed Sidney Crosby for the Eastern division’s highest scoring player. Marchand feasted when the Bruins played the weak Sabres last week, recording seven points (4G+3A) in the last four games, the last three coming against Buffalo.
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall - David Krejci - Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly - Curtis Lazar - Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk / Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly / Kevan Miller
Jeremy Lauzon / Steve Kampfer
Possible starting goalie: Tuukka Rask
Scratches: Jarred Tinordi, Connor Clifton, Jakub Zboril, Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh
IR: John Moore, Ondrej Kase, Brandon Carlo
—While Hall draws most of the attention as far as new additions, Mike Reilly was an under the radar but possibly just as important trade deadline pickup for Boston. Reilly has averaged playing almost 22 minutes per game so far and has chipped in four assists in the last seven games. The Bruins have been extremely banged up on defense lately, so getting a depth piece was a low-key important pickup.
And now for the Pens..
Saturday game lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jared McCann - Jeff Carter - Jason Zucker
Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Kasperi Kapanen
Colton Sceviour - Mark Jankowski - Evan Rodrigues
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Possible starting goalie: Tristan Jarry
Scratches: Radim Zohorna, Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Friedman, Sam Lafferty, Frederick Gaudreau (injured)
IR: Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Tanev
Taxi Squad: Juuso Riikola, Yannick Weber, Emil Larmi, Maxime Lagace
—This will be a strong challenge for the Penguins. Bergeron does well to keep Crosby bottled up, and the Pens usually never run from that matchup to allow that strong line to go against a lesser Pittsburgh line.