Who:Pittsburgh Penguins (24-11-2, 50 points, 2nd place in the Eastern Division) @ Boston Bruins (18-10-5, 41 points, 4th place in the Eastern Division)
When: 1:00 p.m. eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet in Pittsburgh, NESN in Boston, NHL Network nationally
Opponent Track: Boston suffered the 4-1 loss on Thursday night. Their next five games ahead are interesting: Philly, @Philly, @Washington, @Philly, Washington.
Pens path ahead: With the NCAA coming to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four, the Pens are cast out to the road. This is the second game of a six game road trip that will eat up the first half of April. The Pens get another lovely two day break until they head to Manhattan to play the Rangers on Tuesday and Thursday. Then a back-to-back to play the Devils in Newark is next Friday and then the following Sunday (4/11).
Season Series: Boston is up 3-2 on the season series (though Pittsburgh is a 2-2-1 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 2-1. In game 6 on Thursday the Pens won 4-1. After today, the Pens and Bruins will meet up again when Boston comes back to Pittsburgh on April 25th and 27th.
Recent History: The Pens famously earned their first win in Boston on Thursday for the first time since November 2014, going 0-8-2 in Beantown before then. They probably won’t be too mad this is the last regular season game of the year in Boston.
SBN Team Counterpart: Check out Stanley Cup of Chowder for the latest news to know about the Bruins.
Player Stats at a Glance
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – David Krejci – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – Sean Kuraly – Charlie Coyle
Trent Frederic – Jack Studnicka – Zach Senyshyn/Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk / Charlie McAvoy
Jeremy Lauzon / Kevan Miller
Jakub Zboril / Steven Kampfer
Possible starting goalie: Jaroslav Halak
Scratches: Chris Wagner, Tuukka Rask, Jarred Tinordi, Connor Clifton, Brendan Carlo
Recent NHL COVID list: Jake DeBrusk
IR: John Moore, Kevan Miller, Ondrej Kase
—The Bruins split up their lines a bit at practice yesterday. The good news for them is it looks like Kuraly will make his return from a COVID absence. The bad news is there was no Carlo, who left injured last game. They’re looking for some new forward combos and fresh results, because...
Lots of cold streaks
The Bruins season feels in a precarious point right now, with several of their key players in slumps at the same time. As SCoC points out:
Patrice Bergeron has two goals since the start of March, and zero in his last nine games.
David Pastrnak hasn’t scored in his last five games.
Brad Marchand has scored in each of the last two games, but prior to that, he was scoreless in eight straight.
Away from the top line, Charlie Coyle hasn’t scored in 13 games, and David Krejci has just a single goal on the season.
That’s a lot of dry spells all at once.
It appears that what we’ve seen in the last eight to ten games is what happens when the Bruins’ first line isn’t able to carry the rest of the team.
Secondary/tertiary scoring has been an issue for this team for years, and has remained an issue this season; however, the Bergeron line was doing enough to cover up those issues earlier in the season.
Now, with the big guns going cold, those issues are rearing their ugly head once again.
And now for the Pens..
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker - Jared McCann - Evan Rodrigues
Zach Aston-Reese - Frederick Gaudreau - Brandon Tanev
Sam Lafferty - Mark Jankowski - Anthony Angello
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Mike Matheson / Cody Ceci
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Possible starting goalie: Casey DeSmith
Scratches: Juuso Riikola, Chad Ruhwedel, Colton Sceviour
IR: Evgeni Malkin, Mark Friedman, Teddy Blueger, Brandon Tanev, Kasperi Kapanen
Taxi Squad: Yannick Weber, Emil Larmi, Radim Zohorna, Justin Almeida
—The Pens held a brief practice yesterday, and the good news is that Teddy Blueger participated in full fashion. There were no line rushes listed, but it’s a possibility he could play as soon as today.
—Tristan Jarry also practiced fully and may be able to serve as at least the backup today. Given how well Casey DeSmith has been playing, it would seem more than reasonable to give him the start again, regardless of Jarry’s status.
Call Will Ferrell — we’re going streaking!!
Unsurprisingly, the Pens have been really good in their five game winning streak. From the team:
The Penguins kept up their winning ways Thursday night in Boston, picking up their fifth-consecutive win. Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak is the longest-active win streak in the NHL, and with a win today, the team can equal its season-long six-game win streak from Mar. 6-15 (6-0-0). The Penguins are also only one of five teams in the league (also Carolina, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Vegas) to string together multiple win streaks of five-plus games this season.
A huge reason for the Penguins success during this stretch is that they’re receiving contributions from the entirety of their lineup. Thirteen different Penguins have scored a goal and 19 have recorded a point during their five-game winning streak, while six players have multiple goals.
During the streak, Pittsburgh is averaging 4.20 goals per game (21 G in 5 GP) and have also allowed just seven goals total during this stretch. The team’s 1.40 goals-against average in this time frame is lowest in the NHL (min. 3 GP).