Who: Pittsburgh Penguins (43-23-11, 97 points, 3rd place Metropolitan Division) @ Boston Bruins (47-24-5, 99 points, 4th place Atlantic Division)
When: 7:00 p.m. Eastern
How to Watch: AT&T Sportsnet for the Western PA area (ATTSN-PT), New England Sports Network for the visitors (NESN), ESPN+
Opponent Track: The Bruins had one game since beating the Pens 2-1 on Saturday, they defeated St. Louis on the road 3-2 (OT) on Tuesday night before trekking back east to Pittsburgh tonight.
Pens Path Ahead: After this game, the Pens set off on their final road trip of the season that will see them play weekend afternoon games in Detroit on Saturday and Philadelphia on Sunday. Pittsburgh then returns home to finish the season next week against the Oilers and Blue Jackets.
Season Series: The Penguins and Bruins first met in Boston on February 8 for a rare Pittsburgh win in Boston. The B’s repaid the favor on Saturday, scoring twice early and hanging on for the 2-1 win. This will be the third and final game between the two this season.
Hidden Stat: The Bruins have scored exactly two goals in regulation in each of their last six games (tacking on a third goal in OT last time out against the Blues).
Trivia Question: Sidney Crosby enters tonight with nine game winning goals on the season. Only four Penguins have ever had 10+ GWG in a season for the team, can you name them? (Hint: Crosby isn’t one of them but two are easy ones, two of them are more difficult...As a super hint: both of the harder ones share Crosby as a Stanley Cup winning teammate)
SBN Counterpart Blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder
—Seemingly everyone is dinged up as teams head for the finish line, and the Bruins are no different in that regard. Patrice Bergeron hasn’t been practicing lately in between games but has been playing. It might be wearing on his performance though, he only has one point (a goal) in the last five games. Perhaps more tellingly, Bergeron’s typically excellent faceoff work has suffered: he only won 12 of 26 draws against the Pens on Saturday. The first game against Pittsburgh in February, Bergeron won 14/18 (77%).
—The Penguins aren’t the only team coming into this game with a cold power play. The Bruins have not scored on the man advantage in the last eight games, going 0-for-27 largely without the services of David Pastrnak (who has missed the last seven games). Pasta leads the B’s with 14 PPG this season.
Tuesday Game Lines
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall - Erik Haula - Curtis Lazar
Trent Frederic - Charlie Coyle - Craig Smith
Nick Foligno - Tomas Nosek - Marc McLaughlin
Matt Grzelcyk / Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly / Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort / Connor Clifton
Goalies: Jeremy Swayman (Troy Grosenick as backup)
Scratches: Jesper Froden, Joshua Brown, Jack Studnicka, Anton Blidh, Jack Ahcan, David Pastrnak (day-to-day injury), Hampus Lindholm (injury), Linus Ullmark (injured)
IR: Jakub Zboril
—Boston was thrilled with their second period on Tuesday against the Blues, with coach Bruce Cassidy calling it, “one of our best periods all year in terms of how we played the game”. The Bruins out-shot the Blues 17-9 in that middle frame, and were up 2-0 in the period until giving up a goal in the very last seconds of the period.
—The good news for the Pens is that Pastrnak, Lindholm and Ullmark were all left behind in Boston for this road trip and none will be playing tonight. The Bruins have already announced Jeremy Swayman will be starting his third game in a row tonight. Swayman stopped 22/23 against the Pens on Saturday, and has only given up three total goals in the two full games where he has been pressed into duty as impromptu starter, winning both of them.
Advanced stats matchup
—Boston’s defensive chops are really impressive. As mentioned above, they held the Pens to just 23 shots on goal on Saturday, well below Pittsburgh’s season average of 34.5. The Blues didn’t fare any better on Tuesday, with Boston only allowing them 22 shots on goal. Moral of the story: if the Pens find themselves in a shooting position, they should definitely take it, because they’re not likely to get a ton of unscreened looks in shooting areas from this Boston team.
And now for the Pens..
Wednesday Practice Lines
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell
Jason Zucker - Jeff Carter - Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen - Teddy Blueger - Brock McGinn
Evan Rodrigues - Brian Boyle - Kasperi Kapanen
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel
Goalies: Casey DeSmith and Louis Domingue
Scratches: Mark Friedman, Tristan Jarry (week-to-week), Nathan Beaulieu (LTIR), Evgeni Malkin (fourth game of a four game suspension)
—It was back to the old defensive pairs for the Pens this week as they still try to find how to put the pieces together in the right way, but the forward group should be the same for one more game, with Malkin able to return on Saturday.
—Yesterday was team picture day, and some anecdotally poor evidence with Jarry being out on the ice, but with a boot/cast on his right foot and shuffling without putting weight on it with the aid of scooters and chairs and teammate assistance to get on and off the ice. Reports of a broken foot certainly look accurate, with Jarry seemingly not very close at the moment to being able to play and playoffs starting 11 days from today.
Milestone and streak watch
- Sidney Crosby has scored the last two game winning goals in the last two Pens’ wins. Crosby is up to a career-high 9 GWG this season and has 78 in his career, pitting him in a tie with Malkin and Jaromir Jagr for first in franchise history.
- Crosby is at 29 goals on the season, one shy of his 10th career 30-goal season.
- Danton Heinen is riding a three-game goal streak, and his goal on Saturday against Boston marked his 17th of the season, setting a personal season-high. Heinen has 3G+0A in the two games this season against his former team.
- Jake Guentzel already has a career-high 78 point season and is looking to crack the 40-goal mark for the second time in his career. Guentzel enters tonight with 37 goals on the campaign.
Trivia Answer: Who are the four double-digit Penguin GWG scorers in a season? The easy answers: Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr (who did it twice)...The tougher answers: Petr Sykora hit 10 GWG in 2008-09 and Phil Kessel matched that a decade later in 2018-19.