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Penguins vs. Bruins Game Preview

Friday, 03.04.2011 / 10:59 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Bruins Game Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall:
37-21-8-82
Home: 20-11-2-42
Road: 17-10-6-40

WHEN: March 5, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: TD Garden
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Boston Bruins
Overall:
38-19-4-83
Home: 16-12-3-35
Road:
22-7-4-48

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins 
 
      
Milan Lucic
LW  -  #17
  28 Goals
  19 Assists
  47 Points
• His 28 goals – a number that eclipses his previous personal-best of 18 set through 72 games in 2008-09 – are the most by a Bruin since that same season, when Marco Sturm paced the team with 22 tallies.

• His seven game-winning goals rank third (tied) in the league.

• Is in his fourth full season with Boston, the team that drafted him in the second round (50th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
 
Brad Marchand
C  -  #63
  19 Goals
  16 Assists
  35 Points
• The rookie forward, whose plus-23 rating is fifth (tied) in the league, has nine goals and 15 points in his last 17 contests.

• Is tied for second in the NHL with four shorthanded tallies and five shorthanded points despite averaging just 1:31 shorthanded minutes per contest.

• Is one goal shy of becoming the first rookie to hit the 21-goal mark since Blake Wheeler scored 21 in 2008-09.
 
Adam McQuaid
D  -  #54
  1 goal
  11 assists
  12 points
• The 24-year-old’s blueliner’s plus-27 rating leads the entire NHL.

• Made the Bruins roster out of training camp in September for the first time in his fourth pro season, spending two full seasons with Providence of the American Hockey League from 2007-08 before splitting time between them and Boston last season.

• His first NHL goal – his only tally of the season thus far – was the game winner in a 3-0 win over Montreal at the Bell Centre.
After taking on a scorching New Jersey squad on Friday, the Penguins will have to do battle with another red-hot team on an impressive run when they face Boston on Saturday. The Bruins are currently on a seven-game winning streak that’s moved them within three points behind Philadelphia for the league lead. Before topping Tampa Bay by a score of 2-1 on Thursday, the Bruins went a perfect 6-0 on their six-game road swing that lasted from Feb. 17-27 – the Bruins’ first perfect six-game road trip since February of 1972.  

Boston is a team that’s been firing on all cylinders for the majority of the 2010-11 campaign under the direction of head coach Claude Julien, as their longest winless streaks have never exceeded three games. They boast impressive depth in all assets of their game, because not only are the Bruins the NHL’s stingiest team – allowing just 2.25 goals against per game – but they also rank fifth in the league with an average of 3.06 goals per game.

The Bruins are a team that’s typically known for their defensive prowess, eminent in the fact that they’ve allowed just 10 goals during their seven-game winning streak. Boston is led by the absolutely dominant goaltending of Tim Thomas, who leads all NHL goaltenders with a gaudy 1.95 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Tuukka Rask has been solid between the pipes as well, with a .921 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average through 22 games played. The Bruins went on to deepen an already steady blue line to prepare for the stretch run with the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle from Toronto on Feb. 18. Kaberle is a strong-skating, puck-moving veteran blueliner that’s a welcome addition to a defensive corps anchored by former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara.

But their recent surge has been fueled in part by contributions from all over their forward lineup, led by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron. After going on a 12-game goalless drought from Dec. 18 to Jan. 17, Lucic has regained the scoring touch that has him smashing his previous personal-bests in terms of production, notching 13 points (7G-6A) in his last 10 games. Although Bergeron won’t play on Saturday due to personal reasons, he has been by and large Boston’s most consistent contributor so far this season, as he has 26 points (13G-13A) in his last 26 contests and leads the team with 50 points (21G-29A).
  • This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between Pittsburgh and Boston. The Penguins are looking for a series split after dropping the first two games to the Bruins, both at CONSOL Energy Center, by a score of 7-4 on Nov. 10 and by a score of 4-2 on Jan. 10. Pittsburgh then defeated Boston at TD Garden by a score of 3-2 on Jan. 15, with Jordan Staal netting the game-winning goal. Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins in that game.
  • Since Feb. 1, eight of the Penguins’ past 16 contests have been decided in overtime or a shootout, with Pittsburgh going an even 4-4 in those games. Each of the team’s last three games and six of the previous eight have stretched beyond 60 minutes. For the season, Pittsburgh is 9-8 when the game stretches beyond regulation.
  • The Bruins, who lead the NHL with a plus-48 goal differential, have eight players with a plus-minus rating of 20 or higher. Defenseman Adam McQuaid leads the entire NHL with a plus-27 rating, while defenseman Adam Ference and forward Nathan Horton each have plus-24 ratings, forwards Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are both at plus-23, forward Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Zdeno Chara each have a plus-21 rating and forward David Krejci has a plus-20 rating.
  • Bruins forward Mark Recchi tied Scott Stevens for sixth place on the NHL’s all-time games played list with his 1,635th game on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Recchi, 43, was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round (67th overall) in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins, tallying 252 points (104G-148A) in 225 games played in a black and gold sweater.
  • Boston recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from Providence of the American Hockey League on Friday afternoon on an emergency basis. Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, has been previously recalled to the Bruins twice – both times for games against the Penguins on January 10 (his NHL debut) and January 15.

 

      
Draw More Penalties: Head coach Dan Bylsma stressed before the Penguins’ tilt against New Jersey on Friday that the Penguins needed to get to the power play more, and this philosophy still holds true against a stingy Bruins squad that doesn’t concede much at even strength. While the Bruins surrender just 2.25 goals against per game – which is first in the league – their penalty kill is clicking at just an 81.4-percent success rate at home, a number that ranks fifth-worst in the NHL.

Get to the Blue Paint:
It doesn’t matter how hot a goalie is playing – they can’t stop a puck if they can’t see it. The Penguins need to get bodies in front of the net – especially the 6-foot-4 , 220-pound Jordan Staal and the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Mike Rupp – and wreak havoc around the blue paint regardless of who starts between the pipes for the Bruins. Not only will the Penguins get Boston’s goalie off their game, but creating traffic in front could open the door for some lucky bounces to go Pittsburgh’s way.
F Arron Asham, concussion (IR)


F Mike Comrie, hip (IR)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)

F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)


F Chris Kunitz, lower body (day-to-day)


F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss remainder of season)
D Brooks Orpik, hand (4 weeks)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (IR)
C Patrice Bergeron, personal reasons (day-to-day)
D Andrew Ference, leg (day-to-day)
D Steven Kampfer, mild concussion (one week)
C Marc Savard, concussion (will miss remainder of season)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Lucic (28)
A
Letang (38) Krejci (39)
PTS
Crosby (66) Bergeron (50)
PIM
Rupp (111) Thornton (113)
+/-
Crosby (+20) McQuaid (+27)
PP
Crosby (10) Ryder (8)
SH
Cooke (3)
Marchand (4)
W/L
Fleury (28-16-5)
Thomas (29-8-6)
GAA
Johnson (2.24) Thomas (1.95)
SVP
Johnson (.918) Thomas (.940)

Tyler Kennedy - Kennedy scored his 15th goal of the season in the Penguins’ 2-1 overtime setback to New Jersey on Friday, tying his career-high set in 2008-09 through 67 games. Kennedy has stepped up offensively over the past month with the influx of injuries to Pittsburgh’s lineup, scoring eight goals and 10 points in his last 15 contests. He’s skated for 15-plus minutes in all but one of those games, well above his average of 13:56 minutes per game. Kennedy played a season-high 19:15 minutes on Feb. 11 versus New York Islanders and 19:12 minutes on Feb. 21 versus Washington.
 
Nathan Horton - Horton is currently on a four-game point streak that’s seen him tally three goals (including the game-winning tally on March 1 in a 1-0 win over Ottawa) and an assist over that span. After just scoring once in 20 games from Dec. 15 to Jan. 26, Horton now has seven points (4G-3A) over the Bruins’ seven-game winning stretch and has 14 points (6G-8A) in his last 14 games. Horton, in his first season with Boston after being traded from Florida last July, has been thriving on the right wing of a line with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic. Horton now has 18 goals on the season and his plus-24 rating leads all NHL forwards.
 
 
 
 

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WHEN: March 5, 2011 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: TD Garden
WATCH: FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

After taking on a scorching New Jersey squad on Friday, the Penguins will have to do battle with another red-hot team on an impressive run when they face Boston on Saturday. The Bruins are currently on a seven-game winning streak that's moved them within three points behind Philadelphia for the league lead. Before topping Tampa Bay by a score of 2-1 on Thursday, the Bruins went a perfect 6-0 on their six-game road swing that lasted from Feb. 17-27 – the Bruins' first perfect six-game road trip since February of 1972.

Boston is a team that's been firing on all cylinders for the majority of the 2010-11 campaign under the direction of head coach Claude Julien, as their longest winless streaks have never exceeded three games. They boast impressive depth in all assets of their game, because not only are the Bruins the NHL's stingiest team – allowing just 2.25 goals against per game – but they also rank fifth in the league with an average of 3.06 goals per game.

The Bruins are a team that's typically known for their defensive prowess, eminent in the fact that they've allowed just 10 goals during their seven-game winning streak. Boston is led by the absolutely dominant goaltending of Tim Thomas, who leads all NHL goaltenders with a gaudy 1.95 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Tuukka Rask has been solid between the pipes as well, with a .921 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average through 22 games played. The Bruins went on to deepen an already steady blue line to prepare for the stretch run with the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle from Toronto on Feb. 18. Kaberle is a strong-skating, puck-moving veteran blueliner that's a welcome addition to a defensive corps anchored by former Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara.

But their recent surge has been fueled in part by contributions from all over their forward lineup, led by Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron. After going on a 12-game goalless drought from Dec. 18 to Jan. 17, Lucic has regained the scoring touch that has him smashing his previous personal-bests in terms of production, notching 13 points (7G-6A) in his last 10 games. Although Bergeron won't play on Saturday due to personal reasons, he has been by and large Boston's most consistent contributor so far this season, as he has 26 points (13G-13A) in his last 26 contests and leads the team with 50 points (21G-29A).


INTERESTING STATS

* This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between Pittsburgh and Boston. The Penguins are looking for a series split after dropping the first two games to the Bruins, both at CONSOL Energy Center, by a score of 7-4 on Nov. 10 and by a score of 4-2 on Jan. 10. Pittsburgh then defeated Boston at TD Garden by a score of 3-2 on Jan. 15, with Jordan Staal netting the game-winning goal. Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis also scored for the Penguins in that game.

* Since Feb. 1, eight of the Penguins' past 16 contests have been decided in overtime or a shootout, with Pittsburgh going an even 4-4 in those games. Each of the team's last three games and six of the previous eight have stretched beyond 60 minutes. For the season, Pittsburgh is 9-8 when the game stretches beyond regulation.

* The Bruins, who lead the NHL with a plus-48 goal differential, have eight players with a plus-minus rating of 20 or higher. Defenseman Adam McQuaid leads the entire NHL with a plus-27 rating, while defenseman Adam Ference and forward Nathan Horton each have plus-24 ratings, forwards Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are both at plus-23, forward Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Zdeno Chara each have a plus-21 rating and forward David Krejci has a plus-20 rating.

* Bruins forward Mark Recchi tied Scott Stevens for sixth place on the NHL's all-time games played list with his 1,635th game on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Recchi, 43, was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round (67th overall) in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. He spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins, tallying 252 points (104G-148A) in 225 games played in a black and gold sweater.

* Boston recalled defenseman Matt Bartkowski from Providence of the American Hockey League on Friday afternoon on an emergency basis. Bartkowski, a Pittsburgh native, has been previously recalled to the Bruins twice – both times for games against the Penguins on January 10 (his NHL debut) and January 15.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Draw More Penalties: Head coach Dan Bylsma stressed before the Penguins' tilt against New Jersey on Friday that the Penguins needed to get to the power play more, and this philosophy still holds true against a stingy Bruins squad that doesn't concede much at even strength. While the Bruins surrender just 2.25 goals against per game – which is first in the league – their penalty kill is clicking at just an 81.4-percent success rate at home, a number that ranks fifth-worst in the NHL.

Get to the Blue Paint: It doesn't matter how hot a goalie is playing – they can't stop a puck if they can't see it. The Penguins need to get bodies in front of the net – especially the 6-foot-4 , 220-pound Jordan Staal and the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Mike Rupp – and wreak havoc around the blue paint regardless of who starts between the pipes for the Bruins. Not only will the Penguins get Boston's goalie off their game, but creating traffic in front could open the door for some lucky bounces to go Pittsburgh's way.


WHO'S HOT

Tyler Kennedy - Kennedy scored his 15th goal of the season in the Penguins' 2-1 overtime setback to New Jersey on Friday, tying his career-high set in 2008-09 through 67 games. Kennedy has stepped up offensively over the past month with the influx of injuries to Pittsburgh's lineup, scoring eight goals and 10 points in his last 15 contests. He's skated for 15-plus minutes in all but one of those games, well above his average of 13:56 minutes per game. Kennedy played a season-high 19:15 minutes on Feb. 11 versus New York Islanders and 19:12 minutes on Feb. 21 versus Washington.

Nathan Horton - Horton is currently on a four-game point streak that's seen him tally three goals (including the game-winning tally on March 1 in a 1-0 win over Ottawa) and an assist over that span. After just scoring once in 20 games from Dec. 15 to Jan. 26, Horton now has seven points (4G-3A) over the Bruins' seven-game winning stretch and has 14 points (6G-8A) in his last 14 games. Horton, in his first season with Boston after being traded from Florida last July, has been thriving on the right wing of a line with center David Krejci and left wing Milan Lucic. Horton now has 18 goals on the season and his plus-24 rating leads all NHL forwards.


Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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