The Bruins will try and regain their dominance this afternoon against a hot Pittsburgh team that is 8-1-0 in their past nine games. However, both teams are out a top forward.
Event: Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Date/Time: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 1 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 17,565), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Saturday's game between the Bruins and the Penguins will be broadcast live on NESN and the NHL Network. The game can also be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with Dave Goucher providing play-by-play, and Bob Beers providing analysis.
Last Time Out: The Bruins suffered their fourth loss in four games against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, getting blanked 3-0.
The ‘Canes scored once in each period, and though the Bruins put up an impressive 47 shots on Cam Ward, none of them found the back of the net, and the B’s themselves admitted they didn’t make it too hard on the Carolina goaltender.
Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask stopped 28-of-31 shots put on him and seemed fairly comfortable in net despite the three goals against.
The Penguins on the other hand have been very successful and were on an eight-game winning streak before Wednesday happened. They lost 1-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Clarke MacArthur netting the only goal in the game.
Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson stopped 23-of-24 shots in the losing effort.
Storyline: Entering this afternoon’s game, both the Bruins and the Penguins each have a top forward out of the lineup with concussion related injuries. Boston forward Nathan Horton and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby will both be away from the ice and will not be able to contribute. In fact, the last game Crosby was seen was the last time these two teams met back on Dec. 5, where Boston ended up taking a 3-1 victory in Pittsburgh.
However, despite Crobsy being out, the Penguins have had quite a bit of success in recent weeks, with the help of Evgeni Malkin. The 25-year-old Russian has 27 goals this season--second best in the NHL--and is first in the league in points with 59.
Perhaps the good news for Bruins fans heading into the game is that the B’s were able to come out with a win against the Penguins last time without the help from the first line. All three of Boston’s goals were scored by the bottom three lines--Tyler Seguin, Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot.
Tim Thomas had to save 45 shots, and with his shaky 5-4-0 record in his last nine starts, it could be a very different game.
Players To Watch:
The only player to score for the Penguins last time out against the Bruins was Matt Cooke who scored late in the third period. However, Pittsburgh has been on a streak and it would be crazy to think Malkin wouldn’t have an impact on this game.
Malkin went on a scoring tear in the eight-game winning streak that gave him 10-4=14 points in that time span.
Someone will have to step up for the Bruins, and like they have been preaching since Thursday, it has to be every person that steps out onto the ice. Shawn Thornton mentioned that the team in ineffective when they carry along players that don’t work hard, and said they need to work their hardest every shift of every game.
Prediction: The Bruins aren’t really in sync right now, and it’s the wrong time for them not to be. With Marc-Andre Fleury most likely in net and with the way their team has been flying, it will be a tough game for the Bruins to try and regain their composure. Final Score: Penguins 4, Bruins 2.
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