The Pittsburgh Penguins will head to the TD Garden to take on the Boston Bruins for the third and final time in 2016-17 on Thursday evening. The Penguins have claimed two victories over the Bruins this season and will be looking to add one more win to complete the season sweep.
The last meeting between the clubs took place on Jan. 22 in Pittsburgh and the Penguins came away with a 5-1 victory. Heading into the third period, the Penguins were leading 2-1 but busted the game wide open in the third frame with three unanswered goals.
After losing to the Penguins, the Bruins were able to capture a win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, snapping a four-game losing streak. The Bruins will be trying to build off of their win against the Red Wings to help propel them back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture before the All-Star break.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins
TD Garden-7:00 p.m. E.S.T
Broadcast Channels-NESN, ROOT, TVAS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
2016-17 Season Series: Penguins Lead 2-0
Pittsburgh Penguins-30-12-5- 65 Points
Road Record: 10-9-3
Hot Players: Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Conor Sheary
Key Injuries: Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Daniel Sprong, Matt Cullen
Conor Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Jake Guentzel-Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin-Nick Bonino-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Eric Fehr-Scott Wilson
Ian Cole-Justin Schultz
Olli Maatta-Trevor Daley
Brian Dumoulin-Chad Ruhwedel
Boston Bruins-24-21-6- 54 Points
Home Record: 11-12-0
Hot Players: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak
Key Injuries: None
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano-David Krejci-David Backes
Matt Beleskey-Ryan Spooner-Riley Nash
Tim Schaller-Dominic Moore-Jimmy Hayes
Zdeno Chara-Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug-Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller-Colin Miller
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] The Penguins have had to deal with injuries lately and will be without star forward Evgeni Malkin who is dealing with a lower-body injury. Malkin has recorded 22 goals and 54 points this season. Defenseman Kris Letang will most likely miss his sixth game in a row tonight as well, due to a leg injury and forward Patric Hornqvist will be a game-time decision, although he did participate in the morning skate.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Penguins forward Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in goals this season with 28 and is second in the NHL with 54 points despite playing in just 41 games. Crosby has been heating up lately with 12 points in his last 10 games and registered three points against the Bruins in their most recent meeting on Jan. 22.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Bruins forward David Pastrnak ended an 18-game scoreless streak with his overtime winner on Tuesday against the Detroit Red Wings. In 44 games this season, Pastrnak has tallied 2o goals and 36 points including one goal and two assists against the Penguins.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] On Tuesday evening, Bruins forward Brad Marchand tripped Red Wings defender Niklas Kronwall behind the play, a move that was deemed dangerous by the NHL. This afternoon, Marchand had a phone hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and received a fine of $10,000, but was not suspended and will be in the Bruins’ lineup.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Due to the injury to Malkin, the Penguins recalled center Carter Rowney from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Head coach Mike Sullivan stated his lineup against the Bruins will not be finalized until game time, but if Rowney gets the nod, it will be his first game in the NHL. The 27-year old forward has 21 points in 24 games this season in the AHL.
In the last game between the Penguins and Bruins, the Penguins first line of Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary dominated much of the play. They were responsible for three of the five goals their team scored as the Bruins did not have an answer for them. Fans should expect to see Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara and Brandon Carlo matchup against the Penguins’ first line all game to try and slow down their production.
On top of slowing down the first unit, the Bruins will have to stay disciplined and stay out of the penalty box because the Penguins’ power play is one of the best in the NHL with a success rate of 22.84 percent. The Bruins only received one penalty against the Penguins on Sunday, but one chance is all the Penguins needed to score. If the Bruins end up on the penalty kill often, it could be a long night at the TD Garden.
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.