Game Day Thread: Boston Bruins @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Bruins vs Penguins

The Bruins are on the road today, visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena as the first game of a three game road trip. Televised on NBC Sports.

The Bruins were great in their post-deadline home series, winning all 6 games in a row, with only one of the 6 (vs the Hurricanes) going to overtime. This extends their point streak to 19 games, with a record of 21-3-5 since new year’s day. Tuukka Rask is also on a 19 game points streak, having a record of 16-0-3 in his last 19 starts.
Today is Tuukka’s 32nd birthday – HAPPY BIRTHDAY – but he gets today off.

The Bruins are clearly excited about the point streak.


They also point out that this is the second time in team history the B’s have swept a 6-game home stand. And that they are 10 games into a home winning streak.
Since the Red Wings had a 23 game home win streak in 2011, and the ’79 Flyers had an undefeated streak of 35 games, the Bruins are not at risk of a league record here, but they may very well set a team record. The team record is 23 games (15-0-8) from 1940-41. They also had a streak of 18-0-1-1 in 1929-30 followed by winning their next 2 playoff games.

They now have 93 points, putting them in 2nd place in the league behind division-leading Tampa Bay who are now only 15 points ahead of them at 108 with 14 games remaining. While the Bruins have yet to clinch a playoff spot (indeed, the Bruins just eliminated the league-trailing Senators on Saturday), it seems that the Atlantic division teams are fairly well locked into their playoff positions, with #4 Montreal being 8 points behind #3 Toronto. Only home-ice advantage between Boston and Toronto is really still in play with a 4 point gap.

On the down side, the Bruins have recently suffered a bunch of injuries to some non-trivial players. The most serious being Marcus Johansson, who suffered a lung contusion, and his would-be line mate Jake Debrusk has spent a few days wearing a walking boot rather than playing hockey.

Yesterday they played the Ottawa Senators, and even though the Sens are in last place league-wide, the game was not as one-sided as one would hope. The Bruins created some good offensive pressure in the first period, and only allowed the Senators 6 shots, but the game was still scoreless at the end of 20 minutes.

The scoring opened up about halfway through the second period with this Brad Marchand power-play goal.


You’ll notice that it was Torey Krug who fed Marchy – in an apparent truce in their ongoing social-media battle depicted below

But a minute later, the Sens take the puck behind the Bruins net, but while Tuukka stops Tkachuk’s wraparound attempt, the puck ends up on Pageau’s stick for this scoring shot.


The second period would end tied at 1-1

While the third period started with the Bruins on the power-play, they would not capitalize on it, and the next team to score would be the Senators, bringing them into a 2-1 lead.

Late into the 3rd, Brad Marchand & Dylan DeMelo would get awfully grabby during a puck battle, resulting in a pair of holding penalties. The Bruins are one of the best 4-on-4 teams in the league, and this game was no exception with Chris Wagner being set up by Tory Krug for the tying goal.


It looked like the Bruins were headed to overtime, continuing the point streak, but with just 44 seconds left in regulation time, David Krejci and Danton Heinen have other ideas


This gave the Bruins the lead, 3-2 with under a minute remaining in the game, and eventually the win.

One of the best plays of the game was actually by a fan, rather than a player. A puck sent into the stands was snagged by this guy, with one hand, without spilling his beer, then he hands the puck to a young girl a few rows ahead.

What do the lines look like now?

Well, yeah, they are lines but they’re still jumbled.

Peter Cehlárik came in to play Krejci’s right wing once Marcus Johansson went down with a lung contusion and Lee Stempniak was recalled to play with Jake DeBrusk out with his leg in a walking boot. The Bruins were hopeful that DeBrusk would be able to play today vs the Penguins, but nope. Coach Bruce Cassidy is hopeful that DeBrusk & Johansson will be available sometime soon. David Pastrnak and his broken thumb have been skating at practices this week, but is described as ‘week-to-week’ and will not be available to play. The same can be said of Kevan Miller and his upper body injury. Neither are on the road trip. Tuukka Rask was in net last night, so Jaroslav Halak will play today.

Bruins Forward Lines
Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron

Danton Heinen

Danton Heinen

Peter Cehlárik

Peter Cehlárik

David Krejci

David Krejci

#18 Lee Stempniak

Lee Stempniak

Sean Kuraly

Charlie Coyle

Charlie Coyle

David Backes

David Backes

Joakim Nordstrom

Joakim Nordstrom

Noel Acciari

Noel Acciari

#14 - Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner

Bruins Defensive pairs
Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara

Charlie McAvoy

Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug

Torey Krug

Brandon Carlo

Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk

Matt Grzelcyk

John Moore

John Moore

Bruins Goaltending
#41 Jaroslav Halak (#40 Tuukka Rask)

Tonight’s opponent is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens met the Bruins in December, when they were bouncing back from a poor start to the season, but were not a real playoff threat. They have since gotten their act together and have been hovering around the bottom of the playoff structure in the Eastern Conference. Since that time, they traded away Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan, Tanner Pearson & Jamie Oleksiak and brought in Erik Gudbranson, Nick Bjugstad, and Jared McCann. Their current record is 36-23-9, which is good for 81 points, and 3rd place in the Metropolitan division. They are 4-1-1 in their last six games, splitting the last two in a home-and-home vs the Blue Jackets.
As far as team strengths go, they are 5th in the league in scoring, potting 3.41GF/game but in the middle for goals against, allowing 3.03GA per game. They’ve got the 6th best power play at 24.9% and an average penalty kill of 80.5% (compared to the Bruins 26.8% & 81.5%)
They’ve got a few important injuries in Kris Letang (upper body, illness), Olli Maatta (separated shoulder), Chad Ruhwedel (arm) and Bryan Rust (lower body). Matt Murray played last night, so one would think we’s see Casey DeSmith in goal, but probably not.
(h/t Daily Faceoff and Penguins radio guy Josh Getzoff ):

Penguins Forwards
#59 Jake Guentzel — #87 Sidney Crosby — #12 Dominik Simon
#46 Zach Aston-Reese — #71 Evgeni Malkin — #81 Phil Kessel
#19 Jared McCann — #27 Nick Bjugstad— #72 Patric Hornqvist
#53 Teddy Blueger — #7 Matt Cullen — #10 Garrett Wilson

Penguins Defense
#73 Jack Johnson — #4 Justin Schultz
#8 Brian Dumoulin — #5 Zach Trotman
#28 Marcus Pettersson — #44 Erik Gudbranson

Penguins Goaltending
#30 Matt Murray
(#1 Casey DeSmith)

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About IntentionallyWidenberg

Position: Power Forward. Occupation: I am the Egg Man. Contrary to popular belief, I am not the Walrus.
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Quaider4ever
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Quaider4ever

So are’re telling me there’s a chance!

phonymahoney
Editor
phonymahoney

One more, guys!

phonymahoney
Editor
phonymahoney

This is frustrating

phonymahoney
Editor
phonymahoney

I forgot Jack Johnson played for them now

phonymahoney
Editor
phonymahoney

Nice turnover, Z