Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins 03/12/13

Pittsburgh Penguins James Neal

James Neal by Dan4th

The Boston Bruins will conclude a quick 2 game road trip as they visit the Steel City tonight. Boston will face the Pittsburgh Penguins fresh off a 3-2 OT victory in Ottawa last night. This brings their excellent road record to 9-1-2. The first puck drop of the evening is scheduled for 7:30ET in the CONSUL Energy Center and the game will be carried nationally on the NBC Sports Network.

Pittsburgh (18-8-0) last played on Sunday night. In that one, they handily defeated the New York Islanders 6-1. They accomplished this without center Evengi Malkin who is expected to be out at least a week due to an upper body injury suffered in Saturdays 5-4 OT victory at Toronto. The Pens have now won 5 straight. Pittsburgh also owns a 3 game win streak over the Bruins.

Boston (17-3-3) is on a 3 game win streak of their own after the shootout triumph against the Senators and “W’s” versus Toronto and Philadelphia last week. Goal tending could be key to tonight’s outcome. The Bruins Tuukka Rask has been outstanding in 18 appearances this season posting a 13-2-3 record with a goals against average of 1.96 and a save percentage of 92. However, Anton Khudobin may get the start for Boston in this back to back game scenario. He has allowed in 2.41 goals per game. This will not bode well against the Penguins mighty offense.

Pittsburgh with perennial all-star/ future hall of famer, Sidney Crosby lead the NHL in goals scored at 3.7 per game and are ranked 3rd in power play percentage at 26%. “Sid the Kid” himself leads the league in overall scoring with 45 points (12 goals, 33 assists). On Sunday in the Pens win against the Islanders he had a remarkable 5 assists in that game alone. He now has at least 1 point per game in 9 straight. To put things in perspective, if this were a normal 82 game schedule he would be on pace to register 142 points. Chris Kunitz leads the Pens with 17 goals.

Marc-Andre Fleury should mind the net for Pittsburgh tonight and has struggled of late himself. In his last 4 starts his goals against is a hefty 4.42 and he was pulled from last Thursday’s game after yielding 4 scores to the hated Flyers in the first period alone. That said he is 6-2-0 in his last 8 starts facing the Bruins and has allowed just 1.75 goals against them.

While Pittsburgh seems at times to score at will, they are somewhat defensively challenged. They are 21st in the NHL in goals against as a unit giving up just under 3 a game. Their penalty kill is even worse ranked 22nd. Boston breaks the top 10 in goals scored at 2.9 but only show at 23rd on 5 skaters to 4 during power plays. Defensively they are solid, giving up only 2.1 goals per contest and are best in hockey on the power play. Pat Bergeron is their main offensive threat. I like Pittsburgh at home in a close one, especially if Boston goalie Rask is on the bench instead of in front of the net.

Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins

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