The Boston Bruins weren’t happy about their effort in their first game against the Penguins this season at the CONSOL Energy Center, so one should expect a whole different team at home vs. Pittsburgh.
Aside from the obvious reasons to show up, there’s also the fact that Boston has upped its intensity quotient in the last couple of games since getting pushed hard by the St. Louis Blues last week. So a Monday night grudge game should bring out the best brand of hockey the Black and Gold have to offer.
“For the sake of everybody…for the hockey fan, when they look at that matchup they want to see a good game that has intensity,” said Claude Julien. “I think that’s what we owe them.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Two points in his last seven games for Brad Marchand, and another stretch where the Nose Face Killah isn’t operated at maximum efficiency. He’s not getting involved close to the net where the goals are scored, and he’s not getting under the skin of his opponents. When he doesn’t do those two things he’s ordinary and three goals and eight points in 23 games is pretty damn pedestrian.
DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: “I looked at our team and after two periods I just felt like there wasn’t enough emotion; there wasn’t enough in our game and for us to be a team that had a chance to win. We got a bit sloppy at times and turned some pucks over which ended up being some winning goals. But I think when we play each other, we’re two of the better teams in the conference and in my mind it should have been played with a lot more intensity than it was.” –Claude Julien, who expects a lot more emotion and intensity tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins than the first time the two teams played.
KEY MATCHUP: There could be a lot of Zdeno Chara out on the ice tonight with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin playing well, and no love lost between the Boston captain and the Pittsburgh captain. Chara is playing 26:34 of ice time per game in November because of blueline injuries and a bevy of shootout/overtime games, and expect that to continue with a big minute performance against the Penguins. Crosby will probably also have to deal with the double duty of the Patrice Bergeron shutdown line out there against him.
STAT TO WATCH: 56 – the number of points between Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who are both playing at an elite level after a slow start for the Russian part of the tandem.
INJURIES: Penguins forward Beau Bennett (undisclosed) did not make the trip to Montreal and is being evaluated. Coach Dan Bylsma believes Bennett will be out "longer than days, right now." Tanner Glass (upper body) continues to be evaluated. Tomas Vokoun (blood clot in hip), Rob Scuderi (ankle surgery) and Chuck Kobasew (lower body) remain out
Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) is out, and likely not available until the middle of this week at the earliest after hitting the ice for the first time today. Defenseman Adam McQuaid (hip/groin) has been practicing since Friday, and could make his return in the next game vs. Detroit after missing eight straight games.
GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Tuukka Rask had played three games in four days, and took a nutty after dropping the shutout decision to the St. Louis Blues, so there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be at his best after getting a rest over the weekend. Rask was in Pittsburgh’s collective heads by the end of last year’s playoff series.
Marc-Andre Fleury is 13-7-0 with a 1.95 goals against average and .923 save percentage this season while the Penguins float through an atrocious Metro Division. It’ll be interesting to see which MAF comes out of the gate tonight in a big conference game against the Bruins.