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Pregame Notebook vs. Pittsburgh

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins -- The Boston Bruins will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at the CONSOL Energy Center in a game that marks the halfway point of their season. 

Thus far the Bruins are 21-12-7 and sit a top the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference. 

Boston is coming off a 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadians on Saturday and will look to rebound against the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins tonight.
Crosby Out

Chara & Crosby. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Sidney Crosby will not play in tonight’s match-up as he has been sidelined due to what the Penguins are calling a mild concussion. 

Despite not having Crosby the Pens are still a dangerous team with scoring leaders like Evgeni Malkin (15-19-34) and Kris Letang (6-30-36) in their locker room.

“I think they’re still a great team you know, Sidney’s [Crosby] a great player but I think anyone of them are good players,” Bruins defenseman Steven Kampfer said after the teams practice yesterday.

“They’re all here, they’re all winning right now so you know…whether he’s in or out of the line-up they still have the Malkin’s [Evgeni Malkin], the Staals’ [Jordan Staal], and guys like that that are big guys and big point producers so we just gotta go and play our game,” he said.

Bartkowski In?

The Bruins recalled 22-year-old defenseman Matt Bartkowski from the Providence Bruins last night on an emergency basis after placing injured defenseman Marc Stuart on injured reserve. 

Bartkowski may make his NHL debut in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

“There’s a good chance he’ll be in the line-up, Adam McQuaid being a question mark tonight, so you know he’s one of those guys that I think has pretty good vision and moves the puck pretty well and we’ll, if he plays tonight we’ll see how he does,” Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said this morning. 

“You know I don’t think there’s better situation for me right now you know first game in your hometown is awesome,” Bartkowski said. 

Milan Looks to Make Some Noise 
Lucic. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese)
Bruins left-winger Milan Lucic has been kept off the scorecard as of late and is looking to add to his team-high point totals.

Lucic snapped a seven game scoreless streak with an assist against Toronto on Jan. 3, but is still searching for his first goal since Dec. 16 a Montreal.

Lucic’s next goal will tie his career high of 17 from the 08-09 season. 

“It’s probably the last I’d say five, six games hasn’t been skating as well and hasn’t had that jump,” Julien said of Lucic, after Boston's morning skate. "I think that’s what he’s gotta find from his game is when he skates well and he’s on top of other teams that’s when he’s at his best and he’s kind of slipped a little bit so we’re hopefully going to get him back on track tonight."

Despite his recent scoring drought, Lucic leads the Bruins in goals (16), points (28) and shooting percentage (18%).

McQuaid, Horton Question Marks...
Both defenseman Adam McQuaid and forward Nathan Horton are questionable for tonight’s game. 

Horton has felt “discomfort”  since the Bruins loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. He left practice early on Friday, and didn’t skate in the teams’ game against Montreal on Saturday or the teams practice Sunday. 

He did however skate during the teams’ optional pregame skate this morning. 

“Nathan is out there skating; again probably I would say a question mark. That’s for tonight,” Julien said this morning.

Adam McQuaid is “questionable”  for tonight’s game and Coach Julien said this morning that he is day-to-day after being injured during Saturday’s tilt with Montreal. 

B’s Look to Rebound
After losing three of their last four Boston is looking to rebound and begin the second half of the season on a positive note.

“Well I think it’s important to get right back on the horse and you know like I said when you fall down you get right back up and we need to bounce back and you know that schedule is out of our control,” Julien said after yesterday’s practice.  “We’ll take whatever game comes along and I think it’s more how we’re going to bounce back than anything else then when the game is or anything else but it’s really in our hands and how we react is up to us. 

“It’s a good challenge (tonight) and a good chance to, you know, put everything in the past,” B’s forward Blake Wheeler said after practice yesterday. "That’s the beauty of this game is that you have 82 games and if you have a tough night doesn’t take very long to get a chance to redeem yourself."

---Hannah Becker
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