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Pregame Notes: Boston Bruins @ Pittsburgh Penguins

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
BOSTON BRUINS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Sunday, December 23, 2007
Mellon Arena; Pittsburgh PA
Game Time:  3:00 p.m.
NESN and WBZ Radio


Tonight’s Game
The Bruins visit the Penguins today in the second of four games between these teams this season and the first of two games of this season's series at Mellon Arena. The Bruins are 18-13-4 thus far this season and are 10-7-2 this season on the road. The Penguins are 17-16-2 overall this season with a 7-8-2 record on home ice. The Bruins are 4-3-2 this season vs. Atlantic Division teams and they are 13-10-4 overall vs. Eastern Conference foes. The Penguins are 3-4-1 this season vs. Northeast Division teams and they are 10-15-2 overall vs. Eastern Conference opponents.

Lifetime Series
The Bruins are 95-49-21-2 lifetime vs. Pittsburgh with a 666-524 scoring edge in those 167 games. The Bruins are 36-32-15-1 lifetime vs. the Penguins in Pittsburgh with a 300-288 scoring advantage in those 84 contests. The Penguins won the first game of this season's series with a 5-4 shootout victory in Boston on Dec. 20, as Pittsburgh took a 4-0 lead in the game before the Bruins scored the next four goals to send the game into overtime. The Penguins have won the last three games between these teams Boston's last win over Pittsburgh a 5-4 shootout victory in Boston on Jan. 18, 2007.

Recent Bruins Games
The Bruins have lost their last three games at 0-2-1 with a 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Dec. 18, a 5-4 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 20 and a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on Dec. 22. They are  4-3-1 in their last eight games with their last win a 2-0 victory over Columbus on Dec. 15.

Recent Penguins Games
The Penguins are 1-2-0 in their last three games with a 4-0 loss at NY Rangers on Dec. 18, a 5-4 shootout victory in Boston on Dec. 20 and a 4-2 loss to NY Islanders on Dec. 21. They are 9-5-0 in their last 14 games overall.

Upcoming Bruins Games
The Bruins return from the two-day holiday break to play in Carolina on Dec. 28 (7:00 p.m.; NESN/WBZ Radio) and in Atlanta on Dec. 29 (7:00 p.m.; NESN/WBZ Radio). They will then return home to host Atlanta in a New Year's Eve matinee on Dec. 31 (1:00 p.m.; NESN/WBZ Radio), which will open a five-game home stand for the Bruins.

Upcoming Penguins Games
The Penguins will return from the two-day holiday break to host Washington on Dec. 27 and Buffalo on Dec. 29. They will then face the Sabres in Buffalo in an outdoor game at Ralph Wilson stadium.

Bruins Injuries
Andrew Alberts: Post-concussion syndrome.
Patrice Bergeron: Concussion and broken nose.
Manny Fernandez: Dec. 12 left knee surgery.
Glen Murray: Hip flexor strain.
Aaron Ward: Broken foot.

Bruins December Transactions
Dec. 6:  Alex Auld acquired from Phoenix for Nate DiCasmirro and 2009 fifth round draft pick.
Dec. 6:  Manny Fernandez assigned to Providence/AHL for conditioning.
Dec. 8:  Manny Fernandez returned from Providence/AHL conditioning stint.
Dec. 13:  Matt Hunwick returned to Providence/AHL.
Dec. 15:  Tuukka Rask returned to Providence/AHL.
Dec. 21:  Matt Lashoff recalled from Providence/AHL.
Dec. 22: Matt Hunwick recalled from P

Bruins 2007-08 Shootouts (1-2):
1.  Oct. 10 … NY Rangers 0 at Boston 1 … Boston Goal: Manny Fernandez (W) … NY Rangers Goal:  Henrik Lundqvist (L). Boston Shooters: Bergeron (N), Sturm (N), Kessel (Y) … NY Rangers Shooters:  Shanahan (N), Drury (N), Jagr (N)
2.  Nov. 4 … Ottawa 2 at Boston 1 … Boston Goal: Tim Thomas (L) … Ottawa Goal: Martin Gerber (W). Boston Shooters: Kobasew (N), Kessel (N) … Ottawa Shooters: Alfredsson (Y), Vermette (Y)
3.  Dec. 20 … Pittsburgh 5 at Boston 4 … Boston Goal: Tim Thomas (L) … Pittsburgh Goal: Ty Conklin (W). Boston Shooters: Kessel (N), Sturm (N) … Pittsburgh Shooters:  Christensen (Y), Letang (Y)

Bruins 2007-08 Penalty Shots
1.  Oct. 27 … Phil Kessel unsuccessful vs. Philadelphia's Martin Biron (15:09 second period).
     
Bruins Fun Facts
- The Bruins are seven goals shy of scoring the 18,000th goal in team history … Only the Canadiens have scored more goals of any NHL team.
- Brandon Bochenski's next game will be the 100th of his NHL career.
- Peter Schaefer is five goals shy of his 100th NHL goal milestone.
- Marco Sturm is six assists short of his 200th NHL assist milestone.
- Glen Metropolit is six points shy of his 100th NHL point milestone.
- Shawn Thornton is eight games shy of his 100th NHL game milestone.
- The Bruins have 17 sets of back-to-back games this season and are completing the seventh of these series today in Pittsburgh.
- They are 3-3-1 this season in the first game of these series and are 2-3-1 in the second game of these sets.
- The Bruins have four rookies on their current roster – Matt Lashoff, Milan Lucic, Petteri Nokelainen and Vladimir Sobotka.
- The Bruins have seven players on their active roster who are new to the Bruins this season – Alex Auld (trade with Phoenix), Milan Lucic (draft), Glen Metropolit (free agent), Petteri Nokelainen (trade with NY Islanders), Peter Schaefer (trade with Ottawa), Vladimir Sobotka (draft) and Shawn Thornton (free agent).
- The Bruins have completed eight of their 24 season series. They are 0-1-0 vs. Anaheim, 1-0-0 vs. Chicago, 1-0-0 vs. Columbus, 0-1-0 vs. Dallas, 1-0-0 vs. Los Angeles, 1-0-0 vs. Phoenix, 0-1-0 vs. St. Louis and 1-0-0 vs. San Jose.
- The Bruins opened this season with a five-game trip against Pacific Division teams, which concluded Oct. 13 in San Jose. That was the last game of the season scheduled for the Bruins outside of the Eastern Time zone.
- The Bruins will host the Central Division teams this season and will not play teams in the Northwest Division.


The Players
6—Dennis Wideman—D

- Has a three-game point streak in progress with 1-2=3 totals in that span…Has points in four of his last five games with single assists each Dec. 13 vs. New Jersey and Dec. 18 vs. Ottawa, a goal Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh and an assist Dec. 22 vs. St. Louis.
- Has 3-8=11 totals in 11 of his last 13 games.
- Had a seven-game point streak from Nov. 29-Dec. 10 (2-5=7 totals), the longest point streak by a Bruins defenseman since Ray Bourque had an eight-game streak (4-6=10 totals) from Oct. 12-Nov. 2, 1995.
- Had a three-game assist streak from Nov. 10-17 (0-3=3 totals).
- Has not dressed for one game this season (coach's decision).

10—Brandon Bochenski—RW
- Has not dressed for the last five games.
- Has single assists each in two of his last three games with an assist on the game-winning goal Dec. 8 in Toronto and an assist Dec. 12 in Atlanta.
- Has one multiple-point game, matching his previous career-high for assists in a game with a two-assist effort Nov. 15 vs. Toronto.
- Had a two-game conditioning stint in Providence/AHL from Oct. 23-28 with one goal and no PIM in those contests.
- Dressed, but did not play Oct. 10 in Anaheim.
- Has not dressed for 14 games this season (coach's decision).

11—P.J. Axelsson—LW
- Had 1-1=2 totals Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh, his first multiple-point game of the season…The goal came shorthanded which was Boston's second shorthanded strike of the season and he assisted on the first one, a Chuck Kobasew goal Oct. 6 in Phoenix.
- Has 3-3=6 totals in his last 11 games.
- Has one multiple-point game.

12—Chuck Kobasew—RW
- Has 1-2=3 totals in three of his last four games with an assist Dec. 15 vs. Columbus, a goal Dec. 18 vs. Ottawa and an assist Dec. 22 vs. St. Louis.
- Has 6-4=10 totals in his last 17 games with 10-5=15 totals in his last 23 contests.
- Has three multiple-point games.
- Had a three-game goal streak from Oct. 6-12 (3-0=3 totals).
- Has taken one shootout shot this season (no goal).

13—Glen Metropolit—C
- Has single assists each in two of his last three games with 1-3=4 totals in his last eight games…Had an assist on the game-winning goal Dec. 8 in Toronto, a goal Dec. 10 in Buffalo and single assists each Dec. 18 vs. Ottawa and Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Has 5-5=10 totals in his last 18 games with three of the goals proving game-winning tallies.
- Has two multiple-point games.
- Played his 200th NHL game Nov. 23 vs. NY Islanders.
- Played his first game as a Bruin Oct. 5 in Dallas…Recorded his first point as a Bruin with an assist Oct. 10 in Anaheim…Scored his first goal as a Bruin Oct. 25 vs. Chicago.
- Signed as a free agent on Oct. 3…Had been invited to training camp on a pro try-out agreement.

16—Marco Sturm—LW
- Has 2-1=3 totals in two of his last four games with a goal Dec. 15 vs. Columbus and a 1-1=2 effort Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Has 6-7=13 totals in his last 20 games
- Has five multiple-point games.
- Had a six-game point streak from Nov. 8-23 (4-3=7 totals).
- Had a four-game point streak from Oct. 27-Nov. 4 (2-3=5 totals).
- Played his 700th NHL game Nov. 23 vs. NY Islanders.
- Has taken one shootout shot this season (no goal).
- Has missed one game to injury (1-eye, Dec. 12).

17—Milan Lucic—LW
- Rookie.
- Has 2-3=5 totals in his last seven games with two assists Dec. 10 in Buffalo, a 1-1=2 effort, including the game-winning goal, Dec. 12 in Atlanta, and a goal Dec. 18 vs. Ottawa.
- Recorded his first NHL assist/point and goal Oct. 12 in Los Angeles with the goal proving the game-winner…Completed his 'Gordie Howe hat trick' with a fight in that game as well.
- Has three multiple-point games.
- Played his first NHL game Oct. 5 in Dallas…Recorded his first NHL assist/point and his first NHL goal Oct. 12 in Los Angeles with the goal proving the game-winner.
- Has not dressed for one game (coach's decision).
- Has missed four games to injury (4-head, Nov. 24-Dec. 1).
- Changed his number from 62 to 17 on October 30.

21—Andrew Ference—D
- Has four assists in his last six games with two-assist efforts each Dec. 12 in Atlanta and Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Has three multiple-point games.
- Has missed 16 games to injury (4-upper core, Nov. 4-10; 12-knee, Nov. 17-Dec. 10).

22—Shawn Thornton—RW
- Returned to the lineup Dec. 22 vs. St. Louis after missing 20 games with a broken foot suffered Nov. 4 vs. Ottawa and not dressing for one game.
- Scoreless in 14 games thus far this season.
- Played his first game as a Bruin Oct. 5 in Dallas.
- Has not dressed for one game (coach's decision).
- Has missed 20 games to injury (19-foot, Nov. 7-Dec. 18).

27—Glen Murray—RW
- Has missed one game with a hip flexor strain.
- Has 4-1=5 totals in five of his last 11 games…Had single goals each Dec. 1 in Tampa Bay, Dec. 3 at NY Islanders and Dec. 5 in New Jersey; an assist Dec. 6 vs. Montreal; and a goal Dec. 12 in Atlanta.
- Has 9-4=13 totals in ten of his last 18 games.
- Has three multiple-point games with his season-high a 2-1=3 effort Nov. 17 in Montreal.
- Had a three-game point streak from Oct. 12-18 (1-3=4 totals).
- Has had two four-game point streaks,  from Nov. 15-23 (3-3=6 totals) and Dec. 1-6 (3-1=4 totals).
- Has missed one game to injury (1-hip, Dec. 22).

29—Alex Auld—G
- Has dressed as backup for the last two games.
- Took a 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Dec. 18 in his last start.
- Has won four of his six games as a Bruin, including a 2-0 win over Columbus which was the fourth shutout of his NHL career, his second of the season and his first as a Bruin.
- Won his first three starts as a Bruin with a 2-1 victory in Toronto on Dec. 8, a 4-1 win in Buffalo on Dec. 10, facing 45 shots in that game and a 5-3 win in Atlanta on Dec. 12.
- Dressed as backup Dec. 6 vs. Montreal…Was acquired earlier that day from Phoenix for Nate DiCasmirro and a 2009 fifth round draft pick.
- Was been playing in San Antonio/AHL, where he was assigned Nov. 20 from Phoenix…Had a 3-6-0 record in nine Coyotes games this season with one shutout, a 1-0 win in Anaheim on Oct. 25…His last NHL game this season was a 6-0 loss to San Jose on Nov. 15 with his last NHL win a 6-5 overtime decision in Anaheim on Nov. 7…Had a 1-1-0 record with San Antonio, with the win a 7-0 victory over Milwaukee on Nov. 24.
- Is in his seventh professional season and Boston is his fourth NHL organization (Vancouver, Florida, Phoenix)…Has a 49-50-2-11 record and 2.94 GAA in 117 career NHL games.
- Has dressed as backup for three Boston games.

30—Tim Thomas—G
- Has lost his last two games with a 5-4 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 20 and a 4-1 setback to St. Louis (one empty net goal against) on Dec. 22.
- Is 3-3-1 in his last seven decisions with his last win a 3-1 win at NY Islanders on Dec. 3.
- Has faced 30-or-more shots in 13 of his 22 games with a 7-4-1 record in those games (one no-decision)…His season-high in shots faced was 52 Nov. 17 in Montreal.
- Has allowed two-or-fewer goals in 14 of his 22 games this season (8-4-2 record) and has allowed one goal or less in eight of those contests (7-0-1).
- Had a three-game win streak from Oct. 13-25.
- Has dressed as backup for seven games.
- Has missed six games to injury (6-groin, Dec. 6-15).

33—Zdeno Chara—D
- Has 2-3=5 totals in his last ten games with a goal Dec. 5 in New Jersey; single assists each Dec. 6 vs. Montreal, Dec. 10 in Buffalo and Dec. 13 vs. New Jersey; and a goal Dec. 22 vs. St. Louis.
- Has 4-5=9 totals in his last 14 games with 5-9=14 totals in his last 20 contests.
- Has four multiple-point games.
- Had a three-game assist streak from Oct. 6-12 with (0-4=4 totals).
- Had a four-game assist/point streak from Nov. 10-20 (1-4=5 totals).

35—Manny Fernandez—G
- Is out of the lineup following Dec. 12 knee surgery.
- Had his two-game win streak stopped with a 6-1 loss in Montreal on Oct. 22…That followed an 8-6 victory in Los Angeles on Oct. 12 and a 1-0 shootout victory over NY Rangers on Oct. 20, his 14th career shutout.
- Recorded his 14th NHL shutout and first as a Bruin with a 1-0 shootout win over NY Rangers on Oct. 20.
- Has played in one shootout this season (1-0, 0 goals/3 shots).
- Played his first game as a Bruin Oct. 5 in Dallas with a 4-1 loss…Earned his first win as a Bruin with an 8-6 victory in Los Angeles on Oct. 12.
- Has dressed as backup for six games.
- Has missed 24 games to injury (24-knee, Nov. 1-Dec. 5; Dec. 8-22).

37—Patrice Bergeron—C
- Is out of the lineup with a concussion and broken nose suffered Oct. 27 vs. Philadelphia.
- Had his three-game point streak stopped Oct. 20 vs. NY Rangers with 1-4=5 totals in that span…Had an assist Oct. 12 in Los Angeles, a 1-1=2 effort Oct. 13 in San Jose and two assists Oct. 18 vs. Montreal.
- Has 3-4=7 totals in five of his ten games played this season.
- Has two multiple-point games.
- Has taken one shootout shot this season (no goal).
- Has missed 25 games to injury (25-concussion/broken nose, Nov. 1-Dec. 22).

38—Bobby Allen—D
- Has played the last three games after missing the previous five games with back spasms.
- Has missed six games to injury (1-arm, Nov. 10; 5-back, Dec. 8-15).
- Has not dressed for 14 games (coach's decision).

41—Andrew Alberts—D
- Has missed the last three games with post-concussion syndrome.
- Recorded his second assist of the season Nov. 26 in Philadelphia.
- Has missed three games to injury (3-post-concussion syndrome, Dec. 18-22).

44—Aaron Ward—D
- Has missed one game with a broken foot.
- Has two assists in his last nine games played, recorded Nov. 29 in Florida and Dec. 8 in Toronto.
- Has one multiple-point game.
- Has missed six games to injury (2-concussion, Nov. 10-15; 3-ankle, Dec. 3-6; 1-foot, Dec. 22).

45—Mark Stuart—D
- Scored his first goal of the season Oct. 18 vs. Montreal…It was his first goal scored since he scored his first career NHL goal on Apr. 10, 2006 vs. Washington.

48—Matt Hunwick—D
- Rookie.
- Recalled Dec. 22 from Providence/AHL for the fourth time this season (Nov. 9-13, Nov. 17-21, Nov. 22-Dec. 14)…Had 1-4=5 totals with 10 PIM in 16 AHL Bruins games and his +16 was the second-best on the team.
- Played his last Boston game Dec. 10 at Buffalo and recorded his first NHL point with an assist Dec. 8 in Toronto.
- Played his first NHL game Nov. 10 vs. Buffalo…Recorded his first NHL point with an assist Dec. 8 in Toronto.
- Has not dressed for six games (coach's decision).

49—Matt Lashoff—D
- Rookie.
- Played Dec. 22 vs. St. Louis after being recalled on Dec. 21 from Providence/AHL for his second stint in Boston this season…Played one scoreless game Nov. 10 vs. Buffalo during his first recall from Nov. 9-11.
- Had 4-16=20 totals with 35 PIM and a +9 rating in 28 AHL Bruins games at the time of the recall.

53—Jeremy Reich—LW
- Has 1-1=2 totals in two of his last four games, scoring his first NHL goal Dec. 15 vs. Columbus in his 61st NHL game and his eighth professional season and adding a shorthanded assist Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Has not dressed for 12 games this season (coach's decision).

56—Petteri Nokelainen—C/W
- Rookie.
- Has 2-1=3 totals in three of his last six games with a goal Dec. 12 in Atlanta, an assist Dec. 15 vs. Columbus and a goal Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Played his first game as a Bruin Nov. 4 vs. Ottawa…That was his first NHL game since April 2, 2006 vs. Philadelphia while with the NY Islanders…Scored his first goal/point as a Bruin with the game-winning tally Dec. 3 at NY Islanders (his first NHL goal/point since Oct. 13, 2005 in Washington while with the NY Islanders).
- Recalled Nov. 4 from Providence/AHL where he was third in that team's scoring race with 3-5=8 totals and 4 PIM in eight AHL Bruins games.

60—Vladimir Sobotka—C
- Has recorded his first two NHL points in his last six games with single assists each Dec. 12 in Atlanta and Dec. 15 vs. Columbus.
- Has played 12 games, including his first NHL game Nov. 24 at NY Islanders…Became the fourth Bruin this season to play his first NHL game (Lucic, Hunwick, Rask).
- Recalled Nov. 23 from Providence/AHL where he was second in that team's scoring race with 7-7=14 totals and 12 PIM in 15 AHL Bruins games with a +10 rating.
- Has missed three games to injury (3-upper body, Dec. 6-10).

72—Peter Schaefer—LW
- Has 2-1=3 totals in three of his last six games with single goals each Dec. 10 in Buffalo and Dec. 12 in Atlanta and an assist Dec. 18 vs. Ottawa.
- Has 5-5=10 totals in his last 18 games, including a season-high 2-1=3 effort Nov. 15 vs. Toronto, which matched his previous career-high for goals in a game.
- Has two multiple-point games.
- Played his 500th NHL game Oct. 20 vs. NY Rangers.
- Played his first game as a Bruin Oct. 5 in Dallas and recorded his first point as a Bruin with an assist in that game…Scored his first goal as a Bruin Oct. 18 vs. Montreal.

81—Phil Kessel—C/W
- Has 1-3=4 totals in three of his last ten games with an assist Dec. 5 in New Jersey, a goal Dec. 6 vs. Montreal and two assists Dec. 12 in Atlanta.
- Has three multiple-point games.
- Scored his first career hat trick and recorded a career-high for points in a game with a 3-1=4 effort Oct. 12 in Los Angeles.
- Scored the deciding shootout goal in a 1-0 win over NY Rangers on Oct. 20…It was his fifth career shootout deciding goal.
- Took his first career penalty shot on Oct. 27, unsuccessful vs. Philadelphia's Martin Biron.
- Has taken two shootout shots this season (one deciding goal).
- Played his 100th NHL game Dec. 12 in Atlanta.

91—Marc Savard—C
- Had an assist Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh after having been held scoreless in consecutive games for the first time this season.
- Has 3-2=5 totals in his last six games with 1-1=2 totals Dec. 10 in Buffalo, single goals each Dec. 12 in Atlanta and Dec. 13 vs. New Jersey and an assist Dec. 20 vs. Pittsburgh.
- Has 5-19=24 totals in 16 of his last 20 games, including a career-best 12-game assist/point streak from Nov. 10-Dec. 6 (2-17=19 totals) and has 7-22=29 totals in 20 of his last 26 contests.
- Has seven multiple-point games.
- Had a career-best 12-game assist/point streak from Nov. 10-Dec. 6 (2-17=19 totals).
- Recorded his 500th NHL point with the first assist of a 1-4=5 effort Oct. 12 in Los Angeles…Played his 600th NHL game Nov. 10 vs. Buffalo.
- Has missed one game to injury (1-groin, Oct. 10)…Missed the Oct. 10 game in Anaheim with the injury, snapping his consecutive games-played stretch at 166 games dating back to his previous game missed (April 3, 2004 at Ottawa while with New Jersey).
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