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At the Rink: Penguins at Bruins

by Matt Kalman

PENGUINS (13-4-2) at BRUINS (13-9-0)


BOSTON – Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz hasn't scored a goal in eight games.

Center Sidney Crosby has one goal in his past 11 games and forward Patric Hornqvist has one goal in the past six games.

So it might be time for the Penguins to juggle their line combinations. Coach Mike Johnston would not commit to using his morning-skate lines in the game against the Boston Bruins on Monday at TD Garden. But during the morning skate, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin essentially swapped wings from prior alignments.

Crosby centered Hornqvist and Nick Spaling, while Malkin skated between Kunitz and Blake Comeau. Crosby and Kunitz have been together the longest among the players that might change lines.

"I think it's tough when you play with a guy for that long," Crosby said. "Also you have to produce and you have to be consistent and I don't think we've been that. So sometimes change is good and ultimately we've got to look at our own play and make sure that we're better. So whoever we're with, I don't think that matters. I think it's just a matter of making sure you're playing well."

On the Boston side, lineup changes have been injury-related lately and might continue to happen against Pittsburgh. Forward Brad Marchand, who's on injured reserve and has missed the past three games, skated and will be a game-time decision, according to coach Claude Julien.

Center Chris Kelly, who missed the Bruins' 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, did not skate and will be out again. Defenseman Zdeno Chara remains on injured reserve and took a light skate Monday. Center David Krejci is not on injured reserve but has missed eight of the past 10 games. He will not face the Penguins and might be out a little longer than originally thought.

"Right now what I'll tell you is we've taken a step back again," Julien said. "Like I said, it's something that I can't even go into. It's been way more complicated, again as you know, these are not machines, these guys, and there's certain things you try and fix and then you find out there's a little bit more and nobody knows and nobody should know until you go from one stage to the next. ... The only thing I would tell you is that everything I'm being told, it's not something we're going to have to manage all year and I know that's a big issue in wondering what's going on but it's something that's going to be fixed is what I'm being told. So don't shoot the messenger."

The Bruins called up two players – forwards Jordan Caron and David Pastrnak – from Providence of the American Hockey League on Monday. Pastrnak, the Bruins' 2014 first-round pick, has yet to make his NHL debut.

"It's cool. I'm happy I got this opportunity for to come here," Pastrnak said. "And I don't know if I'm playing, but practicing with those guys and everything, it's nice."

Here are the projected lineups:


Nick SpalingSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist

Chris KunitzEvgeni MalkinBlake Comeau

Beau BennettBrandon SutterSteve Downie

Zach SillMarcel GocCraig Adams

Paul MartinKris Letang

Olli MaattaChristian Ehrhoff

Rob ScuderiSimon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury

Thomas Greiss

Injured: Pascal Dupuis (blood clot)

Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Jayson Megna


Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronReilly Smith

Milan LucicCarl SoderbergLoui Eriksson

Simon GagneGregory CampbellDaniel Paille

Jordan CaronAlexander KhokhlachevDavid Pastrnak

Dennis SeidenbergTorey Krug

Matt BartkowskiKevan Miller

Joe MorrowDougie Hamilton

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Injured: Zdeno Chara (knee), Adam McQuaid (thumb), David Warsofsky (groin), David Krejci (undisclosed), Chris Kelly (undisclosed)

Scratched: Matt Fraser

Status update: Johnston said that although he might juggle other lines, he wanted to keep Bennett, Sutter and Downie together because they generated a lot of offense in the home-and-home series with the New York Islanders. ... Caron, Khokhlachev and Pastrnak played together in Providence the past several weeks. They took the first line drill together during morning skate with Seth Griffith rotating in later. ... Griffth was later assigned to Providence of the American Hockey League to clear space for the Marchand's likely return from an undisclosed injury.

Who's hot: Hornqvist has a four-game point streak (one goal, four assists). ... Rask has a .967 save percentage in his past three starts (two wins).

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