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Bruins host Penguins in Eastern showdown

by Jon Lane

PENGUINS (15-9-0) vs. BRUINS (15-6-2)


Last 10: Pittsburgh 5-5-0; Boston 7-1-2

Season Series: The Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins play the second of three games. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 21 shots, including a sliding save on David Krejci seconds before the final horn, to lead Pittsburgh to a 3-2 win Oct. 30 at Consol Energy Center. The teams meet for the final time Dec. 7 in Boston.

Big Story: The Eastern Conference's two best teams square off in the Penguins' first visit to Boston since they were swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals last spring. But, Pittsburgh is 9-1 in its past 10 regular-season games against Boston; the Bruins are 6-0-2 in their past eight games on home ice.

Team Scope:

Penguins: Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak ended Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens despite two third-period goals from James Neal and 26 saves by Fleury. The Penguins made it interesting, thanks to Evgeni Malkin's spectacular end-to-end rush that set up Neal for a tap-in with less than three minutes remaining in the third.

"We battled hard to get back into it," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "But it's a tough game to play when you're fighting [from behind] like that in the third period."

Bruins: The defending Eastern Conference champions continued their surge Saturday when Krejci's goal 1:28 in overtime secured a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Jarome Iginla broke in alone and forced Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward to come out and attempt to cut down an angle. The net was left open for Krejci, who took a pass from Iginla and fired over Ward for the game-winner.

"It was great by Krech with the patience," Iginla said. "But I was like, 'Oh, no. Great move and all, but OK, put it in! Put it in!' "

The goal was Krejci's third game-winner and snapped a five-game pointless streak.

Who's hot: Malkin (1-7-8) has points in his past four games. Paul Martin (1-3-4) and Neal (3-3-6) each have points in their past three … Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who sat out the game Saturday, is 12-5-2 with a 1.62 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. Third-line wing Reilly Smith (2-2-4) has points in three of his past four games.

Injury report: 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 … Bruins rookie defenseman Torey Krug limped off the ice shortly after blocking a shot late in the game Saturday, but said he's fine and expects to play Monday. Adam McQuaid (lower body) could be ready this week. Dennis Seidenberg (lower body) has been sidelined since Nov. 19 and hasn't skated yet. Marc Savard (post-concussion syndrome) is out for the season.


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