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Bruins meet Penguins for first time since 2013 ECF

by Brian Hunter /

BRUINS (7-3-0) at PENGUINS (8-4-0)


Last 10: Pittsburgh 6-4-0

Season series: This is the first of three meetings between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. During the 2012-13 regular season, the Penguins swept the Bruins by winning three one-goal games. Boston turned the tide in the Eastern Conference Final, however, taking four straight from Pittsburgh, including the first two games at Consol Energy Center by a 9-1 margin.

Big story: Marc-Andre Fleury's participation in last spring's Stanley Cup Playoff series between these clubs was limited to a relief appearance in Game 2 when he gave up three goals on 17 shots in a 6-1 loss. He was expected to bounce back and reclaim the Penguins' No. 1 job this season, but a blood clot that sidelined veteran Tomas Vokoun has thrust Fleury firmly into the spotlight and he's responded. The matchup between him and the Bruins' Tuukka Rask on Wednesday should be a good one.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Boston is ordinary on home ice so far at 3-3-0, but the Bruins bring a perfect 4-0-0 road record into Pittsburgh. They are also smarting after their penalty kill yielded four goals Saturday to the New Jersey Devils, turning what at one point was a 3-1 lead into a stunning 4-3 loss.

"Definitely that last game, we kind of weren't prepared well enough I guess. I think we should, ourselves as players, take onus on that," forward Daniel Paille told the team's website. "So for us, obviously, we want to work back up to being tops in the League."

Forward Loui Eriksson, sidelined since Oct. 23 with a concussion, visited the team at practice Monday. However, coach Claude Julien said he didn't expect Eriksson would skate for at least another week.

Penguins: Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby continued to do their thing Monday, with Sid setting up his wing man for the go-ahead goal late in the second period of a 3-1 road win against the Carolina Hurricanes that snapped Pittsburgh's three-game losing streak.

The game was a particularly memorable one for recent call-up Jayson Megna. A 23-year-old undrafted free agent, Megna drew the primary assist when Tanner Glass opened the scoring, then added insurance for Fleury (20 saves) in the third period by scoring his first NHL goal.

"It's still fun to see the look on every guy's face when he scores that first goal," said Crosby, who assisted on the play. "There's nothing you can say that explains it. It's just pure joy. It's a lot of hard work and a dream come true for every guy who scores his first NHL goal. It never gets old."

Who's hot: Jarome Iginla, who infamously spurned the Bruins for the Penguins at the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline, has two goals and five assists during a four-game point streak for Boston. David Krejci has two goals and eight assists during a seven-game point streak. Milan Lucic has three goals and three assists during a four-game point streak. Torey Krug has three goals in as many games. … Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik assisted on all three goals Monday against Carolina.

Injury report: Eriksson remains out indefinitely for the Bruins. … Vokoun is out indefinitely for the Penguins along with defenseman Rob Scuderi (broken ankle), whose consecutive games streak ended Monday at 276. Forward Chuck Kobasew (lower body) is out 3-4 weeks. Forwards James Neal (upper body) and Beau Bennett (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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