PENGUINS (27-14-4) at BRUINS (24-12-7)
TV -- FS-P (HD), NESN (HD)
Last 10 --
Pittsburgh 4-4-2; Boston 6-1-3
Season series --
Third of four meetings between the clubs this season and second of the week. Neither team will forget Monday's game any time soon. Boston scored four times in the final 3 1/2 minutes to edge Pittsburgh 4-2. The Bruins have won both games against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, including 7-4 on Nov. 10.
Big Story -- Sidney Crosby
remains out of action with a concussion, but the Penguins may have figured out what it takes to win without their star captain. They are coming off a 5-2 win against Montreal on Wednesday, their first W in four games since Crosby was forced out of the lineup. Crosby won't be available for this game, but the Penguins will be looking to continue to build without him and finally take a game off the Bruins.
The defeat of Montreal on Wednesday was crucial for many reasons. For one, Jordan Staal
got back on the scoreboard for the first time since May. He scored his first goal in his sixth game back from injury and added 2 assists. Alex Goligoski also scored twice, but perhaps most important was the success Pittsburgh had on the power play. Four of their five goals came with the man-advantage, and Montreal entered the game with the NHL's best penalty kill. That title now belongs to the Penguins, by the way. Perhaps even more amazing is the Penguins had so much power-play success without No. 87.
"It's surprising, but at the same time, if you look at our goals, they were all just simple," defenseman Kris Letang
told the Penguins' website. "Just shooting pucks at the net, we had big bodies in front just tipping and screening."
Crazy doesn't even begin to describe the way the Bruins have won their last three games. Let's start with Monday's 4-2 win in Pittsburgh -- all they did was score four goals in the final 3 1/2 minutes to turn a 2-0 deficit into a strange-but-true 4-2 win. Tuesday at home against Ottawa was a 6-0 thrashing due in large part to Patrice Bergeron
's first NHL hat trick. And then there was Thursday's wacky 7-5 win against Philadelphia, a game that included five lead changes until the Bruins scored the final three goals to win it. We can only imagine what the B's have in store for Saturday.
"Sometimes the best laid plans don't work out that way and you have to roll with the punches," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas
told reporters after Thursday's win.
Who's Hot --
Bergeron has 6 goals and 4 assists during his current five-game point-scoring streak. Boston defenseman Steven Kampfer
has 4 goals in his last nine games, including the winner in Thursday's game. Kampfer had only 7 goals in four seasons at the University of Michigan. … Letang had 3 assists in the Penguins' win against Montreal and has 4 points in the last two games.
Injury Report --
Bruins forward Milan Lucic
has missed the last two games with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Mark Stuart remains out with a broken hand, but could return next week. … Crosby is out with a concussion and defenseman Ben Lovejoy
didn't practice Friday.
Stat Pack --
The five lead changes that took place in the Bruins' game Thursday against Philadelphia tied an NHL record and was the most since Calgary's 10-8 win against Quebec on Feb. 23, 1991. … The Penguins are 4-0 in games that start before 7 p.m. ET this season. Saturday's game is a 1 p.m. start. The Bruins are 1-3 in games that start before 7 p.m. ET.
Puck Drop --
Kampfer has 4 goals, 2 assists and is averaging nearly 18 minutes of ice time per game in 17 games since being called up on an emergency basis for the injured Stuart. He's playing alongside Zdeno Chara
at even strength.
"I don't think I ever pictured being here -- not in the NHL this quick," Kampfer, 22, said according to the Boston Globe. "It was unfortunate that Stu got hurt, but it made an opportunity and I'm just trying to make the most of it now. I'm just trying to help this team win."