PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS2) at Consol Energy Center for the first time since being swept by Boston in last season's Eastern Conference Final.
Pittsburgh remembers how last season ended and considers this matchup a true rivalry. While it might not be the most natural rivalry for the Penguins, captain Sidney Crosby sees the games growing in intensity.
"It might now [be a rivalry]," Crosby said. "Just because the games the last couple of years have been pretty close, pretty exciting games. Other than that, you know what to expect when you're playing them.
"It's probably not the first that comes to mind, like Philadelphia or Washington. But I think it's developed into that.”
Defenseman Kris Letang said the Penguins need to be patient Wednesday and this game will indicate the quality of both teams.
"I think every year they're always intense games," Letang said. "They're measuring-stick games that we call because they always have a good team and they're really structured, they're really disciplined with their system. So they're always a good test."
Bruins forward Jarome Iginla was on the other side of the rivalry last season when he asked to be traded from the Calgary Flames to Pittsburgh instead of Boston. He joked by mentioning the crowds at TD Garden have not booed him like they did last season.
Iginla also reflected on his time with the Penguins.
"We [the Penguins] finished the regular season strong and the Islanders series was a good series, it was a good battle," Iginla said. "Ottawa, we beat them in five games, it was a good series. But what's on most people's minds is the way it ends and that's fair and that's understandable.
"It was a tough series for the Penguins and myself included."
Pittsburgh's offense, which averaged 3.27 goals per game last postseason, scored two goals in the series against the Bruins. But Zdeno Chara said the Bruins will not depend on using the same methods from the Eastern Conference Final.
"Every team likes to play a tight, defensive style and not to give other teams much in the slot," Chara said. "It just worked. What we did last year was effective, but we're not looking at that right now. We're looking at this year."
A new crop of injuries will impact Pittsburgh's lineup.
With Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) and Chuck Kobasew (lower body) injured in Pittsburgh's past two games, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Dustin Jeffrey will return to the lineup. Pittsburgh did not participate in its usual line rushes during the morning skate.
Here are the expected lineups for the game Wednesday:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - Matt D'Agostini
Tanner Glass - Brandon Sutter - Jayson Megna
Dustin Jeffrey - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo
Scratched: Deryk Engelland
Injured: James Neal (upper body), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis), Beau Bennett (lower body), Rob Scuderi (ankle), Chuck Kobasew (lower body)
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Jarome Iginla
Reilly Smith - Patrice Bergeron - Brad Marchand
Carl Soderberg - Chris Kelly - Jordan Caron
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Loui Eriksson (concussion)