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Penguins at Bruins preview

Pittsburgh looks to move up in Metropolitan; Boston eyes second place in Atlantic

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

PENGUINS (36-24-4) at BRUINS (38-15-8)



The Game

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to close the gap in the Metropolitan Division race when they visit the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Thursday.

The Penguins, who have lost two straight games following a six-game winning streak, are two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for second place in the Metropolitan Division and three behind the first-place Washington Capitals.

The Bruins, 1-2-0 in their past three games after going 13-3-0 in their previous 16, can pass the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division with a win; Boston is one point behind the Maple Leafs with five games in hand.


Players to watch

Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past five games and 27 points (15 goals, 12 assists) in his past 14 games.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand has 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in his past 19 games.

They said it

"We think Derick first and foremost can play the style we're trying to play … and he's a versatile guy. ... He's every bit as good defensively as he is offensively." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on forward Derick Brassard, who will play his second game for Pittsburgh after being acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators

"Staying out of the box will be the first thing. … Generally you look at a power play, you can deny certain guys the puck. I don't think it matters with their power play, eventually the guy that does get it is dangerous. One of the things we need to improve on lately ... [is our] clears, getting them out." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on facing the Penguins' No. 1-ranked power play


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Conor Sheary -- Derick Brassard -- Phil Kessel

Carter Rowney -- Riley Sheahan -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Justin Schultz

Matt Hunwick -- Jamie Oleksiak

Casey DeSmith

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel

Injured: Zach Aston-Reese (upper body), Matt Murray (concussion)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Riley Nash -- David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk -- David Krejci -- Rick Nash

Tommy Wingels -- David Backes -- Brian Gionta

Tim Schaller -- Sean Kuraly -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Kevan Miller

Nick Holden -- Brandon Carlo

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Matt Grzelcyk, Danton Heinen, Adam McQuaid

Injured: Patrice Bergeron (fractured foot)


Status report

DeSmith, a native of Rochester, New Hampshire, will make his second straight start. ... Holden and Gionta and Holden each will make his Bruins debut; Gionta signed as a free agent on Sunday, and Holden was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Feb. 20.


Stat pack

Crosby has 33 points (seven goals, 26 assists) in his past 22 games, with points in 18 of them. … Riley Nash has seven points (three goals, four assists) in his past eight games.

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