WHEN: Jan. 15, 2011 - 1:00 pm | WHERE: TD Garden WATCH: FSN | LISTEN:Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Boston Bruins Overall: 21-12-7-49 Home: 10-7-3-23 Road: 13-5-4-30
Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins
C - #11 5 Goals 9 Assists 14 Points
• Although he’s known more for his energetic role play centering the team’s fourth line, Campbell has contributed five points (2G-3A) over a four-game point streak, three of those coming against the Penguins on Jan. 10.
• In his first season with the Bruins after being traded to Boston by Florida last June with forward Nathan Horton for defenseman Dennis Wideman, a 2010 first-round draft pick (Derek Forbort) and 2011 third-round draft picks.
• Led the Panthers in hits each of the past two seasons, with 158 in 2009-10 and 202 in 2008-09.
C - #63 9 Goals 10 Assists 19 Points
• Is riding a four-game point streak that’s seen him post three goals and two assists over that span.
• After skating on the Bruins’ fourth line for most of the season, the forward has recently been skating on a line Mark Recchi and Patrice Bergeron.
• Is in his first full NHL season with Boston, the team that drafted him in the third round (71st overall) in 2006, after skating 20 games in the 2009-10 campaign.
D - #33 7 goals 14 assists
• Is utilized in all situations for the Bruins, leading the team in both power play time (3:08 minutes per game) and shorthanded time (2:54 minutes per game), while ranking third in the league with an average of 26:21 minutes per game.
• Won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman two seasons ago, posting 50 points (19G-31A) in that campaign.
• Signed a seven-year contract extension in October that will keep the Bruins captain patrolling Boston’s blue line through the 2016-17 campaign.
While the third period was Boston’s downfall on Jan. 8 against Montreal, ever since then there’s been something about that last 20 minutes of regulation that has recently brought out the best in the Bruins. After allowing Montreal to score two goals with 2:22 remaining to force extra time and get the overtime win, the Bruins have now won three straight – two of those coming as a result of wild third-period rallies.
They’re now 7-1-3 in their past 11 games, ranking first in the Northeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference with 55 points. After rallying to beat the Penguins on Monday with four goals in the final 3:23 of play to win by a score of 4-2, the Bruins went on to thump Ottawa 6-0 on Tuesday before topping Philadelphia 7-5 on Thursday. The two teams entered the final frame tied 2-2, but the Bruins’ five-goal third period – including three straight in the last 10 minutes – gave Boston the win.
They’re not a team that’s typically known for their offensive prowess, instead being recognized for their shutdown defense led by the goaltending of Tim Thomas that allows a league-leading average of just 2.16 goals against per game. Their defensive mindset carries through to their forwards, most of them known for their solid all-around play rather than their ability to produce staggering numbers. But the Bruins’ recent surge has been fueled by their offense.
They’ve scored 17 goals in their last seven periods, with last year’s leading scorer Patrice Bergeron leading the charge with nine points (5G-3A) over his past five games in the absence of Milan Lucic, who’s been sidelined the past two games with an undisclosed injury.
With forwards Marc Savard and Nathan Horton combining for just two goals through the last 13 contests, the Bruins have been supplemented by secondary scoring throughout the lineup. Fourth-line center Gregory Campbell had three points (1G-2A) against the Penguins Monday before notching a goal and an assist on Thursday while forward Brad Marchand has been thriving on a line with Bergeron and veteran Mark Recchi, scoring in three-straight contests. Rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer scored the game-winning goal against the Flyers on Thursday, while Michael Ryder is tied for third on the team with 12 goals.
This is the third meeting of the season between the two teams and first in Boston. Pittsburgh is looking for its first win of the 2010-11 campaign against the Bruins as Boston topped the Penguins 7-4 on Nov. 10 and 4-2 on Monday at CONSOL Energy Center.
Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski made his NHL debut against the Penguins on Jan. 10. The defenseman saw 9:53 of ice time in front of his hometown crowd, picking up his first career penalty when he got whistled for hooking in the third period. The Bruins reassigned Bartkowski to Providence of the American Hockey League on Tuesday.
The Penguins have been enjoying success so far this season on the road, going 9-2-2 over their past 13 contests. In those 13 games, the Penguins have surrendered two or fewer goals on 10 occasions and have yet to allow more than three goals in a game.
The Penguins had their best performance of the season on the power play against Montreal when they posted four goals with the man-advantage. Prior to Wednesday, Pittsburgh’s highest output on the power play had been three goals, reached twice – once on Dec. 2 in a 7-2 win over Columbus and again on Dec. 20 in a 6-1 victory over Phoenix.
With their five-goal output in the final 20 minutes against the Flyers on Thursday, the Bruins have now had two five-goal third periods so far this season. Their first one came against Pittsburgh back on Nov. 10, when they rallied from a 4-2 deficit for the 7-4 win. That had been their best goal output in a period since Nov. 28, 2008.
Special Teams Stay Scorching: The Penguins’ power play and penalty kill units put up a fantastic performance on Wednesday. They had two key kills against a pair of Montreal power-play opportunities in the first, including one just 39 seconds into the game. With the score tied 2-2 in a wide-open game, the Penguins went on to score four-straight power-play goals – one with 10.9 seconds left in the third, the remaining three in the third period – to power past the Habs, who had the league’s top-ranked penalty kill entering the game. Special teams will be crucial against Boston, the NHL’s top-ranked defensive team with a 2.16 goals-against average.
Stay Composed: The memory of Monday’s stunning 4-2 loss to the Bruins is still fresh despite a confidence-building 5-2 win over Montreal on Wednesday. By facing Boston so soon after that Jan. 6 defeat, the Penguins have a unique chance on Saturday to bury that loss with a victory over the Bruins. The Penguins play their best when they stick to their game plan and perform for a full 60 minutes, which will be crucial against a Boston squad that has recently proven they can rally with the best of them. A few mental lapses in the final minutes of Monday’s game were the Penguins’ downfall, and they’ll be sure not to make the same mistake twice against the Bruins.
F Sidney Crosby, mild concussion, (1 week) F Mike Comrie, hip (IR) F Eric Godard, eye (IR)
F Milan Lucic, undisclosed (day-to-day) D Mark Stuart, broken hand, (2 weeks)
Three tied with (+20)
Alex Goligoski - The defenseman scored two goals and an assist on Wednesday to give him eight points (3G-5A) in his past five contests. He now has nine goals through 45 games, surpassing his previous career high of eight set through 69 games last season. All three of Goligoski’s points on Wednesday came with the man-advantage, as he quarterbacked a scorching Penguins power play that converted on four of six opportunities, being on the ice for all four of those goals. Of his 26 points, 14 have come with the man-advantage – including four of his eight goals.
Patrice Bergeron - We may have highlighted Bergeron on Monday, but he’s made quite the case to be profiled again as he’s on an absolute tear right now. The Bruins forward is riding a five-game point streak, where he’s tallied six goals and three assists over that stretch. He had been heating up entering the game against the Penguins on Jan. 10 with 13 points (5G-7A) in his past 11 games. He now has 19 points (9G-10A) in his past 14 games, as he added two helpers in Boston’s 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh, scored his first career hat trick in a 6-0 thumping of Ottawa on Tuesday and tallied a goal and an assist in a 7-5 win over Philadelphia on Thursday.