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Pens-Bruins Preview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

PENGUINS (20-9-1) at BRUINS (18-8-2)

  WHEN: December 7, 2013 - 7:00 p.m.  |  WHERE: TD Garden
WATCH: ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins Radio 24/7, 105.9 FM

Last 10: Pittsburgh 8-1-1; Boston 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third and final time the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins are scheduled to meet in the regular season. In their most recent game, Sidney Crosby scored with 0.3 seconds left to force overtime, but Torey Krug scored 34 seconds into the extra period for a 4-3 Boston victory.

Big story: If it's another one-goal game Saturday it should surprise nobody. The past five regular-season games between the Penguins and Bruins have been decided by a single goal, as well as the final two games of Boston's sweep in the 2013 Eastern Conference Final.

Team Scope:

Penguins: Prior to facing the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, coach Dan Bylsma said he thought the team in white and teal might be the NHL's best. But watch out for Pittsburgh, which then went out and dismantled San Jose to the tune of a 5-1 win, its fifth in a row.

Even with Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup due to a lower-body injury, the Penguins' offense erupted in a four-goal second period. Chris Kunitz scored twice in a 2:03 span. The Sharks did register 45 shots on goal, but Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 44 in perhaps his most dominant start of the season.

"No one is going to replace Geno," said forward Jayson Megna, who scored his third goal in 10 games. "We have guys that fill in, step up. If we stick to our system we don't complain."

Bruins: In the wake of a 2-1 loss at the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday that saw the Habs pass Boston into first place in the Atlantic Division, the far greater concern was for the well-being of defenseman Johnny Boychuk after he took a hit along the boards from Max Pacioretty and had to leave the game on a stretcher.

Boychuk spent some time at the hospital but was later able to fly home with his teammates. The Bruins will likely be without him indefinitely, though, once again testing their depth on defense.

"Hopefully Johnny isn't out too long or it's too bad, but it is definitely something that -- just being here a short few months -- being able to see all the depth … it's definitely a big strength," forward Jarome Iginla said.

Who's hot: Kunitz has five goals and four assists during a six-game point streak for the Penguins. Sidney Crosby's three assists Thursday gave him four multi-point efforts in his past five games (two goals, eight assists). James Neal's two assists gave him seven multi-point efforts in his past nine (eight goals, eight assists). … Milan Lucic has two goals and one assist in his past two games for the Bruins.

Injury report: Malkin did not travel with Pittsburgh and won't play Saturday. Forward Pascal Dupuis (undisclosed) left the game Thursday and did not return. Goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), defensemen Rob Scuderi (ankle) and Paul Martin (leg) and forwards Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Beau Bennett (wrist), Tanner Glass (hand) and Andrew Ebbett (ankle) are all on injured reserve. … Boston will likely be without Boychuk, while defenseman Adam McQuaid (hip/groin) is day-to-day after aggravating an injury that caused him to miss eight games in November.

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