The Boston Bruins take on an injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team at the Garden tonight.
The Penguins will be without stars Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar along with young guns Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang. Meanwhile, after a hot start, Sidney Crosby has cooled off and to no one’s surprise, the defending Stanley Ciup champs find themselves in a bit of a slump.
After missing two games with the swine flu, David Krejci should be back with the Bruins and centering Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder. It remains to be seen who will be the healthy scratch with Krejci’s return, but, after an undisciplined game against Buffalo, Brad Marchand may be subject to a night in the press box. If that’s the case, Trent Whitfield, Vladimir Sobotka and Daniel Paille should make up the third line.
Pittsburgh is shuffling up their lines in order to try and spark their offense. One report puts Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke with Crosby.
Still, no matter how many changes the team makes, going against Chara at home (when Boston can make the last change) will not make this game an easy one for Crosby to break out of his slump. Moreover, the Bruins are playing elite team defense right now. It is amazing how, when a team is slumping on offense, clean breakouts can make all of the difference. That, or Buffalo’s defenseman pinching in at the wrong time every play. Either or gets an offense ticking.
Overall, the Bruins go into this game putting it all together. Despite the improvements, they are missing what made them great last season: not all the lines have developed chemistry. Let’s look to Krejci, Wheeler and Ryder getting it back together as one of the key’s to the Bruins game tonight and in the near future.
Expect Tim Thomas in net for the B’s, and Marc Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
More to come closer to game-time…
- According to Boston.com, Derek Morris did not take part in the skate. Apparently, Morris is feeling a bit sick but they do not suspect H1N1. Head coach Claude Julien said, unless it is determined to be more then a little big, Morris should play tonight.