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NHL on NBC: No Sid, no problem as Pittsburgh takes on Boston

Mar 10, 2012, 11:50 PM EDT

Evgeni Malkin, Zdeno Chara AP

Okay, let’s just get it out of the way: We’re not going to see Sidney Crosby when the Penguins face the Bruins on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC). Crosby was ruled out of the game as he recovers from his latest concussion setback, which means the burden of the Pittsburgh falls on Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.

Malkin and Neal have combined for 68 goals and 143 points this season, making them one of the most potent scoring duos in the league — and when you add Jordan Staal to the mix, you’ve got enough goal scoring to compensate for Crosby’s absence. Defensively, Pittsburgh’s shorthanded as well without Kris Letang. He also won’t play Sunday after Letang won’t be playing as he only recently returned to practice after suffering an upper-body injury against Dallas two weeks ago.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury is having a monster season in goal and should get the start on Sunday. While you won’t see Fleury in the top five in goalie stat categories in the NHL, what he’s meant to Pittsburgh this season has been huge and he’s a big reason why the Penguins roll into this game on an eight-game winning streak.

Boston, meanwhile, heads into the second a back-to-back after a frustrating 4-3 loss to Washington on Saturday. The Bruins have been consistently starting Tim Thomas since Tuukka Rask went down with a lower-body injury (4-6 weeks, groin/abdomen) and Thomas seemed to struggle a bit against the Caps — leading some to wonder if recently-acquired Marty Turco could get the start against the Penguins.

Offensively, the Bruins are being paced by big, burly winger Milan Lucic. He heads into Sunday’s game on a six game point streak (two goals, five assists). Forwards David Krejci and Jordan Caron have been hot of late as well, while team point leaders Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin have been quiet.

Of course, the one Bruin to look out for at all times is Zdeno Chara. He’ll stop you on defense, bomb away from the point on offense, and even put you through the glass when checking you. With Chara playing his normal, dominant style of hockey, Johnny Boychuk has been able to step up offensively, providing Boston a nice scoring option from the blueline.

  1. raleik - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    I didn’t realize not scoring in the game today means Seguin is quiet. He was having a slump, but in his last 8 games has scored four goals and had four assists. Basically since he moved up to the Krejci line he’s been playing great.

    • bigkniht37 - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      yeah these “journalists” on PHT don’t do much investigation before the post on this website. seguin/krejci/lucic have had 20 points between the 3 of them in the last 5 games I think it is. but Joe is right, seguin has been ICE COLD.

  2. arbruins - Mar 11, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    I would rather watch the Bs on our local sports network…ever since the playoffs last year, I am not sure how much more puck squibing, pitch forking or knifing I can take. Go Bs!

  3. Stiller43 - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Pens win.

  4. 8man - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Stiller43 – Mar 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM
    Pens win.

    Yes, they will, unless the Bruins can pull it together and stop getting behind early.

  5. ktboston - Mar 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Pens lose

    • 8man - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      And it’s already 3-0 nothing and the B’s trying to kill what’s left of a 5 on 3 power play. The Bruins are absolutely unraveling. I can’t believe what I’m seeing.

    • tribesofneurot - Mar 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Nice one Nosteradamus

  6. buffalomafia - Mar 11, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    When Cynthia Crosby comes back nobody is stopping the Penguins in the East!

  7. eggserino - Mar 11, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    It’s amazing to me how poor the neutral zone play is right now in the Bruins v. Pens 2nd period. Lots of pushing the puck back and forth without looking for a tape to tape pass. It’s unfortunate, because this is what is being broadcast nationally.

    Great save by Turco. Welcome back. That leg save might be the highlight of the game right now…

  8. eggserino - Mar 11, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Is it just my TV/ network affiliate or can no one see the clock/ score display?! I’m in Chicago…

  9. bubbarcxd - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Cool no one wants to know

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